Sunday, 8 December 2019

Washing Machines


We have just had a good thunderstorm (if they can be “good”!) with heavy heavy rain.  It certainly cooled down the temperatures and sent us rushing to shut windows.  The cats came flying inside and we had to turn the stereo up to be able to hear it! 

A display at Matamata Museum (2007)

In my lifetime I have experienced three different types of washing machines.

The first was the wringer washing machine, an upright agitator machine that was used with a wringer/mangle to squeeze the water from the washed laundry.
My mother had one of these and I remember her using two concrete laundry tubs with the wringer mounted between them.  Fascinatingly, one tub always seemed to have blue water in it with a little deep blue bag sitting on the soap dish.  In later years I discovered that bluing was a popular way to stop your whites from looking dingy.
My grandmother also owned one of these, and when she had finished her washing she would carefully empty out the machine and bucket the water out to her garden.  She always maintained her citrus never suffered from any pests or diseases because she regularly threw soapy water over the trees!


A wringer washing machine


My mother eventually traded her wringer machine in for a twin-tub washer made by Hoovermatic.  Because of its superior ability to spin water from the washed items, her sheets would dry in one day while the neighbour’s would sit on the line for a few days.  I think it was a sort of competition between them!

When I married in the early 1970s we received one of these machines as a wedding present.  It was fantastic for conserving water as several loads could be washed in the same hot water, the same as a wringer machine but so different from today’s automatic machines.  One would start off with whites and progress through the washing until the dirty work clothes were done last.  Fresh cold water was used to rinse each load, before spinning them almost dry. 
It used to take me about an hour a day, when the children were small, to stand at the washing machine and wash everything.  When a load was finished washing I used a good-sized stick to lift it into the spinner side of the machine.  The hot washing water was spun back into the wash-side, and then cold water attached to the spinner.  When the water level was high enough, the machine would spin it out into the laundry tub.  A couple of these rinses and the things could be left to spin longer before throwing them into the clothes basket to be hung up on the outside line.


The twin-tub Hoovermatic washing machine


We bought an automatic washing machine ten years later, but I still kept my old twin-tub to wash very dirty clothes and anything that had sand in it.  The first automatic I ever saw was a top-loader that the lady I boarded with had purchased.  She was very fussy about what was washed in it, and it used to bounce across the laundry floor as it washed.  It was her pride and joy!
Nowadays, everything goes into the machine.  With its fancy computer technology, the machine can wash everything from delicate drip-dries to the dirtiest overalls (in different cycles, not together!), and even sense how much water is required.  Throw the washing in and walk away!  When the machine beeps, then it is ready to throw into the dryer or hang out on the line. 
Only trouble is, these machines do not seem to last as long as their predecessors, as we have purchased a few of them now.

Our current Fisher & Paykel automatic washing machine

Most of my laundry is hung on an outside line to dry.  Not a propped-up line like shown in my first picture, but on a rotary clothes line.  I like the smell of fresh air, sunshine and wind in my clothing and linen.  One of our neighbours used to always wash her sheets when rain was threatening as she loved the smell the rain gave them!

What type of washing machines have you used?
Margaret

16 comments:

  1. I think I have had all of those. A lot of younger people put their washing straight into the drier but I always prefer it to be line dried. If the weather is bad I will finish it in a drier.

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    1. I also make use of a clothes horse in front of the fire during winter.

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  2. I started out with the first kind of washing machine you mention. I don''t think I ever saw a twin tub Hoovermatic. Maybe we never had them in Canada. After a few years we bought an automatic washer that lasted through countless washes. It was very basic. After that one died we were not able to find a top loading one with an agitator so we ended up buying one anyway. It did not get the clothes clean which is not surprising since it merely swished them back and forth ever so gently. That one lasted a few short years. This last one has a short stubby agitator but works well. My one complaint is that the "water sensor" doesn't seem to be doing its job. Often the water doesn't even fill enough to cover the clothes.My son bought that one through his work and because we share the laundry room I try not to complain to him. I've been known to top up the water level from the tap next to it.
    My but I've been rambling on again!!

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    1. I have heard about machines that don't use enough water, and was once told they are made like that so they don't waste water. Personally I like my clothes to be washed in plenty of water, so I would probably top up the level as well.

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  3. Twin tub - Duomatic! Oh the work mine did with 5 children and two adults to look after :). Did a good job though and I wasn't happy when both motors conked out at the same time.
    Top loading automatic from then on. I'd heard the sob stories from friends about the time front loaders took and the fact that once closed you couldn't 'add anything to the wash'

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    1. One of the big reasons why I don't like front loaders either.

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  4. I am far from expert in teems of washing machines, but I can tell you that the fragrance conferred by hanging the clothes outside to dry is second to none. In a Canadian winter, however, that is simply not an option.

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    1. I can imagine your washing would freeze on the line!

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  5. My grandmother had a gas heated boiler in which the clothes were agitated by hand using a washing-dolly and then rinsed and part dried by hand using a wringer like the one shown above. My mother sent sheets and shirts etc to a laundry - they ere collected and returned weekly (we lived in a city). Other things were washed by hand, wrung and put on an outside washing line.

    Since I married in 1970 we've always used a front loading washing machine and a tumble drier although things were put on the line when possible. Twin tubs were not popular in the UK and I've never seen a top loader in the UK although I used one when I lived in New Zealand (and dried everything outside on a line).

    Now I use a front-loader and a front-loading tumble-drier which is a heat-exchanger model using very little electricity. Today I did a load of bedding, a load of towels etc and a load of clothes. They are all (apart from sheets and shirts which I'm about to iron when I've finished my coffee) done and back in their cupboards etc in a day. I never put anything out to dry any more.

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    1. Doing laundry has certainly changed through the years, and I know which I would prefer - it is much easier to do today!

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  6. My mom had a wringer washer and for a while that was it...after I came along. I can't remember how old I was before she got a wringer washer, but even after getting them, she only used them sparingly. I always helped do the laundry in the summers....I cannot remember her ever doing the laundry on Saturday when she was using the wringer. I have written about it in my blog that you read...up in the search box in the upper left corner, type in wringer and it will bring up a post of two about it.

    Just think of all the water it would save to have one now! Roger and I have always had top loading machines...we just this past year had to get a new washer...they guys told us they are only made to last 5 or 6 years.

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    1. Modern things are certainly not manufactured to have a long life span like a lot of older ones were.

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  7. I’ve used the same as you, the first two types at my family home. We’ve always had an automatic since I’ve been married. I use the clothesline, like yours, for at least six months of the year. We use the dryer in the winter, reluctantly though.

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    1. Nothing beats the clean smell of laundry dried in fresh air and sunshine, so I can understand why you are reluctant using the dryer (however necessary).

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  8. Interesting post, and all the comments! We had the wringer washing machine and then the twin tub. Great machines. Over here we had a front loader for 30 years. The same one. They don't make them like that anymore.
    I love the top loaders and my kids have those but I have another very old front loader. My husband fixes them and we keep any that are replaced but still work.

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  9. Thanks for sharing such beautiful information with us. I hope you will share some more information about laundry app. Please keep sharing.

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Thank-you for visiting my blog. I truly appreciate it when you leave a comment. Have a great day! Margaret xx