An early washing machine

@JudyEv (130426)
Bunbury, Australia
July 4, 2018 6:45am CST
I’ve seen several very old washing-machines but this one did look very efficient. Turning the big handle engaged a number of cogs which caused the agitator to spin AND move up and down. Washing by hand was incredibly hard work and I imagine coming into possession of one of these would have been a great thrill for the housewife of the day. Many years ago, I read somewhere that if you’re travelling in the outback, one way to make laundry easier while on the road was to put clothes, water and detergent in a bucket with a sealed lid. Bouncing over rough tracks and just the general motion of travelling would agitate the clothes enough that they would not need much scrubbing at the end of the day.
60 people like this
61 responses
@LadyDuck (171104)
• Switzerland
4 Jul
I have seen some similar to this one in small old museums in the US. Interesting the laundry method you describe, I am pretty sure it works.
8 people like this
@vandana7 (66851)
• India
4 Jul
Would it be violation of some copy rights if such machines were copied? I am serious because they should be there in day to day usage for people to understand the mechanisms and use the same principles elsewhere that they can be used.
7 people like this
@LadyDuck (171104)
• Switzerland
4 Jul
@vandana7 I do not believe it would be a violation of some copyrights.
6 people like this
@FourWalls (14674)
• United States
4 Jul
@vandana7 -- patents have expiration dates, at least in the US Patent Office. Patents have to be renewed in order to keep the patent with the inventor.
7 people like this
@JohnRoberts (61159)
• Los Angeles, California
4 Jul
Beats the old washboard or pounding clothes on a rock by a creek.
6 people like this
@Deajae72 (656)
• United States
4 Jul
I have experienced that old washboards and pounding clothes on a rock, haha... That's how I learned to wash clothes while I was growing up. Learned that from my aunts and mom. It was fun to reminisce the old days. =)
4 people like this
@ramapo17 (25259)
• Melbourne, Florida
5 Jul
@Deajae72 I am 76 and have always been familiar with electric washing machines since my childhood. I never saw pounding rocks on the clothes.
4 people like this
@Deajae72 (656)
• United States
5 Jul
@ramapo17 I grew up in the Philippines. In the province, we did not have these kinds of appliances. It's a luxury for us. We lived a very simple and fun life. I miss my childhood. =)
4 people like this
@hereandthere (32513)
• Philippines
4 Jul
can't help giggling at the bouncing bucket of laundry. guess they were pretty observant and maybe there was trial and error at first. hehe.
6 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
The leaflet was written years ago when many of the outback roads would have been very, very rough.
3 people like this
@UncleJoe (10622)
• Virginia Beach, Virginia
4 Jul
That's how I got bathed when I was a baby.
5 people like this
@ramapo17 (25259)
• Melbourne, Florida
5 Jul
Were you under 5 pounds @UncleJoe?
4 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
Haha. Swished around in one of these? I hope you're mistaken!
3 people like this
@just4him (124202)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
4 Jul
That makes sense because of the agitation they would get while traveling. Interesting looking machine.
5 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
Yes, some of the roads back when the leaflet was written would have been very rough.
3 people like this
@just4him (124202)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
6 Jul
@JudyEv I'm sure all roads were rough back then.
2 people like this
@louievill (19349)
• Philippines
4 Jul
This thing is environment friendly, no need to use electricity and it's also good exercise.
5 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
It operates much the same as a washing machine run by electricity. The clothes are swished back and forth in the water but the person provides the power.
2 people like this
@1hopefulman (31672)
• Canada
4 Jul
Some things are so much easier today.
4 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
They are indeed. Few women would have had time to go to work in those days if they were looking after a family. Washing for my mother (two adults, three kids on a farm) took her most of the morning and was such hard work.
2 people like this
@1hopefulman (31672)
• Canada
5 Jul
@JudyEv It certainly was a different kind of life. We got our first washing machine in the early sixties.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
@1hopefulman It must have been a godsend to the women to eventually get a washing machine. It is the last electrical appliance that I'd give up.
2 people like this
@topffer (35559)
• France
4 Jul
The instructions of use of the first electric washers were recommending to soak the clothes 12 hours before running the machine. Modern detergents are doing miracles including in a bucket with a sealed lid.
4 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
I was about 10 when Mum got her first washing machine. It must have seemed like a minor miracle to her after doing it for years and years by hand.
2 people like this
@topffer (35559)
• France
5 Jul
@JudyEv I am a bit younger and we had a washer at home, but I remember my mother hand washing in a river during holidays in a country house not equipped.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
@topffer I don't know of any people who washed clothes in rivers in Australia. I don't think we had enough rivers for this to be an option.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (66851)
• India
4 Jul
The outback thing is really amusing. LOL. The designing genius is worth appreciating. Yes, washing clothes by hands is one of the toughest things.
