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Nowadays, the gals would be pissed if they got a broom or washing machine for a Christmas present...but not in the old days!

Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Photo: Solomon D. Butcher via L.O.C.

Back in the day, if a gal didn't have a broom or it got worn out, she had to make one or have hubby make one or buy a new one in town. It was her job to keep the house clean and she had to do it with whatever tools she had. Once a tool becomes worn out it is not efficient to use, it wastes time and energy. Sometimes hubby was off trapping for months on end and a drive to town was a major undertaking only done a few times a year or less for those in the wilderness. It was up to her a lot of the time to make do with what she had at hand. So, when she got a new broom or apron it was a big deal, versus having to make one. 

And getting a newfangled stove was like hitting the jackpot, compared to cooking over the hot fireplace in the summer. A stove made it easier to bake bread rather than using a Dutch oven in the fireplace. (Dutch oven = cast iron pot with lid.) And she would have to bake bread almost daily. The rich families had 2 stoves. One for winter cooking indoors and one for outdoors summer cooking. They could even have a separate summer kitchen building. If not rich, the stove would be moved outdoors for summer cooking. That is where the phrase 'Pa stoved his back' came from. Pa would hurt his back moving the heavy cast iron stove outdoors. 

Before washing machines, I've read a woman could spend 6 hours with her hands in the wash water doing clothes by hand when it was wash day. So, it was a most welcome present getting a washing machine for a Christmas. Nowadays, the gals would be pissed if they got a broom or washing machine for a Christmas present...but not in the old days!




We take a lot of things from granted now. When electric lights first started to replace gas lights, electric wall sockets were not widespread as yet.





Maytag was one of the early washing machine makers.




Thor was said to be the first commercial electric washer sold in the USA.




You could even power some machines with a water motor. 




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Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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My grandmother was still using adapter plugs to power appliances from light sockets until about 1975, when I became confident enough at 15 to install some modern sockets on the skirting boards to augment her pre-war round-pin outlets. There'd be less of an overheating problem with our 240V supply, of course.

I still have a couple of those adapters. Won't be using them. We have a lot of sockets; you can't have too many socket outlets in a house.


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