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Friday, October 24, 2014

Advancement Of Washing Machines

Today I am thankful I live in a modern time with an automatic washing machine and a dryer, hot water heater,  electricity and running water.  

This was emailed to me from a friend. 
Never thought of a "washer" in this light before..
' Washing Clothes Recipe' -- imagine having a recipe for this!
Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe:

This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.


Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin' water.

Sort things, make 3 piles
1 pile white,
1 pile colored,
1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.
(For you non-southerners -"wrench" means "rinse")
Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.

Hang old rags on fence.


Spread tea towels on grass.

Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

Paste this over your washer and dryer.

This might sound humorous but my mother had a wringer washer machine.  Ours was more modern than this ladies. We had electricity and hot running water.  We didn't have to boil the water under a fire in the back yard or grate a whole bar of lie soap.  That was my grandmothers generation. 
My Childhood Washing Machine

Our ringer washer was pulled beside the double concrete laundry tubs in the basement.  Mom would put the hot water and Tide in the tub and load it with whites.  The washer swished the clothes back and forth until Mom turned it off.  Then came my sister and my job.  With a wooden spoon we'd take the clothes out of the tub and one by one feed them into the wringer.  The spoon was safer then our hand to guide the clothes through. If we weren't careful the spoon would get close enough to the wringer for it to pull it through with the clothes.   If this happened we push a lever on top to spread the two wringers apart and we'd get out spoon back.  Without the spoon it could be our arm. 

The wrung clothes would fall into the tub full of clean hot water. We'd flip the wringer back 90 degrees so it would be between the two tubs.  The rinsed clothes would be put through the wringer again into a basket in the second tub. 

The first load cleaned, next in the same water came the coloured clothes. Last but not least were the work clothes. This is called conserving the water.

All year long the clothes were hung on the line.  In the winter the clothes frozen pegs would have to be pried off the clothes.  Most of the clothes some how dried in the sunny winter. The jeans and heavier clothes turned into frozen boards.  To complete the drying and to thaw them Mom would line them up against the couch.  The living room was transformed an army of pants standing at attention until  they melted to the floor like the wicked witch of The Wizard Of Oz.

I am thankful for my washing machine where I toss in the laundry, any order, push a few buttons and about 40 minutes later I take them out.  On a sunny warm day I hang them on the line. Fresh outdoors is the best air fresher. The rest of the time they dry in my dryer.


Linda said...

Really interesting! I remember my aunt using a wringer washer as the cook/domestic help for the ranch hands in western Nebraska. I'm reading a book now that takes place in the late 1800's and the main character is now a laundress at a fort on the Oregon trail. She gets up at 4 AM to start the fires under the kettles. I can't imagine starting my day that way. Thanks for reminding me of how lucky I am:-)

Mechelle said...

And to think we complain when we have to put clothes in the washing machine, and it does all the work. I am guilty of not liking to have to put away the clothes and doing a little light ironing on some garments. I have nothing to complain about after reading what these women had to go through in order to clean their clothes. I asked my mom how people dried clothes in the winter, that is amazing how you had frozen clothes in really cold climates.

sammysgrammy said...

My family did have a wringer washer and I did get my arm schmooshed in it. I loved the old "washday" story. And to think, this was not the only "housewifely" chore that involved hard, manual labor. We are blessed. I thank the Lord often for my microwave and ice maker. How used we become to each modern convenience.

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

Great washing recipe! We are spoiled in comparison! I think my grandmother had one of those wringer washers in the shed at her cottage. Thankfully I was never asked to use it!