Washing & drying View full size

Washing & drying

Washing before the invention of the washing machine was a tortuous affair. So long was the process that Monday was coined as washday as it would indeed take all day.

Some households had a copper where clothes were boiled in a galvanised boiler over a fire (or gas later). Others would wash by hand in the sink or a wash tub or tin or enamel bath. Smaller amounts could be boiled on the range in a galvanised boiler. Everything was so hot that they had to be extracted with wooden wash tongs. Laundry would be pounded by a dolly or washing agitator, whilst exceptionally dirty things would be rubbed up and down on a wash board.

Mangles would be used to squeeze out every last drop of water. Originally cast iron, they eventually became smaller and often built into a folding table. By the fifties you could purchase a little table-top model.

Washing would be pegged on the line by little hand-made dolly pegs or strung up on laundry maids hanging from the laundry or scullery ceiling lowered by ropes and pulleys. Folding clothes horses were ideal for drying front of the fire or the range.

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