Here is something to ponder the next time you are sorting out your laundry, one of probably the most unappreciated household chores.

history of laundry

Ancient Roman Laundry

As we know, almost everything new is well forgotten old. This is particularly true in the case of ancient Roman laundry. With their well developed urban systems. They offer public laundry services. The clothes washers were in charge of washing and cleaning the garments of the Roman citizens.

Ancient Europe Laundry

Unlike the ancient Rome, medieval Europeans tended to rely on their own forces rather than public services. Most often this was done on river banks, even if the rivers were frozen. Special tools were used for this purpose – washing bats and scrubbing boards. They were used to agitate the clothing in running water. As well as to force the dirt out and to smooth the fabric during drying. There was no ironing at that time. After a thorough wash, the garments were laid out flat on the ground to allow the sun to do the bleaching and drying.  Clearly such an exercise was not a weekly routine and was only done once in a while. Whenever a large enough amount of dirty clothes accumulated. The finer parts such as lace collars, trimmings, and fine undershirts were laundered separately. 

Ancient American Laundry

So by the early 1950s, many American manufacturers were supplying machines with a spin-dry feature to replace the wringer which removed buttons and caused accidents involving hair and hands. In 1957, GE introduced a washing machine equipped with 5 push buttons to control the wash temperature, so that rinse temperature, agitation speed, and spin speed.

In ancient Egypt, the hieroglyphic symbol for washing clothes was two legs in the water; the time laundry was mainly done is by stamping on the clothes in the water. Washing facilities in ancient Rome were famous; fullers washed laundry in large vats filled with whitewash, lye, urine, and water.

While there is no hardcore. Foolproof evidence as to when the first real, automatic and electric washing machine was invented. So the advertisements for them began to appear as early as 1904. One common attribution for the ‘first electric washing machine’ is to Alva J. Fisher’s Mighty Thor, invented in 1907

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