The wash house was not very far from the house and was used every Monday to do the laundry. It was not a very big building with only enough space for the washing machine, a couple of tubs that held the rinse water and limited clothes line to use in bad weather.
On wash day a large free standing black iron kettle was filled with water carried from the well. After the kettle was filled a fire was started beneath it to heat the water. This was all done early in the morning so mom could start washing right after breakfast.
The two galvanized tubs were set up inside the wash house and they also had to be filled with water carried from the well. These tubs held cold water and were used to rinse the soap out of the clothes
The washer was operated with a gasoline one cylinder motor and it was loud and popped on a regular timing. The hand crank ringer was used to take the soapy water out of the clothes before they were put in the rinse water. The clothes were sorted as they went thru the ringer . All of the womenís dresses, the menís shirts, some of the linens were set aside to be starched. The clothes were then taken to the clothesline to be hung up to dry. when the wash was dry it was brought into the house to be sorted and folded. The things that were starched were sprinkled with water and rolled up so the water would make them just damp enough to iron.
Ironing was the next day. All the girls dresses, all the menís shirts, all the dish towels , the pillow cases and the table linens were ironed so you can imagine, ironing took all day.
The flat iron we used when I was pretty young was heated on the cook stove. When I got older we had a gasoline iron. This iron had a round container on the back that held the gasoline The iron came with a special air pump so we could pump air into the container which forced the air and gas into the sole plate. Iím surprised it didnít blow up because flames came out the side vents of the iron as we were ironing. Sure made you keep that ol iron moving because the flames burned your hands if you didnít keep the iron moving in order to make the flames go toward the back of the iron.
This story would not be complete without telling you about the windows. There were two small windows on the south side of the shed. During election years these windows were used for friendly competition. One day as you saw the window a Wendell Willkie sign for president would be pasted on the window. The next day or maybe later the same day a Franklin Roosevelt sign would go up. I didnít know it at the time but one of my parents was a democrat and the other was a republican. I didnít know till much later which one was democrat and which one was republican. I was surprised when I found out when I was in high school ,that mom was the democrat and dad was the republican. Thank heavens the competition always stayed friendly.