Washing Machine - Research Article from World of Invention

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Washing Machine

The invention of the washing machine relieved householders of an age-old drudgery--for centuries, clothes had been cleaned by soaking them in stream water and pounding them with rocks. In 1797, the invention of the washboard for scrubbing eliminated the need for rocks.

Hundreds of mechanical washing machines were designed in the first half of the nineteenth century, but they were hand powered. The earliest models rubbed clothes to clean them; later designs featured mechanisms that moved the clothes through the water. The user either turned a handle to rotate or rock the washing box or pumped a dolly to agitate the clothes.

Steam power was applied to commercial washing machines in the 1850s. An enterprising California miner washed shirts with his machine in exchange for gold dust in 1851. Brother David Parker of the Canterbury, New Hampshire, Shaker community patented his "Wash-Mill" for hotel use in 1858.

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This section contains 531 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Washing Machine Encyclopedia Article
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Washing Machine from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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