Old Technology

Jun 19th, 2024

Old Technology

J’s mother did not have an automatic washing machine – she had a twin tub! I’ve honestly not seen one in nearly forty years – my Gran had one when I was a child, and I briefly (once I think!) used one in a rented house I stayed in.

J and I had to figure out how it worked using raw brain power (and youtube videos of varying quality). This was a Hotpoint supermatic 9040.

Attach the filling tube to the hot water tap and the other end to the rectangular nozzle in the washing tub. Place the drain tube in the sink.
Fill the washing tub with hot water to the lower line for a small wash, and the higher line for a big one. You can heat the water in the tub itself but it takes ages – so easier to fill it with hot from the start.
Remove the tube from the internal connector.
Put the white soap tray on the top of the rotating arm in the wash tub and put 90ml of soap powder (ordinary stuff for washing machines – not hand wash stuff) in the tray.
Turn the wash dial to the wash you want (we went for medium), and the heating dial to “off” – the machine starts up and generates quite a lot of splash, so best to place the lid on loosely.
A medium wash takes about 10 mins, and stops itself when finished.
Take about half the clothes (for a full wash) out of the wash tub and put into the spin tub. Do not overload the spin tub or press the clothes down too much.
Turn the wash selector back to medium and close the lid on. The spinner starts automatically. The machine vibrates like hell at this point, so if you are a woman you could sit on it for some extra wash day fun.
While the spin is running, water will spurt out of the drain tube (hopefully) into the sink. When the spurting stops the spin is over. Press the white door release to stop and then again (hard) to open the lid.
Add batch 2 of the wet clothes to the spinner and spin again as before.
Now rinse. Drain the tub of the dirty water by putting the end of both tubes in the sink and running (any) wash cycle until the water stops running into the sink.
Fill the wash tub with cold water from the tap, and run the medium wash again with no soap powder.
Spin again as above
Drain tub and sponge dry to remove water and any residues.
Take laundry outside and dry on line.

The actual washes and spins are quite quick, but the whole process requires your pretty much constant presence at all times and takes about an hour.

How people used to live… I suppose if you compare this to what preceeded it (copper and mangle) and even older processes – it seemed a big improvement.

Here is me baffled by the tech.