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œChapter7œ

There is no way of knowing... Electric equipment installed when the construction was completed

Very elegant lighting that can be used for interior lighting

YODOKO Guest House and Wright Slope

Advanced equipment conjectured from historical materials

YODOKO Guest House was constructed as a second house for the Yamamura family during 1923-1924. According to the literature at the time, all of the heating apparatuses and kitchen appliances were electric. However, the time when this house was completed was the end of the Taisho period. What kinds of appliances were installed? Unfortunately, except for some lighting fixtures, there are no remaining appliances from those years. Therefore, we would like to conjecture by referring to the historical materials at the time of construction.


Full lineup of foreign electric appliances

We imagine the most expensive was the German refrigerator. The first domestically produced refrigerator (by Toshiba) was produced in 1930, and it was said that one refrigerator was as expensive as one house. Moreover, while most families were cooking and boiling water over a wood fire, the house was equipped with an oven, rice cooker, and electric water boiler from the U.S. In addition to these kitchen appliances, it seems that heating apparatuses were fully installed. Following, we will display a list of these apparatuses. As well as this complete lineup of equipment, you can see how much power was required to operate them.


Electric rice cooker and electric stove

Electric water boiler


Distribution switchgear room

Astronomical amount of contracted electrical energy was a symbol of their lifestyle
Who was the supplier of such a large amount of electricity? The Yamamura family made a direct agreement with a nearby private railroad and drew electricity from them. The contracted lowest amount of electric energy for one year was as high as 30,000 kWh. For your information, the electrical energy used by a modern family surrounded by a great number of electric appliances is 3,500 to 4,000 kWh for one year, thanks to our continuous energy saving activities. When converted into an electric bill, the energy will be \80,000 to 90,000 (based on the scale of Kansai Electric Power). Since the type of electricity and electric bill calculation are different, we cannot compare the past and the present easily, but it is imaginable that the electricity bill was unbelievably expensive. Surrounded by many electric appliances, their lives paralleled that of other Western countries and could have only been realized with the ample means of the owner. We imagine the comfort in this house matched that of the old Imperial Hotel, another renowned work by Wright.
Name of equipment Qty. Power requirements
Incandescent lamp 110 4.6 kW
Oven 1 8.0 kW
Refrigerator 1 2.2 kW
Rice cooker 1 3.8 kW
Water boiler for bathroom and kitchen 1 9.0 kW
Flash water heater for salon 1 0.9 kW
Electric stove 1 2.0 kW
Radiator for room and hallway 20 20 kW
Vacuum cleaner for each floor 3 0.6 kW
Lifting pump motor 1 2 horsepower
(approx. 1.5 kW)
Drainage pump motor 1 1/4 horsepower
(approx. 0.2 kW)

List of equipment names and power requirements

<<History walk>>


Ashiyagawa Station
in the beginning of the
Showa period
"Ashiya at the time of construction of the Yamamura House"
Ashiya City, where YODOKO Guest House was constructed used to be called Seido village when it was a second house of the Yamamura family. The village was in the process of transforming from a tranquil farming village to a resort district, and then to a residential suburb. The opening of a railway was the foundation for that development. In 1905, the Hanshin Electric Railway opened a line between Osaka (Umeda) and Kobe (Sannomiya). In 1913, Ashiya Station of the Japan National Railways was newly constructed. And then, in 1920, Hankyu Corporation laid a railway. In 1908, Hanshin Electric Railway started to supply its surplus power to households. During the Taisho period, electric lighting was widespread in ordinary households. Along with the development of urban functions, the village showed a sharp rise in the number of houses. The number reached 3,057 at the time of construction of the Yamamura House (1923), which was an increase from 639 before the opening of the railway (1904). * Reference: "History of Ashiya City"

*This article was written by Yodogawa Steel Works, under the supervision of Mr. Fumitaka Hirata of the Building Research Institute Foundation, which administrates the restoration and preservation of YODOKO Guest House.

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