Sunday, February 5, 2012

Washing Clothes

Domestic Activities week continues with this photograph of two girls washing clothes in wash tubs. I can not tell for sure, but it looks like they might not even have a wash board. The picture was taken in 1916 and the girls are 12 and 13 years old. The photo was taken in Nicholas County, Kentucky.

It is interesting, that in many parts of the world, laundry is still done this way. The lovely Ms. EAM has a girl that comes by twice a week to wash her laundry by hand. I felt bad seeing a young lady have to work like this, but Ms. EAM explained that the girl really needed the work to survive. Ms. EAM pays her generously by the local standards, and serves her a nice breakfast each day she comes by. Still, it is hard to imagine an area where labor is so cheap that no one would ever even consider purchasing a washing machine, because you could pay a person much cheaper than what a machine would cost to purchase and operate.

When you look at conditions like this, I continue to sit and scratch my head and try to figure out . . . how can we make things better in Africa? 


  1. The one on the left has a washboard.

  2. As late as 1953, my mother still heated the water in two large wash pots outside. We had a ringer type washing machine, but no inside plumbing. The night before wash day, my dad would draw the water from the well and we kids carried it to the pots and tubs. Next morning Mom built a fire under the pots, when the water started to boil she dipped the water out, to fill the tub of the washer. Whites (sheets & towels) went in first, then colored clothes, work clothes were last. The Washing machine was on the back porch.

  3. It looks to me like the old way is easier than the new way in these pictures. In the old picture at least the wash tubs are on stands so you don't have to bend over so far. But I bet the plastic bowls are much lighter than those old heavy wash tubs.

  4. It very hard to bridge a gap supported by poor education and a corrupted ruling class. Wish it wasn't so.

  5. We can't. There is nothing in the world that can be done to help Africa. That will remain true until such time as Africans decide it is time to help themselves.

    The same could be said for many people in this country.

    Until then, the ruling class will keep their thumbs on the poor and disenfranchised.

    That is my opinion and I get to have it, even if some folks might think my opinion is wrong.

  6. Laundry! My washing machine is misbehaving, the timer is bad, we have to advance the dial by hand when it comes to a certain point or it will go on forever.

    As for making things better in Africa, they have to do that for the most part, themselves. I do not wish to sound cruel but just giving things to people makes them dependent and creates a sense of entitlement.
    Just look at our permanent welfare class that did not exist before government handouts paid them to stay on the dole.

    Giving money, ie foreign aid, to the various African governments, only enriches the local despots.

    A lot of the poverty in Africa is because of socialist or communist governments enriching themselves at the cost of the people.

    The way to help Africa is just how your daughter is doing it, through private charity and bringing them the greatest riches, the Gospel.

  7. I agree, Michael. I hope we are able to prevent the U.S.A. falling back to those conditions.

  8. When we were first married my husband was still in college & we couldn't even afford to take our laundry to the laundromat, so I washed all our clothes on a washboard in the bathtub and had a clothesline across the bathroom. It's NOT a hardship. It's what you do to save enough for rent & food. We've been married 48 yrs & have what we need in abundance.

  9. Your tapping into a topic I've tried to cover a couple of times on Lex Anteinternet but which is difficult to get across to most modern folks here in the Western world, which has to do with the pre domestic mechanized division of labor.

    People like to think that World War Two resulted in women entering the workplace, ignoring that women entered the same roles in World War One, but that the change was permanent in that instance. What was different? Two things. The typewriter brought in the female secretary replacing the male secretary and, more significantly, domestic machinery enormously reduced the amount of labor that was necessarily done by women at home. This was so much the case that single males usually lived at home, where their mothers and unmarried sisters were tasked with this work, or in boarding houses, rather than trying to live on their own.

    Domestic machinery; washing machines, vacuums, modern stoves, changed all that.

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