Thursday, October 16, 2008

Laundry Day

At Grandma and Grandpa's House.....

....Grandma used a wringer washer.

This is a picture of a wringer washer I saw in an antique show this summer. It looks almost exactly like the one my Grandma had.

If you aren't familiar with the device it was basically a washing machine drum with an agitator in the middle. You filled it up with a hose from a nearby spigot and then put in the soap and the clothes just like a normal washing machine. Then it would run for awhile and you would turn it off and drain it. You then had to take the clothes out of the washing machine and dunk them over and over again in a rinse tub (just a galvanized tub on legs). When that was done each article individually was run through the wringer.

Our job was to rinse the clothes in the rinse tub and then help Grandma hang them on the line. There was a very specific way that things had to be hung up so that they would dry nicely and we had to learn that before we could hang the clothes ourselves. Of course the wringer was the most interesting part of the whole process, and the part that intrigued us the most.

The wringer was attached to the top of the washing machine and it does exactly what it's name implies....wrings the water out of the clothes. The wringer is basically two rolling pins that spin. You slip a corner of the article of clothing between the rollers and it sucks it in the rest of the way and spits it out on the other side. Sometimes things had to be run through the wringer a couple of times to get all of the water out of them....and sometimes certain items were too thick (like denim overalls) to go through the wringer and had to be wrung by hand. Sometimes things would get wrapped up in the wringer and get stuck. Then Grandma would have to wrestle them around and try to get them out so she could continue on with her laundry.

We helped Grandma do laundry many many times. And everytime the task was punctuated with warnings to "stay away from the wringer." "Never touch the wringer." "The wringer could suck your fingers in and smash them." "Don't come any closer while I've got the wringer running."

Well apparently those warnings were well warranted because in reading through her diary from 1979 I found this entry on September 8th:

"Amy ran her hand through the washing machine wringer."

No further comments so I guess she recovered fully. At least I know she was back doing laundry again on the following Saturday so it must not have been too bad.

On this date in 1979:
Grandpa, Dad and Uncle Shannon were busy with the harvest. It rained a little and Dad finished his beans "away up in the night". Grandma babysat us all day and then my Aunt Amy (a teenager at the time) took us home at night and stayed with us until Mom and Dad got in from the field. Grandma studied for her Dosage and Solution test (which she ended up doing poorly on and had to retake. She got an A the second time. It's no wonder. How does anyone study while babysitting a 4 and 2 year old?) Grandpa cut beans for Mr. Buoy (a neighbor). Shannon worked on his combine.

I liked this entry so I wanted to record it too.
Sunday, October 21st, 1979: Warm and sunny. The wind blowing fiercly. Went to Sunday School. In the afternoon Susan and Wendy came. We dug out a bunch of clothes for Wendy. Bill, Amy, Crystal and I went for a walk and picked up persimmons in the pasture. Everything was beautiful.

2 comments:

JULIE said...

Hi I show you a video
an old washer wring.
http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=8P7I3lZqlGI

Jill said...

Believe it or not, I was JUST thinking of the wringer washer the other night and I hadn't even had a chance to look at your blog in forever! Strange, huh? I remember many of those same things about it... especially the warning about the wringer. :-)