Okay, so maybe washboards/scrub boards aren’t as mysterious as I thought they might be. I imagined all you young people out there having no idea what a scrub board even was. Boy, was I wrong. The guesses came in fast and furious and right. A scarce few of you guessed something else, I think, just to make me feel better. 🙂 Or maybe so I wouldn’t get discouraged and stop trying to find mysterious photos. I did doctor up the scrub board photo I first posted a bit more to make it a little less obvious. Here on the right is the original photo I took at a Cracker Barrel.
More About Washboards
The comments some of you made about the scrub board made me curious about this early laundry aid, so off I went to find out more. I knew what a washboard was. My mother had one, but I don’t remember her using it although one of you said your mother scrubbed your father’s overalls on one before she put them in the washer. Another of you noted that you’d seen somebody play music on one. Actually, you can still buy new washboards. Some are advertised as musical. But when I read some of the reviews for that one and others, I discovered people are still using the washboards for what they are intended for. Laundry. These people didn’t have washers and didn’t like going to the laundromat because of how expensive it was or due to time constraints. So they got washboards and washed their clothes the old fashioned way.
And it is the old fashioned way. Wooden washboards and bats were used by washerwomen in Italy well before the 17th Century. However, the metal washboard is an American invention and a man named Stephen Rust (honest, that was his name) patented a new idea: a “Wash Board” with a piece of “fluted tin, sheet iron, copper or zink” in 1833. I found this information and more on a website called Old and Interesting. I think that might be a great research place when I write my next historical novel.
You can also buy a modern dasher with rubber or plastic parts like this old metal one. My mother had one of these too and it took me a while to figure out what it was for. Reading all the history about how laundry used to be done and thinking about how my mother had to do laundry when she first married makes me really thankful for my automatic washing machine. I did use a wringer washer when I first married and heated the water with an electric heater. While that was way ahead of my mother heating water in kettles over a fire out in the yard, it wasn’t as easy as pushing a button on the washer I have now.
A New Mystery Photo
But on to a new mystery picture. The one up top. Do you know what it is? I’m sure some of you will. Sigh. You guys are hard to fool. But we’ll see. Remember each time you guess or say you don’t know on a new mystery (well, I’m trying to make them mysterious anyway) photo, you get a new entry in the drawing. Also, it’s more fun if you make your guess before you read everybody else’s guesses. After all, they could be wrong. 🙂
I’ll pick three winners on January 31st. Those winners will get their choice of one of my books, autographed to themselves or whomever they chose, along with an additional grab bag book by a different inspirational author. You must be 18 to enter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let your kids or grandkids help you guess. Just leave a comment here or send me an e-mail with your guess to get your name in my drawing hat. And I’ll go back to the drawing board to come up with a new mystery photo for Sunday.
As always thanks for reading. And thanks for playing my mystery photo game.