Thursday, October 17, 2013


Today's picture is from 1902 and shows a young woman hanging laundry out to dry. Modern washing machines and clothes dryers are conveniences most of us take for granted. I would bet that most laundry done in the world today is dried in the sun like this.

When I was in Africa, the clothes were washed by hand, and hung in the sun to dry. The challenge was that it rained every single day for three or four hours in the afternoon. So, it was very hard to get your clothes dry. You would get a few hours of sun in the morning, and then when the rains started, you would have to move the clothes, still wet, inside, and hang them around the house. At 100% humidity, the clothes did not dry in the house, but you were just trying to keep them apart so they would not mildew. Then the next day you would put them back out. Finally you would end up with them sort of dry, but definitely still moist. 


  1. What a neat photo and a lovely expression on the woman's face. I still have a clothes line and will hang sheets and blankets weather permitting. Many folks dread doing laundry but if one looks at the methods used in "the old days" we hardly have to lift a finger anymore; we merely orchestrate.
    Getting laundry dry in Africa sounds like a challenge!
    Thanks for the beautiful photo.
    -Anne K.

  2. In the late 50's, about midweek,I washed my baby's diapers by hand & would hang them out to dry. Sometimes they froze as fast as I hung them. You might say "They were freeze dried". My husband took me to the laundrymat on the weekend.

  3. Speaking of washing the clothes, my washer machine broke a couple of months ago. My wife has been going down to the laundry mat and she says there is going to be big trouble if we don't get a new machine soon. Once you get used to the conveniance it's hard to go back. Maybe I should get her the old style washboard and ringer? If you guys don't hear from me for a-while, refer back to this post and you can figure out what most likely happened.

  4. I still hang laundry on a clothesline as my grandmothers and ancestors did; I love the fresh crisp air smell left on sheets. I miss that in the winter and then revert to the clothes dryer. Some things I let to air dry in the bathroom or laundry room. When we were moving here to MN and looked for a home, I insisted on a clothes line. Today many developments have banned any such thing, not a place I'd want to live then. My husband thinks I am nuts for the extra work I go to and tells me to just use the dryer, but not me. I liked this photo and enjoyed the thoughts. Wish I had some photos of the old times of clothes hanging in my family.

  5. I still hang out my clothes, starting as early in the year as possible and keeping on as late into the fall as I can. I love the smell of fresh sheets!

    Sometimes it is so humid in the summer that dry things will actually get wet; I shake out my kitchen rugs and drape them over the porch rail while I sweep the floor, and the rugs are so damp I have to put them in the dryer anyway!

  6. My mother hung the clothes out to dry for years after everyone else in the neighborhood...she didn't get a dryer until sometime in the early 80's.
    There were lines all over the side had to be careful when riding your bicycle through the yard so that you didn't get strangled.
    She had a particular way of hanging the clothes out...the sheets, shirts and pants would be on the outer lines...and all of the underware would be hung on the inner most lines so everyone driving past didn't see all of our skivvies blowing in the breeze.

  7. Amazing picture!
    I also hang out my loundry when the weather is good :)


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