Hand-operated clothes washing machine, Sabbathday Lake, ME
Simple but sophisticated mechanism for a washing machine operated by hand. Mechanism constructed of cast iron and various species of wood. The operating handle and vertical supports are oak, the hanger dowel is beech, and the hangers and agitator assemblies are white pine. By rocking the handle or lever up and down, the iron shaft is rotated back and forth. This reciprocating motion is transferred to the two agitators by wheels held by projections from the shaft, one above and one below, which are housed in openings in the pine agitator hangers fitted with iron liners, As the wheels move back and forth along their arcuate path, the agitators are forced to swing back and forth in directions opposite each other.
The museum acquired only the agitator mechanism; the tub was fabricated by the museum without having seen the original, so it does not look at all like the actual tub. A machine with the original tub is in the collection of Hancock Shaker Village (1976.040.0002), and a model, probably a salesman's model, is in the collection of Sabbathday Lake, ME. See 1959.11400.1, a photograph of the model taken in 1959.