4 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
My mother used a washboard for many years. I was about 10 before she was able to power a wringer washer.
2 people like this
@DeborahDiane (23069)
• Laguna Woods, California
4 Jul
@JudyEv - I remember that my grandmother had a wringer washing machine and then she would hang the clothes on a line under the roof of their covered carport, after moving the car outside. Her laundry days were a lot of hard work! I'm glad the modern machines are so much easier!
3 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
My mother washed by hand with a copper and scrubbing board until I was about 10. She must have thought it was heaven to have a washing machine. It had a wringer too but the clothes line was out in the open air.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
5 Jul
@JudyEv - I am sure that women thought wringer washing machines were heaven-sent after hand washing clothing most of their lives. My grandmother's clotheslines were in the open air, except under the roof of the carport. But there were no walls on three sides of the carport. I think she worried about some of the pop-up showers we would get in Missouri. And, of course, in the winter, we had lots of storms, including snow.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Jul
@DeborahDiane For many years I hadn't thought about people not being able to dry clothes outside. I'm a bit wiser now.
2 people like this
@FourWalls (14674)
• United States
4 Jul
I'm into the simplistic washing machines. I have a small one (fits on my counter top!), and it's perfect for me. Plus, it takes about 1/3 of the water that "big" washing machine would take.
3 people like this
• Philippines
4 Jul
i've seen a picture of a small dishwasher sitting on the sink, but not a washing machine small enough to fit on a counter top. how many clothes fit in it?
3 people like this
@FourWalls (14674)
• United States
4 Jul
@hereandthere — the instructions say 5.5 pounds of clothing. I’ll take a picture of it next time I do laundry and write a discussion about it.
3 people like this
• Philippines
4 Jul
@FourWalls how long does a cycle last?
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (101763)
• United States
5 Jul
I have seen similar in a museum. I have also seen for sale off the grid "machines" run by bicycle power. Any of them would be a fitness program, I do believe.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
I wonder if such things (pedal power washers) ever come back into favour if the whole electricity thing goes pear-shaped.
1 person likes this
@wolfgirl569 (8502)
• Marion, Ohio
4 Jul
That is different. The other method should work yet today even if you were traveling.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
I thought that too. Caravan parks have laundries but it all costs extra.
1 person likes this
@snowy22315 (51174)
• United States
4 Jul
I'll say, that looks circa 1890-1910. I bet even my grandmother had something more modern than that. I think she did have a wringer type washer though at one time..but it was outdated even then.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
My Mum's first machine (about 1956) was a wringer washer but even that was a huge advantage over washing clothes with a scrubbing board.
1 person likes this
@YrNemo (14363)
5 Jul
I heard of people doing that to pregnant ladies who seemed to take forever to give birth: take them for a drive on bumpy roads. Heard that it was so effective.
2 people like this
@ramapo17 (25259)
• Melbourne, Florida
5 Jul
I heard that a lot when I was younger but never knew if it really worked.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
@YrNemo @ramapo17 I've heard of that too and people believed it worked. But they believed a lot of funny things in those days.
2 people like this
@YrNemo (14363)
5 Jul
2 people like this
@allknowing (68752)
• India
5 Jul
Those rides surely would be rugged and harsh for the clothes to get such a treatment unless one chooses them just so that their clothes get washed
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
Some of the outback roads are very rough and probably have contributed to a lot of bad backs in their time.
1 person likes this
@allknowing (68752)
• India
5 Jul
@JudyEv The choice is between a bad back or a good wash
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
@allknowing It would seem that way wouldn't it?
@LeaPea2417 (21582)
• Toccoa, Georgia
4 Jul
That is amazing how far washing machines have come since then.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
Doing the laundry is a breeze compared to the days of this machine. Yet someone would have as proud as punch to have owned one.
2 people like this
@LeaPea2417 (21582)
• Toccoa, Georgia
5 Jul
@JudyEv That is true.
1 person likes this
@porwest (7050)
• United States
4 Jul
Man, that IS a relic. Yeesh, my wife complains now about using a MODERN washing machine. She'd be incorrigible with that thing. The latter method you describe sounds MUCH easier.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Jul
I would never, EVER, complain about a washing machine or a dish-washer. I watched my Mum wash clothes by hand and believe me, you'd never want to go back to that.
1 person likes this
@porwest (7050)
• United States
5 Jul
@JudyEv I can imagine.
1 person likes this
@dgobucks226 (13283)
8 Jul
Better than hand washing but not as good as turning a dial to wash, lol.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
13 Jul
I totally agree. Turning the dial is a great way to do the washing.
2 people like this
@ramapo17 (25259)
• Melbourne, Florida
7 Jul
It actually looks like some old tubs that ice cream was made in when I was a kid.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130426)
• Bunbury, Australia
13 Jul
At first glance I thought it was a butter churn.
1 person likes this