“Before the Electric Dryer”

clothesline

When I was young, my mother had a washing machine, but no dryer. I think that in the early 1950’s dryers were still considered luxuries. We had a contraption such as the one shown in the photo above. My mother didn’t take any photos of our actual drying spinner, probably never thinking anyone would want a photo of it!

I imagine it was a genuine pain to do the laundry this way in Oregon where it seems to rain much of the time. She also had clothes lines in the basement for times it was simply too wet to bother hanging clothes outside. She had three of us, with two in diapers for a while, so the wash was never ending.

I think, though, that things only seem a burden when you acquire another way of doing them. As long as neither she nor anyone she knew had a dryer, hanging clothes outside was simply part of her life. I never heard her complain about it. I only knew her joy when we moved when I was eight into a house which came with a dryer. She was thrilled and we knew it. And it came just in time for baby number four and another round of of dirty diapers!

13 thoughts on ““Before the Electric Dryer”

  1. We don’t have a dryer , we only have the spinner that goes with the washing machine. We are in a tropical country so it is always sunny. You can dry your clothes under the heat of the sun.

  2. I know very few homes in Jamaica with a drier, and I washed my laundry by hand for 5 years. 4 years of college + 1 of the unemployed, job-seeking life. A lot of people are appalled when I tell them this, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

    Recently, the washing machine broke and we couldn’t do laundry. I filled up the sink with water and did my laundry by hand for 2 weeks. πŸ˜‚ Boy was I glad when we bought a new washer, but Third World experiences come in handy for sure.

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