Evolution of the Washing Machine Have you ever wondered how your washing machine became the way it is? How it’s changed over time and how it got to be so advanced? Well, you’d be surprised at its interesting and intriguing history. From using rocks to wash clothing to using Wi-Fi powered machines, the washing machine has truly evolved many times throughout history. A washing machine has one main usage. That usage is to clean clothes and other household clothing and sheets. It’s one of the most common household machines in homes across the globe. Most of us don’t even give a second thought as to how people washed their clothes without the washing machine back then. We would think that people back than didn’t wash their clothes very well because they didn’t have the advanced cleaning technology we have today, but you’d be surprised at the creative ways people cleaned their clothes back then. Before the washing machine, people in ancient times cleaned their clothes by battering their clothes onto rocks or using corrosive sands to rub their clothes in and washing away the dirt in streams, according to ThoughtCo’s “History of Washing Machines” article, written by Mary Bellis. On boats, crew members would take all their clothes and put them in a durable bag that had a rope attached to the ship and threw them overboard. The current of the water would drag the strong bag through the water and wash away all the dirt and other bad substances away from the clothing. Of course, this wasn’t the best way to clean clothes, but it got the job done. People in ancient civilizations also had effective ways to clean their clothing. The Romans created public laundries for people to wash their clothing in. Because the necessary cleaning tools needed from Syria were too expensive, the Romans used fermented human urine as bleach. They would use it on linen because of its high amount of ammonia. It may sound gross, but human urine was important for washing clothes in Rome back then. The Gauls had birch cinders which they used for better cleaning of materials. These cinders were used in the earliest washing powder, but were later replaced by soda crystals. Wash houses were made later on. Laundrywomen would clean their clothes in the water on the edge of a stream, river, in fountains, and/or wash-houses. Wash-houses were covered areas of land that were laid out for laundrywomen to work in. Wash houses were important roles in society back then. Women from villages all came to wash houses at least once every week and talked while washing their laundry. The women would rub their laundry onto stones or planks made out of wood and add sand if need be to get out stains and hard dirt. After that, the women would twist the clothing, hit it with a wooden beater, and remove as much water as they possibly could. Wash houses were later on removed and vanished when the concept of running water was first introduced in homes and towns. In 1766, Jacob Christian Schaffer, a German professor, botanist, mycologist, entomologist, ornithologist, and inventor, is credited for the invention of the washing machine. According to Bloomberg.com’s article titled, “Why It Took the Washing Machine So Long to Catch On”, Schaffer created the designs of an early washing machine and published them in his book titled “The Convenient and in All Household Aspects Highly Beneficial Washing Machine: How This Was Established in Experiments, How the Machine Can Be Used More Safely and Expediently, and How It Could Be Altered and Improved.” The machine looked to have a barrel with a lid on and a crank attached to the top with a crank on top. Schaffer wrote in his book that he rinsed and soaped some dirty clothing and put them in his machine. He left them there for 12 minutes while he turned the crank attached to the machine and to his surprise, the dirt on the dirty clothing was gone. The machine got some attention, but it wasn’t a revolutionary invention back in Schaffer’s time. The Scrub Board, also known as the wash board, was invented 31 years later in 1797. It was made of wood and metal and it made washing clothing so much easier and convenient for people. It was cheap and durable and slowly became part of daily household needs. The scrub board still needed to be used beside or near water to get the dirt and other stains off, of course. To work, the cleaner would need to apply physical labor by scrubbing the dirty clothing onto the thick metal strings using soap, water, and other cleaning materials. This invention was later patented in the United States on 1833 and it became a hit for its cheapness and durableness. Many people still use scrub boards to this day in many less developed countries. The first washing machine to use a drum was made and patented by an American named James King in 1851. It was a hand-powered device, even though its drum made King’s invention look like a modern day washing machine. The machine was mechanical and a crank operated the engine. Many other contributions to the washing machine were made, like the wringer King added to his washing machine design. This made washing clothing much easier as it helped clothing dry much faster. Another example is when a Frenchman named Francois Proust created a prototype washing machine that was cleaner than the average washing machine and had a double boiler in 1870. The steam from it disinfected linen as well. There were some complications as not all material could withstand that kind of treatment. 28 years later, a French manufacturer named Flandria made the “Barboteuse.” These machines allowed people to wash their linen at home in better conditions than at the laundries in public. The laundry was boiled in a washing machine, put in the machine, and the wheel would be turned. That would make the laundry go in a back and forth action which caused all the dirty substances in the laundry to drain out through a lip in the gutter. It wasn’t until 1901 that the first electric washing machine was made. The invention is credited to an American engineer named Alva John Fisher. Its name was the Thor. It was introduced by the Hurley Machine Company of Chicago, Illinois in 1907. The company used Fisher’s prototype, which was patented in 1910. The Thor was a washing machine that had a drum with a galvanized tub and an electric motor inside.