Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes . . . Wash our Clothes . . .”

We grew up, in America, singing a song about washing clothes:

“This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes,
This is the way we wash our clothes, all on a Monday morning.”

Tuesday we iron our clothes, Wednesday we mend our clothes. You can read the entire week at Mulberry Bush. Just click the blue type.

Today, Letitia Long will be named as head of the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. It makes me smile to think that these two news articles appear on the same day. Women used to die young, worn out from bearing too many babies, and working themselves to the bone to keep their houses and clothes clean. Just washing clothes was an entire day event, heating huge pots of water, using a washing board, drying clothes by laying them over bushes and rocks, only the very luckiest had a clothesline.

These humble machines save hours of time. You can read the entire story of the earliest washing machines Here, At AOL News.

(Aug. 8) — “Thor” has been the name of several powerful forces in history, including a Norse god and a Marvel Comics superhero. But the strongest Thor might just be an electric-powered machine born 100 years ago that brought laundry into the modern era.

The first known washing “machine” is thought to be the scrub board, created in 1797. New-fangled hand-powered washers were introduced in 1851, but it wasn’t until a century ago that a drum-type machine with a galvanized tub and an electric motor, dubbed Thor, revolutionized the way people deal with dirty clothing.

Invented by Alva J. Fisher and introduced by Chicago’s Hurley Machine Co., the washing machine — which was patented on Aug. 9th, 1910 — is important for three distinct reasons, according to Thor Appliances vice president of marketing Michael Lee.

“First, it celebrates the birth of one of the oldest and most innovative brands/companies in home appliances,” Lee told AOL News. “Second, it represents the beginning of the washing machine industry. And third, it marks the date that clothes washing was transformed from an arduous physical task to an automated task.”


August 9, 2010 - Posted by | Living Conditions, Social Issues, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues


  1. Intlxpatr :

    Holy Garbanzo beans ,16 intelligence agencies ??? who is checking on whom ??? Oh My Goodness .

    Here is a bit a question of intelligence on washing machines :

    At the turn of the 20th century , How did the American women on the farm do their automatic washing while there was no electric power connected to the farms at the time ????

    Comment by daggero | August 10, 2010 | Reply

  2. Daggero, I love it that you actually went and read the article. πŸ™‚ Yeh, 16. Her’s is a very specialized unit. I wonder why only 38% of the intelligence workforce is women – women have been a part of intelligence since . . . forever. In the earliest years of our own agencies, women were there at the formation, mostly women from the Ivy League colleges. Very smart women, hard working, courageous. They often sacrificed a lot for their dedication to their country.

    Country women were among the last to get electric washers. They had to haul water from the creeks (sometimes they washed right in the creeks, using rocks instead of washboards). Sometimes, in winter, they had to thaw ice on the stove to heat enough water to wash. And . . . I suspect they did laundry a lot less often than we do.

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 10, 2010 | Reply

  3. Back in the day, people didn’t change their clothes as often as we did and wore the same thing for more than one day. I remember washing being a once a week thing (Mondays, I think) for my Grandmother and it was an all day enterprise. She had a hand crank wringer on her washer then everything went on the line. If it didn’t get dry it was hung all over the house and the wood stoves were stoked. The next day was ironing day.

    Comment by momcat | August 10, 2010 | Reply

  4. And they didn’t have wrinkle-free fabrics either, so ironing was a huge chore. Those dresses would also be complicated to iron. I am betting they had dresses they wore around the house that they didn’t iron, and dresses they wore to church, etc. that were saved for those occasions. I believe even wedding dresses were usually dresses which could be worn again.

    My Mom hung clothes on the line – in Alaska! Outdoors in summer, indoor lines in the garage in winter. πŸ™‚

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 10, 2010 | Reply

  5. OK , the answer is Women on the farm had washing machines fitted with small gasoline engines at the bottom of the tub, so when they wanted to do the wash they put all the dirty laundry , soap and give the engine a kick and it the washing starts.

    Next question : Whats is the main meal on Mondays in the south and why ????

    Comment by daggero | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  6. I think in our part of the south, Monday night is red beans and rice. πŸ™‚ Have you ever tried it? Delicious!

    I believe you, about gasoline engines, but I have never heard of it before. Mostly, before washing machines, I think women used tubs, they washed manually. How do you know about gasoline washers?

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  7. i knew about the gas driven washing machines because i saw one but not wooden tub type.
    here is the link to washing machine , check model 43 , year 1915

    yes it is red beans and rice because mondays were laundry day , so women would cook red beans for dinner because of its slow cooking nature which allowed them to do the laundry as well πŸ™‚

    Comment by daggero | August 12, 2010 | Reply

  8. Daggero, how did you know about red beans and rice being a laundry day specialty?

    What an amazing wealth of interesting information you are, eclectic and eccentric!

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 12, 2010 | Reply

  9. hehehe

    thanks Intlxpatr

    i knew of this because someone from the south told me about it

    Comment by daggero | August 13, 2010 | Reply

  10. So glad that I do not have to use a wash board to get my clothes clean. However I do choose to wash always in cold water and I air dry everything on a laundry drying rack to save energy and money.

    Air drying is so much better for the environment that it doesn’t justify the convenience of the machine.

    Comment by Mary | August 13, 2010 | Reply

  11. LOL, Daggero, now I am so curious who what might have been!

    That is a beautiful drying rack, Mary, and I, too, like to keep my electrical bills down by rack drying. I use high European racks that handle a LOT of clothes, and give you different heights, and fold flat when not in use.

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 13, 2010 | Reply

  12. You like to hold a celebration with a barbeque? Starting from simple devices to the high-tech here. You just choose according to your needs, not a practical or a big size. Let’s look at the coverage together.

    Comment by | August 14, 2010 | Reply

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