General Electric introduced its first top-loading automatic model in 1947.
General Electric introduced its first top-loading automatic model in 1947. .

Throwback Thursday: Legend of laundry puts mind in a spin

THIS morning when I pushed a bundle of clothes into the front loader, a scoop of detergent into the clean white plastic holder and pressed the 'on' button printed on my washing machine, a picture of my grandmother's old boiler clothes washer situated under her Queenslander-style home flashed before me.

No nostalgia here. Since there is not a detergent drop of Domestos Goddess surging through my veins, it was a horrifying sight. Imagine all the physical work that went into cleaning clothes.

My mind went into a spin - another flash of the old wringer washing machine and mum feeding clothes through the rollers appeared.

And things weren't getting any better. Next thing, you know I'm recalling an odd-looking thing known as a twin tub and my children's nappies - I'm feeling faint!!

However, great news. I have recovered. I am pleased to say this very scary moment ended in a flush of gratitude, as I heard the swoosh of my modern, white, front-loading washing machine as it dashed my clothes into unmarked, unstained, fabulous freshness and I had barely lifted a finger.

Very abridged history of washing machines:

1. People started cleaning their clothes by pounding them on rocks at the local creek.

2. 1851: American James King patented the first washing machine to use a drum. (But it was still hand-powered).

3. 1858: Hamilton Smith patented Rotary Washing Machine

4. 1874: William Blackstone built a washing machine for use in a home for his wife's birthday.

5. 1908: The Thor washing machine was invented by Alva J Fisher and introduced by the Hurley Machine Company of Chicago, Illinois.

Facts about a few famous washing machine companies

The Maytag Corporation began in 1893 when F.L. Maytag began manufacturing farm implements in Newton, Iowa. Business was slow in winter, so to add to his line of products he introduced a wooden-tub washing machine in 1907. Maytag soon devoted himself full-time to the washing machine business.

The Whirlpool Corporation started in 1911 as the Upton Machine Co., founded in St. Joseph, Michigan, to produce electric motor-driven wringer washers.

Source: http://theinventors.org/library/inventors/blwashingmachines.htm.