Friday, March 28, 2008

Washing Machines

I am perfectly happy using a clothes line to dry clothes (although it would be a bit tricky during a Montana winter), but I can't imagine life without the washing machine - or more accurately, I can't imagine life the same as it is now. Before the washing machine, laundry day was a huge physical ordeal for women: "One wash, one boiling and one rinse used about fifty gallons of water—or four hundred pounds—which had to be moved from pump or well or faucet to stove and tub, in buckets and wash boilers that might weigh as much as forty or fifty pounds. Rubbing, wringing, and lifting water-laden clothes and linens, including large articles like sheets, tablecloths, and men’s heavy work clothes, wearied women’s arms and wrists and exposed them to caustic substances." After the washing machine, the number of clothes a family owned multiplied exponentially, standards of cleanliness increased, and laundry went on all week instead of Mondays - but the machine took over the hard work. Even hanging clothes out on a line is simple compared to washing them by hand. The best part is that even ten-year-old kids can learn to do their own wash, making my job even easier.

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