Sunday, September 21, 2008

Roots of Motive Power Steam Up #3: Maytag Washer


While larger equipment puffed away at the museum and Roots grounds, across the street in Recreation Grove, small engine club members displayed their operational antique gasoline powered gadgets. One of my favorites was this 1926 Maytag clothes washer, enthusiastically agitating a garment or two with the power of petroleum.

I seem to have washed away whatever was ailing my computer. Not sure which step did the trick, but I should probably take out the trash more regularly.

19 comments:

Jules said...

Oh my gosh!!! Actually in the first place I rented when i started work there was a washing machine that had those wringer roller thingies on it. gosh what a pain they were!!!!


Yes I am that old!!!!

Tootie said...

When I was growing up, we had a ringer type washer. :-)

Benjamin Madison said...

Lovely shot! I remember as a kid always being afraid of the wringers after hearing stories of kids who got their arms mangled in them. So, keep your distance!

Laurie said...

I remember reading about Victorian women and the amount of time spent on laundry -- boiling the clothes and stirring them with large sticks before beating them on rocks. Even my mom has talked about washing her clothes in the bathtub and then using a hand wringer before pinning them up on a clothesline. I'm sure this gizmo would have been a welcome change!

I love the sculptural aspect of it. Neat shot, Elaine. (And I'm going to go hug my Whirlpool washer/dryer now.)

Dina said...

Cool. I vaguely remember my grandmother doing our laundry in something like that when I was little, in the basement of our apartment building in Chicago. Oh, and the washboard too.
So glad your computer is back in a good mood. Is that why you are up so late?

Sara N said...

Nice shot and text!
Have you seen my last 2 posts Elaine?

Abraham Lincoln said...

Gosh. What a memory. This old Maytag is identical to one that sat in our kitchen during World War II. While the Germans and Japanese were busy fighting and killing anybody on their other side, my mom was taking in washings and ironings from people who either couldn't do it, wouldn't do it or didn't have a washing machine or an iron. Herb Hamel gave my mom $5.00 to do his washing and ironing every two weeks. The washing machine sat there with a piece of old newspaper under it catching the black grease that dripped out of it. Nobody put more in and nobody knew where all that grease was coming from.

What an inspiration this post is. You are a brilliant photographer.

Hilda said...

A gasoline-powered washer? Ugh, definitely not for today! Aside from the cost, I just can't imagine keeping gasoline in any kind of quantity at home. The idea scares me.

Petrea said...

Our neighbors had one of these when I was a kid. I think it was powered by elbow grease, though.

Yes. Take out the trash. That's it. Or maybe do some voodoo.

Marie Reed said...

That is just plain nifty!

Knoxville Girl said...

My grandmother had a hand-wringer - I remember it in her basement. This makes me appreciate my LG's high spin cycle even more.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Elaine, Those were great machines when you could get them to run. My mother had one.

I would love to have one of those. Unfortunately I've already collected so many things that I wouldn't have room anyway.

You missed a great party! hopelpifsfully this will become and annual happening!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Somehow the codeword ended up in the middle of "hopefully"

Kris said...

Cool. I like the look of it, but I bet it is hard word.

USelaine said...

Jules - No, you are not that old. You were just around some old stuff.

Tootie - The wringer must have been hard on the clothing seams, but I never used one.

BM - This was as close as I got. 6^) It was going quite vigorously, but that was hard to capture in the shot.

Laurie - I used to rent a room in a farmhouse, where my very elderly landlady told me stories of being a young bride. Apparently on Mondays, all the neighborhood women had a tacit competition to get their wash out onto the line first! Of course, it had to be good and clean too. Few movies ever show the grueling hours spent "keeping house" by the common people, and washing was tremendous labor. Imagine cleaning a farmer's overalls, or the smell if you didn't!

Dina - I remember there was an old round white one stored in my grandfather's barn when I was little. It will be part of somebody's archeological find someday.

Sara - Yes! I like your new posts!

Abraham - Thank you so much! Your mother must have been a strong woman. Proper ironing took a lot of muscle and skill too! We had a few of those old heavy things at my grandfather's place too. Thank you again for your story.

Hilda - My mom told me that my grandmother used to use gasoline for home dry cleaning! I'm not sure how it would be done, but it certainly sounds dangerous. They lived in a tiny coastal village without access to big city services. I suppose my grandmother eventually stopped using clothes from her middle class youth in San Francisco after a while.

P - I think the agitator mechanism was available if you could afford a motor for it, but most people probably just used a small hand-held post to create the movement and friction for cleaning.

Marie - It was fun to see!

KG = I still go to a laundromat, but I had my own Kenmores for a while.

Ernie - Thanks for the password. Will that get me in to next year's SoHum blogger party too? Or maybe we should make them more like semi-annual. 8^)

Kris - A lot easier than beating clothes against a rock, I figure. The Western World has sure changed in the last century. Still a lot of women in the world doing everything by hand though, including fetching water. Bless 'em.

Thank you all for coming by with such kind words and great memories.

D.C. Confidential said...

Wow! That makes you grateful for your contemporary amenities, doesn't it?!

tr3nta said...

WOW thats a museum piece...

Kym said...

I got my arm caught in the wringer of one of those once...I think I just gave my age away.

USelaine said...

DC - We may not be able to afford those amenities soon enough...

tr3nta - Well, it's a collector's item, definitely.

Kym - You aren't that old, you're that thin! 6^) So you get along fine with just the other one, I take it.