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a wash board (a square piece of corrugated metal set in a frame of 'wood) was used to get clothing clean. An extra tub was filled with rinse water; and the wash boiler filled again and allowed to boil, to further whiten the white articles that were washed and rinsed. (Dashing from the washboard to the wood-box, to keep the fire in the stove burning, was a part of the exercise.) Add to that the starching and hanging; and then add the ironing, with irons that had to be heated on top of the same wood-burning stove, and you will have a picture of a pioneer housewife's wash day!
Later came washing machines of various makes. These either had a lever that had to be pushed back and forth by hand, or a crank that had to be turned by hand, both demanding time and energy.
Noisy, smelly gasoline washers came next and were considered a real boon, in that the lady of the house had a few minutes now and then to punch down the bread dough or darn a few socks.
With no electric refrigerators, ice boxes and root cellars had to suffice.
With no milking machines, a little stool, which was moved from cow to cow, prevented getting the knees of britches dirty from kneeling while tugging on the fleshy faucets which female bovine are endowd with on their nether quarters. Cantankerous cows sometimes objected to sharing their wealth with humans, and many a milk pail was kicked over, giving the milkman a cream and milk foot bath!
At first, pails of milk were allowed to sit until the cream rose to the top and could be skimmed off. Then came cream separators which had to be cranked by hand.
Sewing machines were operated by foot pedals, which may account for most pioneer women having slim ankles.
Many still remember the candles, and then the coal-oil lamps, the chimneys of which were held over a steaming kettle to moisten the soot. Old newspapers were used for cleaning and polishing them. The base had to be filled with oil each day and the wick, which hung down into it, had to be trimmed at the top .
Next came gasoline lamps, a better light, but hissing scary things,
with little sacks which lit up and were called "mantles".
When recipes, in the time of the early settlers, said, "beat lightly", it was, no doubt, with an understanding that housewives were too tired to crank the old handbeater any other way!
Because of electrical power, even the old broom is becoming obsolete! It can now be seen occasionally sweeping off a doorstep