The clothes washing machine is one of the most essential appliances to date, since everyone needs clean clothes. Washing machines are often taken for granted, since most people have easy access to them. Yet when their washer breaks down and needs washer repair services, it is a different story! Still, even with the occasional need for a home appliance repair company to service a washer so it can function again, the convenience greatly outweighs what people had to do years ago, before the invention of the washing machine. This appliance was born of true inspiration, due to too much perspiration; however, today’s automatic, set it and go washers have a quite modest history.

Clothes Washing in the Early Days

Before the advent of the washing machine, and even before many homes even had electricity, people still had to wash their clothes. This was not done as often as today, and involved much more manual labor, but clothes washing has been a regular chore for centuries. In the earliest of days it involved beating wet clothes against rocks, dragging them in bags aboard ships and scrubbing wet fabrics to get the dirt out. This eventually progressed to the tub and washboard, and boiling clothes in big basins, but even with this “progression” clothes washing was a very laborious job.

First Clothes Washing Machines

Automated machines that copied the effect of washing clothing by hand did not come about until the late 1800's. The first clothes washing machines were still human-powered, but the person operated a lever, and the lever operated a mechanism inside a wooden water tub that rubbed fabric between two ribbed washboard-type surfaces. It was a definite improvement, but obviously there was much room for even more innovation with this idea.

By the early 1900's, steam, gas, and electric motors had been added to these very basic washbasins, and things started to get a little easier, but there were still plenty of flaws with these machines. The biggest problem was the eletric motors installed in these units were unprotected, and would would short out if they got wet. Also, these machines were rough on fabric, and would shred it after a while. Yet the washing machine was at least on its way to becoming what it is today. By approximately 1911, it was possible to buy an electric washer with an oscillating drum and protected motor. There were still many design flaws in this system, which often required washer repair, but work on improved designs continued.

Progression of Washing Machine Technology

In trying to remedy the main problems with the available technology at the time, different types of motors were tested, as were different ways of rotating the drums, and actually washing the clothing. Eventually the idea that different settings were necessary to handle different fabrics without damaging them came about, and this feature was designed into the washing machines of the day. Between 1920 and 1940, washing machines saw many other technological improvements including a move from wood basins to steel, removal of an internal water heating element (since there were water heaters in homes), timers, and spin dry features that replaced wringers. From this point  through the 1970's, washing machines went fully automated, run by microprocessors - although there was still the occasional need for services from a good home appliance repair company, if the unit experienced issues.

Since then, washer technology has continued to improve, with today’s machines running more efficiently than ever while offering the most features. From what were very humble beginnings, today’s washers do a whole lot more, providing a great convenience to their owners. It is hard to imagine life without access to washing machines, at least until an appliance breaks down and a call to a home appliance repair company is required. Even though the necessity of washer repair is a definite inconvenience, it is still much better than the alternative of beating clothes against rocks or scrubbing them on a washboard!

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