This 1915 washing machine revolutionised clothes washing in the early 1900s. Up until then washing was done by hand, using a tin bucket (or a copper) and boiling water.

Washday was traditionally a Monday (based on the premise that if you did your washing on Monday it would be clean and dry by Sunday, the day of rest and clean clothes).

Washing was a labour intensive chore, and usually took all day.

You didn't have the luxury of changing the water, so you started with the least dirty clothes, and worked your way up to the dirtiest.


First the water needed to be carried from a pump and boiled. Then the clothes were plunged in the water, then scrubbed with soap against a washboard.

Next they were rinsed and wrung out by hand or passed through a mangle before being hung on the line to dry.

Washing machines like this one saved time by using a gearing mechanism to agitate the laundry. But it still needed hot water and someone to turn the handle.

Electric washing machines were invented in the early 1900s. And there was no such thing as being able to go to the laundromat - the first one didn't appear anywhere until 1934.

Find the washing machine at Cobblestones Museum, 169 Main St, Greytown.