Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Primitive laundry

While I have a firm appreciation of old, proven designs I am also aware that things can be improved upon.  Examples include disease resistant apple cultivars, "rocket" stoves and pivot pole laundry.

If any of my readers can help me out, I want to be able to properly attribute the pivot pole laundry but I was not able to find the inventor via Google.

Best told with pictures

Dirty clothing in a mesh or netting bag.  The bag relaxes and allows soapy (or rinse) water to infiltrate dirty clothing.

Free end of pivot pole is pushed down, lifting bag out of wash water.  Soapy (or rinse) water exfiltrates.  Wash water exits bag via gravity and constricting effect of the netting bag and drips back into tub, taking dirt with it.


Hey, mom, can I help?

Flipping the pendulum toward the pivot will cause the bag to drop into the tub.  Flipping the pendulum away from the pivot will lift the bag out of the water.
An inverted pendulum can be used if there is a shortage of children.

There is no reason a laundry business could not have an assembly line with twenty of these teeter-totters.  The left end of the pivot pole has a hook on it.  Bags of dirty laundry progressing from soapy water through successive rinses. 

Tubs of water could move in the opposite direction.  The last rinse would be the cleanest "newest" water.  The rinse water would become progressively soapier and warmer as it moved from last rinse==>to==>first rinse.  The first rinse water could be heated and additional soap could be added to become the last "wash" tub.  That same water could keep moving in the opposite direction of the bags of laundry.  After a stint as "first" wash it could be tossed onto the garden.

"Low Tech" can be labor and resource efficient.  "Low Tech" can be elegant.


  1. Put them in a row and use a line shaft with big wood cams to drive the poles. Use some water , animal or steam power to drive the shaft. Or hook up a bike type drive. Rotary motion is more efficient than reciprocating motion.

    1. Those are excellent improvements!

      Another refinement that occurred to me would be to put 2" rings on the top and bottom of the mesh bag. Then, an 18"-to-24" long stick can be placed through the rings. The operator can clamp down the bottom by placing feet on both ends of one stick and then use their arms to twist the other stick to wring the maximum amount of water out of the clothing before moving it to the next tub.

      Great thoughts. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing.


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