The washing machine has been around longer than you thought. Time-saving household appliances first appeared in the 1960s, while their modern version first appeared in 1908.
The timely introduction of the automatic washing machine was introduced in 1937 which greatly saved women’s time from household chores and finally paved the way for women’s rights.
Dirty washing machine in the empty room with grunge tiles.
The modern washing machine is not yet 200 years old as it was only invented in the 1950s. In the past, people would clean their clothes by rubbing them with abrasive sand or crushing them on rocks. The Romans, for example, invented raw soap made from ash and fat from animal scratches.
During colonial times, the most common way to clean clothes was to boil them in a pot and then lay them on a flat plate before hitting them with a paddle. While most people associate it with pioneer life, the metal strip was not invented until 1833. Prior to this time, washboards were made entirely of wood. Until the Civil War, washing was done en masse near springs, rivers and other bodies of water.
Washing machine statistics
The latest market figures show that the UK alone consumes over 2.6 million washing machines per year. If the numbers reach Europe, it could reach 21 million washing machines a year. With more people buying washing machines, more than 30 percent of the world’s population is expected to own washing machines by 2025.
The first washing machines
Illustration of a washing machine with an antique engraving.
The oldest manual washing machines were operated by the human hand on a washing board. The washing machine is cleaned by rubbing clothes between two polygonal surfaces. Although this machine was patented in 1846 in the United States, it lasted until 1927. By the mid-19th century, the United States was experiencing an industrial revolution and as industry grew and the nation expanded westward, the population of cities grew. People had more ways to make money, and the middle class took risks inventing energy-saving devices. Therefore, some people claim to have invented some form of manual washing machine.
Two Americans, Hamilton Smith and James Kings, obtained patents for similar devices in 1858 and 1851, respectively. Historians claim that these devices were the first modern washing machines. However, other communities, including the Shaker community, enhanced their devices with technology. Since 1850, Shakes have built and marketed large wooden washing machines, designed to operate on a small scale. One of their most famous machines was presented at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1976. At the same time, the mechanization of the laundry raised many questions. For example, most people wondered how the invention would affect the poorest women who depended on washing clothes for a living.
One of the first innovations in washing machines was the use of technology in the form of a rotating drum. These early designs primarily featured a rotating drum washer. Although this technology was simple, it was a milestone in the history of washing machines, and was used until the 19th century when steam water appeared.
A basket with laundry on the stool and a washing machine in the bathroom.
One of the catalysts for industrial progress in America was Thomas Edison’s work in the field of electricity. Until the late 19th century, commercial washing machines were powered by a belt and steam while domestic washing machines were manually operated. With the introduction of Thor, all that changed in 1908. This machine was invented by Alva J. Fisher of the Hurley Machine Company. It was a drum type washing machine and its brand is still in use today.
With Thor transforming the laundry business, other companies focused on consumer markets. Among these was the Maytag Corporation which started out making farm implements, but gradually introduced a wooden washing machine in 1907. It soon focused solely on making washing machines. Another well-known company, the Whirlpool Corporation, began manufacturing electric motor-driven washing machines in 1911.
Washing in a washing machine and basket in the laundry room.
Bendix Home Appliance Company was the first company to introduce vending machines in 1937 after obtaining a patent. In terms of details and mechanical appearance, the machine was not like today’s automatic washing machines. Although it included most of the features of the day, it did not have cylinder suspension. Therefore, it had to be fixed to the ground. It was an expensive machine as it was built using expensive equipment. For example, drum speed was hampered by a heavy duty two-speed gearbox. The timer was also expensive because the production of small electric motors was expensive.
Previously, vending machines were usually connected to the water supply using temporary sliding connectors. Later, there were permanent connections for both cold and hot water supply. Most modern front loaders today only have a cold water connection but rely on internal heaters to raise the water temperatures.
The social impact of washing machines
Washing machines affected the work process of washing clothes, which society considered women’s work. The machine is believed to have been the driving force behind improving the status of women in society. According to a publication in an Italian newspaper, the washing machine did much to liberate women, even more than abortion rights and birth control pills. A study conducted by the University of Montreal in Canada found the same thing. The Swedish scientist Hans Rosling also noted that the washing machine greatly influenced the roles of women at home. Which makes it the greatest invention in the world. Some also argue that the washing machine is one of the best labor-saving technologies in the world because it does not reduce employment opportunities.
According to Frances Finnegan, washing machines also increased the economic viability of some parts of the world. Before the appearance of these machines, laundry was done on racetracks, and those who specialize in washing clothes are slowly adapting to the technology. Many laundry companies have sprung up since people are getting busier day by day and don’t have time to do laundry. Furthermore, some fabrics are quite thick, and are best cleaned in a commercial washing machine.
The end of the dough
Antique turquoise washing machine wringer in the room..
The wand consists of two rollers that work to remove water from the clothes. However, the dryer will not completely dry the clothes. It will just squeeze them from dripping wet. In the electric age, the stick is controlled by a motor. Thus they required a lot of work to feed each article of clothing. The sparrows were also famous for damaging fingers. The role of the wringer was later replaced by the spinning process where the clothes were traded into the drum at very high speed inside a perforated bowl. The idea of applying centrifugal force to drying clothes was invented before electricity, but electricity made it easier.
Manufacturing washing machines has seen several technological challenges. These difficulties included finding a suitable motor, finding a way to transmit power and finding a suitable motor with sufficient starting torque. Protecting speakers from shock was also a big challenge. During the transmission of power, some machines were driven by a belt; Some were driven by chains, while others used gears and shafts. To overcome the resistance during starting the machine, a fractional horsepower motor is used that does not heat up or burn out during operation to prevent electrocution.
Improvements have been made
Consumers needed a machine that cleans without damaging the clothes. In light of this, if original washing machines are used, the machines must operate at different speeds depending on the fabric of the garment. To overcome this, machines were invented that sprayed water through the clothes. Either the barrier inside the tab is moved, or the tab is activated. The early washing machines had heavy, rusted cast iron installed inside the tab cover. Thus, reducing the gears and introducing the metal pit was a huge improvement. By 1920, this type of wooden trough was no longer in development.