Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Through The Wringer

Remember these old washboards?  This one is called "The Albert" and was made in Scotland.  It had a corrugated metal surface which you scrubbed the soapy clothes against.

 
My Granny lived in a tenement in Greenock and used to use one of these for cleaning clothes in the weekly wash before she had a washing machine. 

 
She also had one of these mangles or wringers!  It was mounted between two sinks in the kitchenette.  First of all the soapy clothes were put through.  Then the sink was filled with cold water, the clothes were rinsed and put through the wringer again.  No wonder she had strong arms!  This wringer was made by the Acme Manufacturing Co of Glasgow.
 

My Granny would then put the washing into a basket and take it down three flights of stairs out to the common "backgreen" (actually concrete - easier to maintain than grass) and hang the washing out.

 
I remember that each family in the tenement had a specific day for hanging out the washing, or a particular piece of rope to use.  Of course with Greenock weather there was much watching out for rainy showers then the washing had to be brought back upstairs again and hung on the pulley in the kitchen.  Unfortunately,  if the washing had got really wet because Granny had been out for her messages (shopping), then the whole wash had to go through the wringer all over again!!!

 
Even when she got her first washing machine it was just like the one in the picture, everything still had to be put through the wringer!  Thank goodness for spin dryers!


Love, Liz
Greetings from Greenock

21 comments:

thriftwood said...

I love old laundry items! Remember my Nana having a wash house complete with copper boiler, mangle and washboard ... loved it!

Have a lovely day xxx

VintageVicki said...

Reading that makes you realise how lucky we are with automatic machines and for those that use them a tumble drier!

I vaguely remember one of my Grandma's having a wash house complete with mangle & big stone sinks AND she had a family of 9 children - gosh how hard she much have worked!!

blackenpot said...

What memories and the things they fetch back. I still own my grandmothers posser. My mother used to be down the washhouse every monday and fired up the boiler.
We are certainly lucky to have washing machines!

Thank you for sharing.

Heather said...

my goodness we really don't know how lucky we are do we! our lives would be very different. Have a good week Heather

Marjorie said...

Nice. Thanks for sharing that.

June said...

I too love old laundry pieces. I remember one of my grans had a mangle which she used. The other gran had a twin tub which used to waddle its away across the kitchen from all the vibrations on washing day!
June

Mrs. H said...

It's true what they say Liz we really don't know we are born. Mind you life was a lot simpler in those days
Just off to bung a load in the machine!


have a great day : )

Jo said...

Great post. There used to be an old scrubber board and mangle at my Granny's house, although they were no longer used. Lovely pieces of history though. I have no idea how housewives used to wash all their bedding as well as their clothes. Serious amount of work! Thank goodness for spin dryers indeed.

Tammy's in Love said...

I'm quite sure that those were not what was longingly referred to as "the good ol' days!" I'm so amazed that the women had time for all the housework, the baking and then in the evening they sat and crocheted borders to pillow cases and made hot pads! Honestly, I waste much too much time on TV!

Ruth Kelly said...

I remember my grandma using the wash board outside and the wringer machine was there too. Then she hung the clothes on a clothes line. At least she didn't have to share her line or carry wet clothes up or downstairs. She always washed on Monday and ironed on Tuesday.

vintage grey said...

Aren't these so neat!! Would love to try doing laundry this way just once, even though I know it wasn't easy!! Thanks for sharing! xo Heather

Anonymous said...

Oh what memories, my Mum used to have a wringer fixed on the butler sink, washing took up most of the day, and when I got married in the 70s (first time round) I was given a secondhand twin tub which used to dance across the floor when the clothes were not loaded evenly in the spinner!
So lucky now to have the automatic phew!!
Thea x

sky-blu-pink said...

Gosh! Aren't we grateful for modern laundry aids! We had a washboard at home, glass, but because my Daddy played in a skiffle band rather than for its proper purpose. We had a massive twin tub which seemed take up lf the kitchen when it came out from under the counter!

Anne said...

I am so glad I dont have to use those items to do my washing ! There is a car wash company near us though and they still use one of those wringer/mangle things to wring out their chamois!

bellaboo said...

Housework was damn hard in those days wasn't it? No wonder women in the 50's were slimmer than they are now! :0)

Celestial Charms said...

I grew up hanging the washed laundry out to dry on our clothesline, which was outside my second floor bedroom window. I can't tell you how many times my hands felt like they were frozen from hanging the laundry in the winter. I suppose I can't complain, because at least we did have a proper washing machine, and didn't have to hand wash the clothes. Great post, and lots of memories from it!
Maureen

Elizabeth said...

Super nostalgic post!
And you can play music on the washboard!

We had an old 'copper' outside in an outbuilding where you lit a wood fire underneath and boiled the clothes.....
we, it was still there, and we kids discovered it.

I do love drying clothes outside.....quite a feat sometimes in the UK!

Alison said...

Those were the days. Not!
I remember helping my mother wring out the washing, I enjoyed watching the sheets come through the rollers squashed flat. Wasing day was such a process, which seemed to take forever. We really shouldn't complain about the effort it takes to load a machine and press a button.

Connie said...

Believe it or not, but I have washed with one of those boards. Back in the late 60's and early 70's I lived a pretty poor life and I can tell you that those boards do a great job on diapers.
I was out looking to see who my followers were following when I came upon your blog. I am your newest follower and I'm looking forward to sharing ideas, vintage adventures and life in general.
I am a wife, mother and grandmother. Retired and enjoying each and everyday the good Lord gives me. Have a great weekend and please come visit. Connie :)

Young at Heart said...

oh my........I remember my mum having a top-loader .....and it always flooded......... and helping to wring out the sheets....... that's one bit of 'vintage life' I'm glad is over!!

Vintage Jane said...

Gosh, we really do have it so easy these days don't we! M x