In our long history, the task has been assigned to women.
Over the last hundred years, the way we launder our clothes has changed from a basic hand operated barrel to a machine that handles different washing cycles and loads. Although the technology inside has developed, the basic design of a front-loading washing machine has not altered for years. But that is about to change.
The first-ever washing machine that simultaneously handles two separate loads could take some of the hassle out of doing laundry.
The Twin Wash system from LG Electronics features an ample-sized, front-loading washer resting atop a mini-unit that opens like a drawer. Small batches of clothing such as delicate items can wash below at the same time as the barrel above.
A presentation by the South Korean consumer electronics giant will reveal the machine at a major Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. LG Electronics USA will link the washing machine to LG HomeChat wireless network to let people monitor progress using smartphones. Availability and pricing details were not released.
The Twin Wash system uses LG’s TurboWash 2.0 speed cycle technology. Twin nozzles spray detergent onto the fabric, while TurboSteam sprays hot steam onto the clothes to prevent shrinkage caused by overdrying. See the picture at BT
to a single tub with a hand cranked wringer,
to a twin tub with an electric wringer between barrels,
and on to various top and front loading electric washing machines.
In 1954, I lived in Prahran, a suburb of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. Here's a snippet from the memoirs I'm writing at the moment.
“Now, it's time to talk about your monthly period,” Mummy said.
I frowned and blinked, having heard things about this from other girls.
“One day, you'll find a spot of blood on your panties.” The nice expression on her face dropped and a glint came from her eyes like it did when I'd done something wrong. “It's nothing to worry about. It's perfectly natural. It happens to something that happens when a girl reaches maturity.”
“You will be very shortly. Just come to me when it happens and I'll show you what to do.”
In one of the two cement troughs in the outside laundry, she showed me how to soak cloth pads. A copper stood in the corner on the far side of the trough. Underneath, she used to light a fire with kindling to heat the water for washing. She'd grate a bar of Lux soap over hot water and wriggle her hands around to make a lather, and then soak the clothes in the sudsy water before lifting them into the other side containing cold water for rinsing.
High on the mountaintop in Mt. Lofty, I washed nappies in the laundry—a separate room to one side of the house, divided by a narrow path between the walls. I used an old-style part electric washing machine. Better than washing by hand, but the items still needed to be rinsed in fresh water and the excess water wrung out. Natural optimism coming to the fore while my husband was at work, I kept myself fit by using the chore as an exercise. I'd lift an article from the tub, hand crank it through the wringer, bend double to rinse in a bucket on the floor, and back to the wringer for the final squeeze. The docile puppy kept me company while the children played in the 'coach-house' playroom, their happy calls assuring me of their welfare.
Would you welcome the new-style washing machine?