Sunday, August 04, 2013

Blue Monday? Not With This!

     You'll sneer at the old washboard once you've got one of these--
Photo credit: T. Keel, whose camera stops water in mid-slosh.
     It's as manual a powered washing machine as you'll find, but it'll run forever (just about literally, since you control the timing of each step)!  I had a roommate once who owned and used a slightly newer version, with a round enameled tub instead of a square galvanized one. Operation is much the same, though hers had (IIRC) a gentle cycle as well as regular. That's the drain hose, hooked to the side at right: lower to empty.  The wringer'll do a better job removing water than most spin cycles, and it's just about as good at adding wrinkles as the spin cycle, too, unless you know what you're doing.  Mind your fingers!

     What makes this one nice is what's buzzing away underneath:
Photo credit: T. Keel.  Wait'll she learns they made go-carts with these engines, too.
     A little Maytag boxer engine, stomp-start and all!  My old roomie's was an electric, nicer to have in the house but lacking the geeky charm.

     These are the machines that built the Maytag reputation for reliability, and with good reason.

     This example is just one of a dozen small engines and the things they run, all working away on a trailer in Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fair.


Tam said...

I think it's a damned shame there aren't more washing machines with kickstarters.

Alien said...

One of these days I'm going to appear on your doorstep and beg to be taken to the fair. We just don't have the really neat stuff you folks in the midwest do...I'll need a multi-day pass, though, to absorb all the things that are there.

Robert Fowler said...

The gearshift on that thing looks like it came right out of my old 1946 jeep.

Old NFO said...

Heh, my grandmother actually had and USED one of those up through the 1960s!!!

B said...

I've got one of the engines. Nice 7/8 HP, IIRC.

THe kick starter is what sold it to ladies in the day. All the other competitors had pull starters.

Hat Trick said...

Not as manual as my grandmother's. It had a hand cranked wringer if I recall correctly.

Stuart the Viking said...

When i was a kid (mid-late 70s), my dad had something that looked almost like that but it had an electric motor. He worked in a coal mine, and Mom was afraid the coal and rock dust would kill her nice washing machine, so he had it set up in the barn and would use it to wash out most of the coal and rock dust out of his work clothes before bringing them in to be laundered. Your are right, the thing was indestructible.


Anonymous said...

One of the first major burns I ever got was associated with a machine just about like the one in the picture. Very shortly after WW II, I went next door to look at their new washing machine. The folks were telling me all about this amazing new machine.

The husband of the house was working at a nearby workbench, doing some soldering, I think with a blow torch to heat the iron. He slung the iron, presumably to get excess solder off the tip, and the iron came apart. The heavy tip went flying across the room to where we were, and there was a lot of yelling, "Be careful, watch where you step, etc." I took a step back from the washing machine, and being a bare foot kid, my foot came right down on the heated head, lying on the concrete garage floor. It burned a huge hunk out of the sole of my foot, all the way from side to side. Thus, in my mind, I associate serious burns with that sort of washing machine!

My wife still uses a Maytag washer and dryer (electric) that we purchased new back in the mid-1980s. We have had it serviced a few times, and about 18 months ago had to have a new gasket around the washer door. Otherwise, they are much better than modern production.

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest

Stranger said...

When I came from, before REA in most places, gas engines were common "on the hill" where the rich folks lived.

"In the old town by the tracks" it was still bonfires, cast iron washpots, canoe paddles agitating the wash, four kids wringing the water out of a pair of "overhalls" and a lot of work hanging out the wet wash.

If the train did not come along and coat the wet wash with soot and cinders it was time for the next real work. Keeping four "sad irons," and they called those that for a reason, hot enough to get the wrinkles out of everything.

The irons had to be hot enough for spit to jump off the sole of the iron before they were ready. An iron would cool below usefulness in about 30 seconds, and took about a minute and a half to reheat.

We kids had to hustle to keep the wrinkled wash ready, fold and carry the pressed garments away, stack clothes by owner, and keep the irons hot.

Such fun. I hope I never have that much fun again.


Roberta X said...

Yep. My Mom -- even as the youngest of seven kids, even living in small-to-middle-size towns (where you could keep goats and chickens!) with electric washing machines and eventually a powered wringer, has nothing good to say about wash day in the Old Days -- she was especially down on hanging wet laundry in the basement to dry in winter. Then there was the time she got her hand caught in the wringer and couldn't shut it off; luckily the rollers were new and soft and all she had was very bad bruising before a sibling heard her yell and came down to pull the plug....