Thursday, July 15, 2010

Woman with Wash Tub


Today's picture was taken in 1900, and shows a woman doing the wash in a wash tub with a scrub board. This would have to be a hard job. I would think that it would be very hard on your hands.

When I was growing up, my mom did the laundry. When I went to college, I had to do laundry myself. I did not like it, and was not very good at it. I would really overload the washing machine. I mean, I would fill it all the way to the top, and stuff the clothes in. Problem was that with the washer overloaded, it did not do a good job rinsing the soap out. After I finished school, and got a job, I would take the clothes to the laundromat. One day when I was in there doing the washing, the owners saw me overstuffing the machines. Come to find out, the owners were my next door neighbors in the apartment I was living in. They told me that I was overstuffing the machines, and told me that was not a good idea. Well, in the end they said that if I would just drop my clothes at there door in the morning, and leave the quarters for the machines in the basket, they would bring them in and wash and dry them for me. They would then drop the cleaned clothes at my apartment after work. They did a real nice job, and would hang the shirts on hangers, and fold everything nicely. That was a pretty good deal that I stumbled into, and it went on as long as I lived there. Then, once I got married, Mrs. PJM did the laundry. I would say that Mrs. PJM and I do about the same amount of domestic work. I take care of the outside stuff, and she takes care of the inside stuff. I do all the mowing, and taking care of the chickens and peacocks, and she takes care of the house cleaning and the dogs. So, I would say it is a pretty even split in the work. 

11 comments:

  1. What a great deal you had! I have a hard time imagining people offering to help anyone that much now.

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  2. I like that this woman looks like she knows hard work but is jolly to boot! Her eyes seem to show a sign of mischievous!

    Ouida Gabriel

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  3. My grandmother refused to use her washing machine. She did laundry by hand just like this woman and this was in the '60s and early '70s.

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  4. My aunt in England continued to do laundry with a scrub board well into the 1980s even though a washing machine was available to her. I would sneak off to the Laundromat to do my wash on my visits.

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  5. Recently stumbled across your blog and enjoy the pictures and information very much. I was recently thinking what modern innovation would I be unable to live without and my washing machine was the only thing I could think of. My dad made me a five-line clothesline with pulleys and cord tighteners. I use it all the time. Saves money too!
    Celeste in rural Missouri

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  6. +JMJ+
    I live in the far North and still don't have a dryer (wood heat in winter and an upstairs clothesline!). When I was younger and lived in Houston, I did the laundry w/2 washtubs, a board, and a hand wringer. With the heat, everything dried well and it was usually a pleasure. This is why our grandparents didn't need a gym membership!! ;-)

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  7. Oh yes the laundry "deals" that have been made over the years. My husband when he was around 12 or so, his Mother said, "time for everyone to do their own laundry." Now this was not good news to my husband so he and his mother struck a deal. He would do all the yard work, she would do his laundry. That continued until we were married, then I took over the laundry, but he still does they yard.

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  8. It is an even split. What I don't envy you is cleaning up after the peacocks, Yecch! The woman in the picture has a funny expression on her face, kind of looks like "go away and leave me to work!"

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  9. The scrub boards like this woman is using killed your knuckles. Ouch.

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  10. I'm not able to say this very well, but laundry machines have a downside - "taking in" laundry was a respectable business for poor / uneducated women. Even today, a middle class Brazilian family can pay a maid less to wash cloth diapers than to buy disposable ones. (New Yorker article from a few years ago.) Paper ones were becoming more appealing for status reasons, propagating all the land fill issues we have in the US.

    That said, I'm very attached to my Fisher & Paykel washer that has a direct drive (no belts) and spins out water at 1000 rpm. Much better than a wringer (I've used those, too!)

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  11. That's me in this photo, even today.

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