News-Antique.com - May 27,2010 - I travel to Shipshewana to their Red Barn Antique stores. It is fun to meander through all the shops located in the barn. I am always surprised to see galvanized wash tubs in the shops, and that they are so very popular. They sell even though they may have a hole in them.
Growing up in the lake side town, we lived in the “Little Brick,” when you call a home little you think of a smaller house. This was little, little. In the living room an 8 foot by 10 foot linoleum rug just fit, it had a couch; two chairs a radio a small wooden or coal stove. The dining room was the same size. The kitchen was even smaller and the bedroom was unbelievably small. The kitchen had room for a yellow and green kerosene cook stove, a blue table and a sink. The downstairs bedroom had room for a double bed and a dresser. The clothes were hung behind the door on a rod attached to the wall. There was an upstairs with even smaller rooms under the eaves.
Monday, or Laundry day, as it was known at our house was quite a trick. The back porch which had basket weave slates on the back side was where the washer was kept. It would be brought into the kitchen along with two galvanized tubs which were set on horses to bring them level with the washer. Galvanized tubs were used for many, many things. We had what was called a tin cup, which everyone in the family used for water to drink. (Share and share alike!) The washing machine had an electrical agitator only. The ringer had to be hand operated. For some reason very, very hot water was used to wash the clothes and as we did not have a water heater at that time it was all heated on the yellow and green kerosene cook stove. Once the water was heated it was transferred to the washing machine and some of it was used in the first rinse water. The last rinse was cold water only with bluing added so the white clothes would look white. On this day there would always be water in the small kitchen at least one inch deep. The clothes were not wash and wear. They were all 100% cotton, the work clothes, the dresses, the blouses and the knickers. Not only did they have to be washed they all had to be ironed, but that’s another story. The water is ready, the clothes which were mountainous, enough for six people, four children two adults all the towels, all the sheets and pillowcases, all the laundry was done on Monday. Now the fun begins. First you had to have a scrub board on the side of the washer to remove any little stains; then the clothes would be put into the washer and agitated seemingly forever. Then they would go through the ringer to remove the water and the