Washing Machines: Domestic Industrial Revolution
On this date in 1797, Nathaniel Griggs of New Hampshire was granted the first American patent for a washing machine.
Here are some things you may not have known about washing machines.
Before the invention of washing machines, washing clothes by hand was a laborious and time-consuming undertaking. It consisted of transporting water by hand from a well or pump, heating the water on a fire, soaking, beating, scrubbing, rinsing, wringing and then drying items. The entire process could take an entire day.
Exactly what Nathaniel Briggs’ washing machine consisted of is not known. The records were lost in the Patent Office fire of 1836.
A drawing of an early machine for washing clothes appeared in a 1752 British magazine, Another design was published in Germany in 1767. Early machines consisted of a basin with grooved sides that allowed the person doing the washing to rotate the clothes with a stick. Eventually the idea for a rotating drum washing machine was conceived. Early iterations consisted of wooden drums, which were eventually replaced with metal drums. The metal drum allowed the drum to be placed above a fire or other heating element to heat the water.
1843 saw the first combined washing machine/wringer, followed later that century by the steam-powered washing machine.
The electric washing machine was invented in the early 20th century. Its inventor is unknown, but Alva J. Fisher is one of the earliest patent holders.
The first machine that resembles the automatic washing machines of today was introduced by the Bendix Corporation in 1937. One feature it didn’t have was a suspension system, so the machine had to be anchored to the floor to prevent it from moving across the floor. General Electric introduced its first top-loading machine in 1947.
Our question, where was the first laundromat in the United States?
Today is Teachers’ Day in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
It’s Easter Monday, National Hot Tub Day, and National Something on a Stick Day.
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