My New Wringer!

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.

7 thoughts on “My New Wringer!

  1. Please note that the automatically generated posts are not my choice! The “poly” thing is about – um – multiple partners, not polyester. I don’t condone either!

  2. Hahaha, it’s good to be pro-monogamy and pro natural fibers.
    Are you hanging your things inside to keep them from freezing. I always end up using a dryer in the winter months and I own so many black things – you can imagine the fuzz on my clothing even when I wash just black with just black.

  3. I try to hang things in the basement on a drying rack. The backyard flooded with all the rain and melt-off. Shared washers are the worst, because no one is willing to take out the filter and clean it – it’s usually pretty inaccessible, unlike the dryer’s trap. Black is always difficult anyway. Obviously, priests wear a lot of black! A real clothes brush can help. Also, try using less detergent and adding white vinegar to the rinse water instead of fabric softener (if you use it at all.) Those dryer sheets just coat your clothes, which makes them more liable to pick up lint. Chlorinated water fades your black clothes very quickly, as will drying in direct sunlight. Black shirts go on hangers in the shower or basement to dry in the summer, if I have time. We end up kettle dying clergy shirts and such after a couple of years, which extends their life by quite a bit. Nicholas has some that must be more than ten years old. My own, rarely worn now, are custom-made since my athletic build is not accommodated by the usual cut of women’s clergy blouses – small, long neck and big biceps.

    Remember that some artificial fibres, such as nylon, spandex and the new microfibres, will melt in the dryer, so always line dry those and they will look new a lot longer, without pilling and stretching.

  4. There was a store here in Fairbanks that still sold all sorts of new old-fashioned useful items like tubs & wringers, wood stove accessories, hand tools and such. They closed last month after nearly 100 years so the state could build another road. They say they will reopen at a new location in the spring or early summer. I sure hope so. I don’t like only having box hardware stores to shop at.

    My mom used to soak our dark and bright clothes in vinegar before we wore them the first time. It help set the dye so they didn’t fade. I hadn’t thought of that in years.

    • I used to do that, too, but I haven’t bought new clothes in a while so I didn’t think of it. We have heard about a place north of here that might carry the sort of things we use, but right now we don’t have time or money for the expedition. Plain shopping is a lot different from online shopping, isn’t it?

  5. Yes, real shopping for useful items is better but if online is the only practical option then one must do it. There’s just something nice about standing in front of a thing and seeing it from all angles before buying. Plus it’s so much easier to compare to to other similar things when you can see them side by side up close. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone shopping with a specific thing in mind only to discover after looking at it compared to another than I really like the other better. That’s hard to do online with the same confidence.

    • I don’t really like online shopping, but it becomes necessary for us when we need things like Plain hats for my husband. I have yet to find a Plain clothing store even here in Ontario. There used to be a Jewish milliner in Toronto who sold Plain hats, but they seem to have gone out of business. Still, I have had the same experience of thinking I knew what I wanted, but changing my mind at the store. I’m not a recreation shopper like so many modern friends; I go to the store because I need something, not to amuse myself. Maybe that’s the biggest difference between Plain shopping and all others!

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