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Antique Washing Machines

While there have been many technological changes to washing machines, antique washing machines are still available. Whether you collect them as a hobby or for off-the-grid use, there are a number of options. These vintage washing machines can be efficient without consuming extra power.

What types of vintage washing machines are there?

Vintage machines range from washboards to basins with manual agitation to machines with the addition of a plunger for agitation. Each style had its unique benefits.

  • Washboard: These washing boards feature slats to remove dirt and stains when clothes are scrubbed against them. The level of pressure applied was controlled by hand, as were the amount of water and soap. Some people also enjoy using these boards as musical instruments.
  • Basin: The basins with manual agitation hold more water,which means you can wash more clothes at once. This type can be useful for washing delicate clothing items because you can customize the pressure used in the washer, reducing tears in fragile clothes.
  • Agitation plungers: Washers with plunger agitation used a tool similar to a toilet plunger to move the clothes around. This kept the load of clothes and water moving in the washer​ at a quick pace.
Are spare parts available for these machines?

If you're looking to use or restore an antique washer, you'll likely need to replace a few parts. These washers were generally manufactured for simplicity in use and in design. Getting one of these vintage machines in working order could be an equally simple task. Repair of these appliances might include replacing easy to find items such as bolts, nuts, agitators, seals, or plugs.

What are the washing machines made of?

The exterior and interior of these washing machines are resistant to water, rust, and breakage. Likewise, the interior parts are durable for long-term use and resistant to damaging elements. These washing machines were built from a number of different materials, including the following:

  • Copper: Basins for washing large loads of laundry are often made of copper to prevent rust or other forms of corrosion form in the tub.
  • Wood: Wood is used in many washer boards. The material used for washing laundry needed to dry after use, and be ready to be reused fairly quickly.
  • Plastic: Plastic basin rubs are ideal for smaller laundry loads. They were easy to clean and dry, providing resistance to mold.
  • Aluminum: Washing laundry in aluminum tubs are good when you needed to prevent corrosion. It also allows you to wash clothes with hotter water.
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