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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
28th January 2021


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Welcome to the



I've been in this industry for some years now, having - with John Austen - taken over the reins of KBzine from Richard and Debbie Schwarz, who launched it in 2001, without having any warning that I was likely to do so or any time to prepare. I was asked: "Are you up for it?" and when I said I was, readied our first issue for broadcast a few days later.

When a journalist starts writing for an industry about which they have little knowledge, there's a need to 'hit the ground running' and with this comes a fear of showing how little they know about the industry by asking the wrong question or being wowed by fabulous new technology that isn't actually new at all - or which may be new but has already been dismissed as useless by those that know better.

Of course, I've grown up with cookers, fridges (and later, freezers) and washing machines but in my early years laundry day involved a top loading twin-tub filled manually with a hose. Before hanging out the washing, my mother would run it through the mangle a couple of times, to squeeze out excess water. If you're too young to know what these things are, Google might enlighten you!

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that from those basic appliances and a couple of kitchen cupboards (and a larder!) it's been fairly easy to keep abreast of developments.

Since joining this industry, I've absorbed news about technological developments we'll enjoy in the future, sometimes in awe but with a "Well I'll never be able to afford that" or "I don't have the room for one of those" disappointment and sometimes wondering who'd want to waste their money.

One appliance I've never used is a dishwasher - partly as I can daydream while washing up, and partly as I don't really have room. It's caused arguments at home so one day I daresay I'll find a way to keep the family happy and will probably regret not having done so earlier.

What got me thinking about all this is learning about William Livens today. This highly-decorated Royal Engineer, invented a powerful flamethrower, gas bombs and something I didn't know - in 1924 - an electric, front-loading dishwasher with a wire rack for crockery and a rotating sprayer to clean it. Although his prototype leaked and was discarded, his idea might just have improved the lives of millions...




Jan Hobbs



20th July 2018

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