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 Murray County Museum  

     Carlton has accumulated an impressive collection of items associated with "washday," enough to fill a large room in a traditional museum. By displaying his collection here, visitors can see the most interesting details, including manufacturers' labels, tags, and even a few boxes up close...far better than in a traditional museum.

     We have made no attempt to date the various items nor to display them in any particular sequence based on dates of manufacture. Somehow, that seems relatively unimportant for such a collection.

     Although not open to the public, and not available for either private or group visits, this unusual, privately-owned collection can be enjoyed through without inconveniencing anyone! Thanks, Carlton, for sharing your collection in this fashion!

     Click on any topic below to jump to the pictures and captions associated with that category of washday paraphernalia.. Enjoy remembering wash day as it once was! Does it make you want to go back to "the good ole days"?

WASH DAY PRODUCTS.  Some households used only home-made lye-soap for laundry. Others used "store-bought" soaps such as Octagon. Various bleaches, whitening, and bluing compounds were available. Certain laundered items required starch.

BUCKETS, TUBS AND WASH POTS.  Buckets were essential for drawing the wash day water from a well, spring, or stream and carrying it to the spot where clothes washing would be done. Water was heated in cast iron wash pots and white clothes were boiled in these pots to kill germs and whiten the fabric. Tubs were used to soak clothes that were extremely dirty, for some washing tasks, for rinsing clothes after they were washed, and for holding the rinsed items before they were hung to dry. In most homes the wash pot, after being thoroughly scoured, was also used to make hominy, apple butter, and home-made lye soap. At hog-killing time, the same pot was used to render the lard (cook the fat meat to remove the grease that would then be used in cooking the coming year). Remember "cracklin' bread"?

WASH BOARDS.   Many homes had only wash boards, sometimes called "rub boards" or "scrub boards" and washed everything by hand. Others used these boards only for badly soiled clothing.

DRYERS.  Surprise!

IRONS.  Basic flat-irons were staple items found in most homes. Special irons were available to do special ironing the fancy collars and cuffs that were stylish then. Eventually electric irons became commonplace. Then came steam irons.

IRONING BOARDS.  Most were hand-made in the earlier part of last century.

WASHING MACHINES.  Earliest washing machines were different than the white enameled wringer types common in the 1950s and 1960s. Some were made of wood, some of various metals. Some did not use the more-common agitator action for cleaning. Earliest were hand-operated. Then came electric and gas-powered washers.

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