There are about 3,000 members who collect all kinds vintage appliances, from washers and dryers to fridges and dishwashers. Founding member Jon Charles started the group in 1984, when there were only about six other members. Now, the club spans continents, with enthusiasts in Australia, Madagascar, Russia, and beyond. In the video, Jon shows off a couple of his favorite machines, like the 1957 Blackstone B250 washer and dryer and a Bendix washer from 1938. “These have personality,” he says of his 22 machines. Actually, the group may want to check out the laundry machines in my apartment; I think they qualify as relics.
It’s definitely cool to see some of the old machines in action, still foaming and frothing away, decades later. (There are neat photo galleries of some of the collections, too.) It’s equally enjoyable to see people get giddy over some people’s least favorite chore.
“Because there are so many different schemes of washing and so little documentation available from the period when the washing machines actually came into being, the question of who invented the washing machine defies answer,” writes Lee M. Maxwell in Save Womens Lives: History of Washing Machines. (The start of the title comes from a grammatically questionable imploration stamped on a 1907 washing machine wringer.)
While we may never know who invented the washing machine, at least there are 3,000 options available for anyone who wants to see the evolution of the appliance over the past 100 years or so.