Often we don’t have a really explicit idea of what we mean when we say “We’ve come a long way….”
For instance, 130 years ago doing the household laundry was a bona fide chore—it was hard work. Why? In 1886 a study estimated that “washing, boiling and rinsing a single load of laundry used about 50 gallons of water.”
So what? Think about it: in the days before indoor plumbing, somebody (think Mom and the kids) had to haul that water from some source outside the house, maybe a pump, maybe a well, maybe a nearby spring or waterway.
That’s 8-10 trips—or more—to haul enough water for the wash, almost enough water to fill an oil drum.
That’s just to do the white and light-colored stuff. Think about doing it again for the dark load.
Things did get better, but slowly. By 1940, roughly 40 percent of homes had heating (not from a fireplace or stove), about 60 percent had flush toilets indoors, 70 percent had water coming out of a tap inside the house and a whopping 80 percent had electricity.
Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.