Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wringers, mangles and laundry day

When I was little my grandma Dorothy had a wringer washer. I loved to help her on laundry day. First we sorted the laundry: whites, lightly soiled colors, soiled colors (Grandpa's work shirts), then darks. After the laundry was organized in neat piles we ran the washer full of hot water using a hose hooked to the water heater. Add the soap. Add the laundry. Turn it on. Have a snack.
After the laundry was good and agitated came my favorite part - running the clothes through the wringer!
"Be careful you don't get your finger caught," Grandma would say. "Your Aunt Ruth got her fingers caught once and ran her arm into the ringer clear up to elbow. You don't want that to happen."
Grandma Dorothy taught me to fold the flat things like towels and sheets so they would run through the narrow wringer without jamming.
"Watch out for your fingers." Oops it almost got me.
Then she taught me how to release the wringer so I could get the towels that jammed out of the wringer and try again.
She taught me to fold the blue jeans so that the zipper was protected.
"Watch your fingers." Oops I felt the pull of the ringer on my finger tips.
She taught me to fold anything with buttons so that the buttons lay flat and were protected from being crushed from the wringer.
"Keep your fingers back." Near miss. It almost got me!
Laundry day was exciting!! All those close calls!

Then one day Grandma went to an auction and came home with a "mangle".  I was fascinated. It was a metal cabinet. Inside was a cloth covered roller. You plugged it in and it heated up. She said you could iron sheets. Who knew you could irons sheets. My mom folds the flat sheet and stuffs it along with the fitted sheet into the pillow case that matches so the set stays together. 
It worked a lot like the wringer on the washer. Feed the material into the roller and it came out pressed.
"Keep your fingers out of the way or you'll get burned." Wow such danger and adventure in the laundry room!
Grandma told me if you were really good you could iron shirts and pants and skirts and dresses. And my grandma was THAT good.  I never got that good, but she did let me iron the flat sheets and her table cloths..


  1. Did you ever get anything caught in a wringer?
    Clothes can wrap around the wringer and be torn?

  2. Yep, my fingers. That hurt. But thanks to a fast acting grandma I was nothing was damaged but my pride. She used to scold about keeping your fingers out of the way. She'd illustrate the dangers by telling about a woman whe knew that got her overyly vuluptuous chest caught in the ringer! I bet that hurt more than a mammogram!!

    As for clothes getting wrapped in the wringer: yes that can happen. I've never torn any. But I will admit to drifting off on a daydream while laundering and winding a whole sheet around the wringer. A moment of inattention cost me 15 minutes of unwinding and untangling.