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Monday, February 15, 2010

Antique Wash Boards

Wash or Scrubbing Boards by unknown artists. American, circa 1840-1870. Left to right: carved and doweled pine, carved fruitwood, pine and wire, carved and doweled pine. Private collection.
Scrubbing boards were found in every laundry room in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America. Soiled clothes were soaped and then rubbed against the ridges of the board, which stood with its legs in a tub of wash water. The fruitwood board second from left is of one-piece construction, all of the other boards are jointed.

I never tire of looking at beautiful antique utilitarian items from everyday life in America, handmade to last. I'm sure these would be wonderful to touch as well. Years of scrubbing clothes by hand would have left the wood very smooth and the hands very rough. We have it so easy, don't we?

Photographed from one of my large coffee table books: America's Traditional Crafts by Robert Shaw.



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1 comment:

Millie said...

I bet the ladies who used these didn't have a full set of acrylics!
Millie ^_^