Friday, July 16, 2010

Clothes Wringer

Good Thursday morning to you all! Today's picture was taken in 1942, and shows a major advance in domestic engineering . . . the electrified clothes wringer. The clothes wringer made washing much easier. The tub down below has an electric agitator, meaning a scrub board was no longer needed. The tub was still connected to the sink for water. After the clothes were agitated and rinsed, they were run through the wringer to get most of the water out. Then they were put out on the line to dry. When I was growing up in the 60's, our neighbor was still using a washer like this. It was out on her front porch in the shade, and connected to a garden hose. It is my understanding that many a child was injured by getting their hand caught in the wringer.

Domestic Update:

I am happy to announce great progress has been made on project Hydroponic Greenhouse in the two days since out last Domestic Update. On Tuesday the plumbers came and installed all the pipes and lines in the pad. They had a nice little excavator that got the work done in short order. They got the job done, and then the plumber asked if there was anything else we wanted done while he was there. Well, I have been trying to get the circle in front of my house cleaned up so I can mow it. It is very rough land, and had lots of cactus, roots and scrub brush. My mom really likes to work, so she comes up every day, and we have been working all summer on getting the circle cleared out. Well, we had it in pretty good shape but had about 10 cedar stumps we just could not dig out. Also, there was a big uneven spot about 2 foot high and about 15 feet across. We had been trying to level it for the last month with a grubbing hoe. Well, we asked if he would take the excavator and try and clean up those trouble spots for us. He pulled up the stumps, filled in the holes, and then he leveled off the high spot, and made a nice big pile of loose dirt for us. He did this in about 15 minutes. It would have taken us the rest of the summer to do by hand. So, we tip our hat to Tracy for getting this all cleaned up for us.

With the plumbing done, we were ready to move forward on the greenhouse. We first had to add a vapor barrier to the top of the pad. This is like a huge sheet of plastic that had to be stapled to the concrete forms. This was a hard job, because it was a windy day, and the vapor barrier was like a big parachute, that kept catching the wind. We finally got it down, and then the next step was to install the sub-slab insulating board. We got this done, and then installed the insulation around the edges of the concrete forms as well. Then yesterday, the concrete men showed up, and put the first level of rebar down. Then we put in the tubing for the radiant floor heat. This was a hard job too, because the tubing is very stiff, and did not want to go where you wanted it. We finally got it down, and tied to the rebar.

The light blue material is the insulating board. The blue tanks are the nutrient tanks for the hydroponic systems.  You can see the white tubing for the radiant floor heat. We pretty much got it where it needed to be. The little box in the upper right is the manifold for the radiant heat.

With this all done, we were ready to pour the foundation slab.

The concrete truck showed up about 1:00 yesterday, and the concrete men had everything ready to go.

This picture shows the concrete being poured. This was a tedious job for the concrete men, as they had to step between the radiant floor tubes, and not step on them.

With the concrete poured, the concrete men then went to work getting everything smooth and level. It takes about 3 hours to get the concrete all spread properly, and then the finish nice and smooth. You can see the tops of the nutrient tanks came out just above the concrete floor, as they were supposed to.

So, the foundation is now finished, and I can get started on getting the greenhouse assembled. With the progress made the last two days, I am once again hopeful I can get this finished this summer.


  1. I, for one has had my hand caught in a wringer more than once.
    You would think once would have been enough to teach me not to do it again.
    But you have to push the thick stuff in pretty hard to get the wringer to grab it, and sometimes it grabbed your hand also.
    But the one I used had a safety release on it. You just had to hit the bar and the wringer would pop open and stop turning, Never really hurt myself, it just hurt a little for a little while.
    You had a tendence not to tell anyone about it so you didn't seem dumb.

    It looks like they made great progress on you floor.

