Washing Machine and Combo History

The washing machine is said to be one of the greatest inventions of all times, especially in relation to the household appliance industry. Ever since man realized that clothing was a basic necessity, man also realized the need to keep clothing clean, whether for sanitary purposes or simply for re-usability. Man has come a long way since the olden days of hand-washing.

A quick glance at the washing today's machine industry will show that many technologies are now used to improve and enhance the laundering processes. This article will provide information on a variety of washing machine topics, including history, features, and the washing machine market today.

The history of the Washer Dryer Combo

The whole concept of the washing machine has evolved from the desire to make the washing process easier, faster, more effective, and more efficient. Before machines were invented to achieve these goals, washing was done primarily by hand.

The easiest way to clean clothes and other garments was basically to take them down to a body of water, where the clothes would be dunked into the water and scrubbed for cleaning. Different methods were used to improve cleaning, such as using find sand, rocks, or sticks to rub against or beat the dirt from the clothes.

Laundry on water and on land

When boats were invented for travel, another method of washing clothes became popular. Instead of going through the trouble of getting near the water to clean the clothes, dirty garments were packed into cloth bag, then thrown into the water.

As the boat traversed the seas, water was forced through the cloth, cleaning the garments inside the bag. The method was crude, but it worked well for seafarers and was used for centuries.

Back on land, people were distressed, since having to clean laundry by hand was (and still is) no easy task. Not only did it take time, but washing clothes was quite labor-intensive as well. Heating water, moving the water to basins, rubbing and wringing the clothes, and dealing with unrefined detergent were all part of the hand-washing system.

As though this weren't bad enough, the water-heavy clothes then had to be carried to a suitable place where they could be hung to dry. Seeing as most of these domestic chores were relegated to women, laundering garments was causing women pains, sicknesses, and fatigue. As a result, people started to look for ways to make the process easier by creating tools to ease the burden.

The introduction of laundering tools and simple machines

Some of the earliest tools used for washing garments included corrugated boards, basins, and sealed containers. These tools were basically used to help in the agitation process.

Instead of having to rub and wring the clothing completely by hand, the clothes could now be run across corrugated boards, washed around basins with paddles and fingers, or spun in enclosed containers that also had paddles and fingers along the sides. These early tools were primarily used during the early centuries until the first washing machines were manufactured.

One of the first types of laundry machines ever developed was the wringer, which is also referred to as the mangler. The wringer works much like a modern pasta making machine in the sense that the wringer had two rollers that were pressed closely together. The clothes would be placed in on one side of the rollers, then the rollers were cranked by hand, squeezing the clothes and wringing the water from them.

When wringers were first introduced, they were separate from the wash basin. The basin was often placed under the wringer so that the water being squeezed out of the clothes would fall into the basin for reusing or for disposal.

In the mid-1840s, the first washing machine design was patented in the United States. The machine combined the wringer and the basin into one machine. The wringer was fixed on top of the basin, which was often raised from the floor.

Although early washing machines, basins, and containers were crafted from wood, iron became a preferred material, because it allowed users to heat the water by stove or burner. These washing machines were still hand-operated, and it wasn't until the 1900s that the first motor-powered and electric-powered washers hit the market.

A move toward modernity

During the early 1900s, many efforts were made to improve on early washing machine designs. As steam- and gas-powered engines started to be used for various other purposes, inventors and innovators decided to try and make powered laundry machines that would require little labor and handwork.

The result was the first electric clothes washer, which was released in America approximately at the turn of the 20th century. Later, a motor-powered machine built from sheet metal, iron, and wood was invented.

Getting automated

As the washing machine industry took off, new designers, manufacturers, and innovators used various technologies to enhance the machine, eventually making it fully automated, like the washing machines of today. During the First and Second World War, many industries (including the washing machine industry) were put on hold to concentrate on manufacturing efforts toward producing armaments, machines, and tools for the wars.

This gave people time to start perfecting the design of the washing machine. In the 1940s, the first fully automated, electric washing machine was manufactured. As technologies continued to advance, washing machine designers and manufacturers found ways to use the technologies in their machines.

In the late 1970s, shortly after the invention of the first microprocessors, the first microprocessor-controlled washing machine was born. This allowed for great flexibility, functionality, and effectiveness in laundry machines.

Today, most of the washing machines in the market are microprocessor-controlled, making use of various sensors, systems, and mechanisms to automate the entire washing process. Some of the controls that can be found in modern washing machines include controls for water level, water temperature, spin speed, cycle program, load balancing, child lock systems, and noise reduction systems.

