Vintage Washing Machine

patbcSeptember 24, 2012

I have come into possession of this quaint little ole' washer, which I believe had been operated by hand somehow. Can't find a name anywhere, did find a number that looks like it could be a patent? " 24 83 0 " on top of the brace for a wringer, and another number imprinted on the side of the tin tub " 96 " which I wondered if it could be a parts number perhaps.

Does anyone know anything about this little model?? It's in pretty good shape for having been left outside exposed to the elements for who knows how many years!

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Yep........they're sometimes called James washers. Believe it or not, they do a good job of getting clothes clean. You can still buy them Amish made and new ones will run you close to $700 if you get the wringer assembly to go with it. There should be a handle or lever sticking out of that metal bracket on the side and you ran it by pushing the lever back and forth, causing agitation in the cylinder. Sometimes you find baffles in the chamber too, to increase the agitation of the water. I live 'simply' but we are not 'plain'. I seriously considered getting one of these new, but thought the price too high. You see some homesteaders who are off the grid using them. Cool. I haven't seen one of those at auction for a long time and shoulda got it then when I saw it.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:39PM
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I have used one of these things when a boy on the farm in the 1940s. On wash day, it was my job to supply the arm power to agitate the clothes. In reality, it made both my mom and me tired before the job was done.

I can not tell from the picture, but I think your machine is missing its agitator. The agitaor was a semi-circular part with cleats facing the clothes. The agitator was fastened to a shaft that ran across the tub; you can see the end of that shaft sticking out the side of your machine. A wood handle was fastened to the metal channel iron seen in your photo. The agitator was swished to and fro by hand power. It was not easy. Seen in your photo are two tension springs fastened to the end of the handle bracket. These are centering springs that returned the handle to an upright position (and centered the agitator).

There may have been another duplicate machine to complete the set. It would have been positioned next to part that your hand tool is on (propping up a metal panel). One machine(tub) was used for washing in soapy and/or bleach water; the second tub was for rinsing and bluing.

These washers were used outside or in a wash house. They were a bit sloppy and it was common for water to splash out. The agitator shaft where it enter the tub was not water tight. During cold weather when one was forced to move the washer indoors, one had to be careful to keep from wetting the floor too much. It was common to use on a linoelum floor and have a mop handy to sop up spills,

Your wringer is missing. Those who chose to stay primative without a wringer had to wring the clothes by hand and this added more misery to wash day.

Another feature that increased the labor was emptying the tub. There may have been a drain cock, I don't recall. The usual procedure was to dip out water with a peck sized pail and carry it away to dump until most of the water was gone. The drain cock could be used (if present) to finish the job, or when outside, the entire thing could turned over to dump the remains on the lawn.

Most housewives who had one of these things got rid it as soon as possible. My mother reverted back to a pair of no. 3 wash tubs for wmall loads.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 3:56AM
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I live in what was called "washer city" and our museum has a wing dedicated to early laundry equipment. Unfortunately I can't remember for sure if they have one like you have....but I'll bet they do!
There's an email address on the site below, email them your picture and I'll bet they will direct you to someone who knows who made your old washer.
Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful: museum

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 9:56AM
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I was gonna buy one once he wanted 75.00 for it Isettled for old wooden maytag cute.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:14PM
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