To finish the back-in-time posts I have been doing recently let's take a little while to remember what washing day was like back in the 1950s.
Washing day was Monday (I don't know what Mum did when it rained on Monday). She was up early to fill the copper with water from the tank and light a fire under it to get the water hot. Washing powder (or maybe Sunlight soap) was added to the water and the clothes put in and cooked for a while. The hot clothes were lifted out with a stick (like a broom stick without the broom head) and put into the washing trolley. From there the clothes were transferred to the cement tubs where they were rinsed (and white things given a final rinse in Ricketts Blue). The items were squeezed by cranking them through the rollers of the mangle and then out to be pegged on the line. Oh yes, there was one more step for table linen, school blouses and shirts, they were dipped in starch (I loved dissolving the starch in the a small amount of water in a dish before Mum said stand back and added boiling water from a kettle on the stove).
As if that wasn't enough effort. Once the clothes were dry the next stage began. The dry clothes (now stiff as a board) were sprinkled with water (our sprinkler looked like this) and wrapped up in a towel before being ironed.
No wonder they didn't want us wearing many clothes. However, our Sunday best clothes were in nylon and terylene which were much less work. But who can forget the scratchy underarms of those starched school blouses.
Washing machines were an advance on this regime but Mum never moved beyond a twin tub which was only slight improvement in comparison to our fully automatic washing machines and clothes dryers.
At our back-in-time house at Kandos there is an old copper in the corner of the laundry which we have kept because it is interesting (but never used of course). We got rid of the cement tubs but still hang clothes in the Hills Hoist washing line rather than using the dryer (saves on electricity).
Such commitment to the washing. I guess I understand why some people (almost always older) still insist with a rigorous ironing regime. A bit of nostalgia perhaps?ReplyDelete
It sure took commitment. I can't understand people who iron these days. We are usually happy to put up with a few wrinkles, though I still like a nicely ironed business shirt -- thank goodness hubby doesn't do business anymore.Delete
And some people reckon the old days were better!! I remmber concrete twin tubs and a mangle..ReplyDelete
I agree. Definitely not better when you think it through. Perhaps back just a small way was better but that is only because we resist change or would prefer to pick and choose.Delete
The Hills Hoist was the greatest Australian invention ever! When I was 8, helping mum hang the clothes out to dry, I got the shock of my young life. VERY pregnant, her waters broke so she hung onto the wire with both hands and sent me to find my father quickly.ReplyDelete
Art and Architecture, mainly
Hi Hels, I certainly have not ditched the Hills Hoist. It is a great invention. And that is quite some memory you have.Delete
I loved my twin tub, bought in 1980.ReplyDelete
I recall many of your memories, Joan. I have a very strong memory from my childhood, of my Mother having to wash at the creek, because our house water was so low.
I remember Mum being worried when the laundry tank was getting low but she never had to go so far as going to the creek (there were other tanks on the house).Delete
I can remember those washing days with my mum, exactly as you describe it. The clothes were strung out on a line that stretched from one side of the yard to the other with a clothes prop in the middle to hold it up higher in the air.ReplyDelete
Our clothes line was like that but had windmill type arms which raised one side or the other of the two lines. This meant we did not need the prop in the middle.Delete