William Heath Robinson,K.R.G. Browne
First published in 1937, 'How to be a Perfect Husband' is the second book in the 'How to…' series. From finding a wife to growing old together, Heath Robinson and K.R.G. Browne explore many aspects of married life with witty and insightful text and illustrations. Heath Robinson received much teasing from his family about this choice of subject. However, looking back over his cartoons one finds that romance and courtship had been among his most frequently chosen subjects, from early ‘Cupid’ cartoons to such pictures as ‘The Coquette’ and ‘Stolen Kisses’ which were reproduced in 'Absurdities' in 1934. 'How to be a Perfect Husband' reflects the great changes that took place in the marital relationship between the wars. The authors’ gentle humour pokes fun at the challenges faced by men due to the depression, a lack of servants and the newly confident ‘modern’ woman. Of course, housework without servants also made life very difficult for women, until the invention of the washing machine and vacuum cleaner in the 1930s meant that things became a little easier. This too is reflected in the illustrations as Heath Robinson demonstrates his considerable talent for devising imaginative solutions to every-day problems in the home. For example, he offers us his take on a super-de-luxe coffee maker (that looks a lot like a complex twenty-first century expresso machine), a method of frittering a banana using electricity and various gadgets to help with childcare. Ultimately, the authors conclude that tolerance, compromise and being helpful are key characteristics of a perfect husband, if only to ensure that he can ‘earn a reputation for thoughtfulness that will stand him in good stead whenever he wishes to touch his mother-in-law for a fiver’! If, in addition to being a perfect spouse, you also love gardening (even though you live in a flat), you have a car and you play golf then you will find much to amuse and inform you in our other titles by Heath Robinson and K. R. G. Browne: • How to Live in Flat • How to Make a Garden Grow • How to be a Motorist • Humours of Golf All our Heath Robinson titles include a Foreword by Geoffrey Beare, Trustee of the William Heath Robinson Trust, who is working to build a Heath Robinson museum in North London.