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It’s not really new. It’s used, really used. It’s a wringer attachment for the washtubs, patented in 1897, made sometime between then and, most likely, 1920. It works! It desperately needs new rubber rollers, and I have no idea where to get them – and we left a good pair back in New Brunswick, when we didn’t have a wringer but knew if we found one, it would most likely need new rollers. It will still work, though.

It was $30 at the Sally Ann (Salvation Army, for Americans), and had come in yesterday. Funny thing, I’d said to my husband moments before that it was difficult to find good things at the thrift stores because the dealers and collectors made their rounds every few days, and snatched up the useful antiques and good dishes. Well, this time we got there first.

A very nice gentleman of Austrian descent, whose family had lived the old life for many years, was as pleased for our purchase as we were. He was delighted to see traditional people buying traditional things. These antiques, he told us, were being sold elsewhere for much more than what we paid.

I don’t want to call it a victory, but a little grace from God. My hands are becoming increasingly arthritic, and wringing the clothes was a chore. If the clothes are not well wrung, it takes a long time for them to dry, and they drip into little mud puddles under the clothes line. Sheets and towels are horrid to wring on one’s own, and I would wrap them around a sturdy crossbar and wring them over that, when Nicholas wasn’t at hand to help.

The family thinks I’m crazy. They are quite happy with the coin-op automatic washer and dryer in the basement, while I mutter about detergent residue and lint blowback. The washtubs are stowed right now, but I am anticipating that my handy husband will soon build another beautiful washtub stand on the porch, and on nice days, I can wash, wring and hang clothes to the complete satisfaction of my old-fashioned soul.

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