This one chart shows how we're drastically better off than in 1970

The washing machine is one of the many unsung heroes of economic growth - the benefits of which many of us would not want to live without.

That's why the chart below is fantastic news. The ownership of washing machines in the UK from 1970 to now has skyrocketed.

This data, from the Office for National Statistics, has been measured in a number of different ways over the years - but the trend is clear. More and more homes have been able to automate the laborious task of washing clothes.

In 2012, the proportion of households with a washing machine stood at 97 per cent. During all this time washing machines have been improving, and innovation has enhanced our lives in a number of other ways - freeing us from the monotony of many boring and time consuming tasks.

Hans Rosling, professor of global health at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, powerfully explains the magic of the washing machine in his TED lecture on the subject.

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