  2. good morning , my boss has a washing machine exactly like that one here at the shop, it came from his parents old house. that is a very sturdy looking piece of machinery but it also looks very dangerous especially since it is electric as well .(my last washer laster only 2 years). great job on your greenhouse ,i hope to build one this summer as well only not as elaborate.

  3. This photo could be of my parents -- the man even resembles my father. Father could fix anything.

    We moved to Henderson, Nevada, in about 1946. Henderson was built especially to house workers at a "war industrial complex," and the houses were pre-fabs - moved in and set up on site.

    The kitchen was designed with a space for a wringer washer like this, beside double sinks - one a deep sink that the washer emptied into.

    I was only a second grader at the time but I remember it being a big step up from using a scrub board.

    And of course, clothes line in the back yard.

    Really have enjoyed the photos this week -- and the updates on the greenhouse. I do hope the workmen placed their feet very carefully around the piping in the concrete floor.

  4. Radiant heat tubing used to require pressurizing, with water or air, while the concrete was poured, to keep it from collapsing. I guess the latest version doesn't need that.

  5. Funny you should show a wringer washing machine. Brought back memories from the one my folks got pretty soon after WW II. Dad was working on it and had the rollers turning. My sister and I were busy putting pieces of papre in the rollers over and over again. Just as Dad told us to watch our business, I reached for a paper that had become wripped around one of the rolers and zip, in went my fingers.

    Though the rollers were not clamped together very tight, my arm was pulled deeper and deeper until it went past my elbow. Luckly, my sister could scream loudly and Dad ran over and turned off the machine. After a look at my arm, he then began one of his "serious" talks with me about listening to what he said. Mom reminded him that I was only 5 years old, but that did little to calm the my Dad's temper. I have never forgotten that incident or it's effect on my parents.

    The greenhouse is coming along nicely,PJM

  6. I grew up with a wringer like that, and continued to use one when I was married to my first husband. Many and many a load of diapers went through that machine! Actually, if I could find one now, I'd buy it. I really like the way they clean clothes, and they don't use nearly as much water as an automatic.

  7. This the kind of washer my Helpful Harry pamphlet was designed for. Lady Anne is right--according the Harry, you could use the same water for 3 or 4 loads--and each load only took 7 minutes!

  8. yes!! Lady Anne they do make new wringer washers. Go to They are really pretty and cost $900 to $949. Stainless steel tub and also ones with gasoline engines. I also washed on a wringer when I was first married.(electric) Hand me down from my mother-in-law (she had a new washer dryer set from Sears). Always was afraid of the wringer so I was very careful and did not get caught. But--I am like you maybe a new wringer washer would be just the thing.
    PJM-- Love the new greenhouse, and always the photos. You and your followers always start my day on a very good note. lam

  9. A neighbor of ours had a washer and wringer just like that - I used to be fascinated with it!!

  10. Awesome, Mr. PJM, I'm proud of you for your progress, and that you decided to do it yourself - the parts that you can. Very nice!

  11. Weren't those type of wringers also known as manglers? I seem to remember that from somewhere way back.

  12. My grandmother had one in her basement . She used all her life. She went to be with Jesus in 1993. She still had her wringer washer at that time and it was in use. Many times when I woudl visit she had me go down and wring out the wash for her--never worried about a 7-12 year old catching her hand. I don't remember thinking it was a chore but I do recall "wondering" why she still used it. I thought it a great novelty:) What great memories.

  13. A mangler was a large unit used to iron out wrinkle from dried clothe.
    It was like an iron and a ironing board in one unit. It had a roller about 8 to 10 inches across and 18 inches wide. The roller would turn and pull your cloth acroos a large concave iron. It was drive on one end and open ended on the other.
    Your wrinkled clothes would go in the front and smooth iron clothes would come out the back. But make sue you didn't feed in a slight fold in the cloth, becauyse you would have a ironed in crease. Then you would have to spray it with water and re mangle it.
    I used one for years, but now sdmost clothes are wash and wear so no more mangleling.