When I was a child in the mid 1930"s the hardest job for the average homemaker was washing clothes. We lived on a farm and did have cold running water in the house. But after we left my birth place we did not have running water on any of the rent farms and water was carried to the house from an outdoor well in cold Minnesota.
We used a cast iron wood cook stove for cooking and heating water for washing clothes and for Saturday night baths in the wash tub. My Mother had a copper bottomed boiler in which she used to heat water and boil the white cotton clothing and sheets. Mother made her own lye soap and I remember her shaving the soap which she added to the water in the boiler. After the white clothing had been boiled the clothing and soap were transferred to the washing machine.
The washing machine had a round wood tub and an agitator and a wringer. The agitator was powered by hand by whatever child was around the kitchen. Sometimes me. The clother were removed from the tub and put through the wringer to the rinse water which had blueing added to it. We rinsed the clothes and then put them through the wringer again to another tub of cold water. We did the second rinse and then put the clothes through the wringer again and then hung the clothes outside to dry. In winter time we hung clothes outside and they froze almost dry and then we brought them into the house and hung on lines stretched across the dining room to finish drying.
We wore the same clothes to school for several days and changed into old clothes when we returned from school. I remember wearing long underware and a garter belt to hold up my long cotton stockings. This was in Minnesota and the winters were cold. I did wear a snow suit to school as I had to walk 1/2 mile to school 10 below or whatever the temp. My mother had 5 children at home and she tried to save on washing clothes.
I remember a few years later when my Mother bought a washing machine powered by a Briggs & Stratton motor. Mother was so proud of that machine.
I married in 1948 and our son Eddie was born in 1949. I returned to work on the railroad when he was 8 weeks old. Dale noticed how hard I was working and decided to buy us a Western Auto automatic washing machine. It was the one thing that enabled me to go back to work and not spend half a day washing clothes. The automatic washing machine as we know it was in general use in the late 1940"s. To me it was a miracle invention and I was so happy to have it.