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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Making hard choices: front or top loader.. slim or energy-saving? A washing machine post.

Hello everybody!

Life is so much simpler these days. Everything revolves around a single button! Washing clothes without having to rinse, dry or soak is just a blessing in disguise. 
Earlier, people had to soak their clothes in soap water for hours together, then scrub the stubborn dirt, rinse and then dry the clothes. Drying also took days together. However, with the introduction of washing machines, washing the clothes became easier. The machines would dry the clothes at least 70 to 80 per cent and the already half dried clothes would be done in no time.

 Do you wish to know how washing machines evolved? 
Let us discover...

Earlier, people used to clean their clothes by pounding them on hard rocks or scrubbing them with abrasive sands and wash away the dirt in rivers or lakes. In Rome, people used to clean their clothes using the fat found in the ashes of sacrificial animals as soap.


The first washing machine was called as the scrub board and was invented in the year 1797. In 1851, American James King discovered and patented the first washing machine to use a drum. However it was still hand powered and did not work by itself.
Then in 1858, William Blackstone of Indiana built a washing machine for his wife. This washing machine removed and washed away dirt from the clothes. This was the first official washing machine that could be used at home.

Here's a question we now get rarely asked.

In 1908, Hurley Machine Company of Chicago invented the Thor machine. This was the first washing machine that was electric-powered and had a galvanized tub and an electric motor. The earlier washing machines had heavy, cast-iron mechanism mounted on the tub lid. This made the washing machine heavier and bulky.

The introduction of a metal tub and reduction gears in later years replaced this bulky apparatus and by 1920 the production of coppered wooden tub completely stopped. Also, the machine made lot of noise because of the bulky metal tub. 

What I like about this advertisment is the emphasys on
wearing your best for shopping utilities
We underestimate the fact that a washing machine
was a HUGE deal back in "roaring" twenties

The tub was now copper ribbed and made of metals like nickel or nickel-chromium plated. Another modification that was made was covering the tubs with white enamelled sheet metal to make cleaning process easier. 

By early 1950s, American companies started manufacturing washing machines with spin dry feature and this replaced the old wringer which while drying the clothes would remove the buttons or cause accidents involving hair and hands. 

In 1957, the first washing machine with five push buttons was introduced. This involved wash temperature, rinse temperature, agitation speed and spin speed.

I think this was a revolution, my friends
From using your whole body and acking for days on
to a simgle "push of a button"
doping laundry became... really easy.

Slowly, more features were added and today we have a variety of washing machines with different features and styles to help us out and make life simpler and easier.


Nowadays, the questions are multiple.
1. How wide: from 33cm to 60 cm?
This tells you weather your machine is to be fitted in a tight space, for example: if you are living in one of those (student friendly" flats that have only 24 meters quare (260 square feet). These are popular with students; hence it's name. They have a tiny hallway, a bathroom and opne room that may or may not have a small divide between "kitchen area" and everything else.
2. How deep: 44cm or 60cm?
Again, depending on where you want to queeze in your washing machine, you may want to save up on space, and otp for a smaller size.. make sure to measure the doorway - there were cases of ladies picking with their hearts, and later on realizing that the item itself can not pass the door.
3. What is your prefered centrifuge number?
To all of us who fail to comprehend mechanics - this in the number of resocultions per minute that the "drum" of your machine makes.. or, even more simply: it's how fast it spins your laundry.
4. What's it's charge way?
Do you laod your laundry from the front, or do you prefer opening a lid and filling from top? Both have their advantages, and both are to be considered wisely.
5. What's the capacity in weight?
Maybe the most important question of them all. This tells you how much stuff you can put in your machine and it's important if you're a mom with a husband, 3 kids and elderly parents all under one roof (then chose the largest one, that can fit up to 9 kilograms of laundry - that's almost 20 pounds)
6. Last, but not least: what enery grade it should be?
It's all about saving. Sure, at first it might seem like it does not matter weather it's a grade A+ or something in the line of A+++10% (say what?!) :) This is how you save up on bills. Remember when you swiched your old light-bulbs for an "energy" ones? Same goes for all utensils.

After a large consideration of many, many things.. I have made a list of desired features. 
I will have my washing machine in the kitchen (Well, it's so British, right? Actually, it's more complicated: having electric sockets in the bathroom is a dangerous and in places even prohibited). 
1. SPACE. The room organization asks for a "tight fitting" space, comfortably placed next to my dishwashing station (no, I do not plan on being one of the "electric dish washer" owners, since I don't have that much dishes anyway). 
2. ENERGY. Next, saving up on bills is a key to living alone and, something like a A+ grade machine therefore is a "must". 
3. CAPACITY. As previously mentioned I plan on living alone (for a while... yeah) and not much laundry will need washing. 
4. ERGONOMY. Lastly, due to it's "corner" position, bending and kneeling in fron ot if would prove difficult, so filling it up frontaly is a harder option.

With all in mind
this is my choice:

It's a top-loading, grade A+ machine
with 800 resolutions per minute and 
6 kilograms of capacity

Have you made these considerations when you chose your machine?
What was your "most important" feature?  
If you have anything to add to this, do let me know.
Have a great day.


  1. My mum had a toploader, they're great in small spaces. We don't have a lot of surface area in our kitchen, so we've got a front-loading machine - that way it can go underneath a work surface so we've got more preparation space.

    I can't imagine what it would've been like having a large Victorian family and no washing machine! Horrible, probably.

    1. My dear Mim..
      These were my thougths exactly. Can you imagine: if it takes a maching 2 HOURS to tumble your laundry.. how long and labourous must it been back in the day. So, when someone speaks about "romantic" past - this comes to my mind and I say NO to going back in time.
      I'm fine with living in "today". :)


  2. Fantastic post! I sooo love entries like this that track the history and progression of a given appliance (or, really, just about anything). I think that right up there with the fridge (and the struggle to keep food cold/fresh, prior to it, I mean), there are few things more people take for granted (whether they realize it or not) that we are spared from having to constantly think about than the hefty job of washing clothes and how even our grandmas, in many cases, had to do this frequent task. We are so fortunate to live in the era that we do from the perspective of home appliances!

    That looks like a lovely machine and a good fit for a kitchen. I too associate having a washer and dryer in the kitchen as being a British/Irish thing, and indeed, both of the homes we lived in while in Ireland had such. Here, as in the majority of North American homes with their own washer and dryer, ours are in a small separate laundry room in our basement (not all laundry rooms are in the basement, but it is, the most common location for them in most homes that have a basement; even if they don't have one, the laundry room is usually still a separate little corner of the house unto itself).

    I really enjoyed this great post! Thanks so much for penning it, honey.

    ♥ Jessica