VALE Washing Machine

VALE Washing Machine

This very basic electric washing machine was donated to the North Otago Museum in 1994. The body is a tin case into which has been inserted a brass interior with a stainless steel rim.  At the bottom of the interior is a large element, next to which is a hole for the water to drain.

On the outside of the washing machine is a red light, a plastic knob with the power levels and a tap to drain the tub. The washing machine stands on three legs and has the word VALE raised on each.

In America in 1907 electric power was adapted to hand operated machines. Both OB Woodrow of the Automatic Electric Washer Company and Alva J Fisher of the Hurley Machine Company claimed to have invented the first electric washing machine. As electricity was not widely available in 1907, these early electric machines were able to be hand operated if necessary.

By 1920, nearly 35 percent of American houses had been wired for electricity. This had grown to nearly 80 percent by 1941, when most American households had a washing machine, meaning people no longer had to dread Blue Monday!

Come and share your washing day stories on our Story Line.

NOM 94/83

Morgan Bennet