In fact, some washer dryer combination units automated the entire laundering process from washing to drying. The washing machine has surely made life easier for many people, and it is often considered an indispensable household appliance that has revolutionized laundering, households, and lifestyles.

A History Synopsis
of the Washing Machine

Modern life is somehow unthinkable without washing machines. And even if you can imagine it, you wouldn't want to go back to that time when you have to do your washing over a basin and with a washboard. But the washing machine did not come out as we know it today.

It also went through developments and enhancements over the centuries, reflecting the technological advances of the times. From manually operated washers to the electric and automated machines of today, washing machines have advanced so much in terms of function, efficiency, and convenience of use. All of these made washing machines indispensable to households at present times, and certainly in the future as well.


A design for a washing machine was published. The design was credited to Jacob Christian Schaffer from Germany.


This was the year that the first rotating washer was invented. A British patent was awarded to Henry Sidgier for this invention. It consisted of wooden paddles to agitate the clothes and water, and the machine was hand-operated.


The first washer design with an incorporated wringer was patented on this year. The patent was awarded to John E. Turnbull.


This year saw the first hand-powered washer with an incorporated drum. The device was invented by James King.


Hamilton Smith invented the first rotary washing machine that was also capable of reverse rotation. The machine was also hand-powered.


Washers with attached clothes wringers appeared on the market. In a way, you can call this the first washer-dryer combo.


Metal has replaced the wooden tubs of old models. Because of the developments in electricity and its application, this era would also bring about the first models powered by electric motors.

It was around this period that the first electric washing machine was invented. There are records that show that Louis Goldenberg invented the electric washing machine in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The patent may have been under Goldenberg or Ford Motor Company.


Alva J. Fisher created an electric washing machine. It's generally considered that he is the inventor of the first electric washing machine, though there are some records challenging this claim.


The Maytag Corporation (then Upton) started producing wringers powered by electric motors.


Maytag came up with washing machines designed with agitators. This design allowed water to go through the clothes, instead of the previous method where the clothes were dragged through the water through paddles to get the desired cleaning effect.


Motors are now designed inside the machine. Previously, motors were bolted on to the side of the machine. This made the motors susceptible to getting wet and suffering a short. Aside from affecting the machine's durability, it also exposed people to safety hazards.

Also during this period, John W. Chamberlain from Bendix Aviation introduced the first machine that can wash, rinse, and dry clothes in one cycle or operation. This started the trend for automatic washing machines.


The first top-loading automatic machines was introduced by the now Whirlpool Corporation. General Electric was also making a claim that it made a similar machine during this period.


This period saw several improvements when it came to washing machine technology. People enjoyed models that featured automatic and semi-automatic operation. Though the cost of the automatic models were quite considerable, the washing machine still gained popularity among households.

It was also during these times that the twin-tub design of washers that we see today was first introduced. This model presented one tub with an agitator for the cleaning and rinsing operations, and another tub for the tumble dry process. This setup reduced the costs of automatic washing machines, which also made it more accessible to the public and to almost every household.


During this time, microcontrollers were added to the washing machine design. These devices were more reliable compared to the dials and knobs of previous models, which then ensured the correct progression of the wash cycle. Because of its success, the knobs were now almost phased out and have been replaced with the microcontrollers.

2000 to present

With the technology that we have today, washers have also integrated some of those features, especially for digital and electronic technology. You can now find different washer models with LED displays and buttons for operation. You also have "smart" washers that have minicomputers and sensors that makes the whole washing process faster and easier.

Another important thing to note about the washers of today is the consciousness toward energy efficiency and being environment friendly. Due to the demand that washers and appliances do what they're supposed to do at the fraction of the energy spent, washers of today are more and more being energy efficient. Washers today use less electricity to run the machine and also to set the water at right temperature levels. Through the use of insulating materials and efficient thermostats, there is less waste in terms of electricity or gas consumption.

Energy efficiency is not just limited to electricity consumption. Included in this is water and detergent consumption. In the case of modern washers, "less is more" is the principle. You can now find several new technologies that improve upon old ones especially in terms of water consumption. For example, you have machines that use steam to wash clothes, and washers that use 30% less water compared with older models.

Aside from those developments in terms of function, there are other added features when it comes to convenience. New models feature noise-reduction and decreased vibration during operation. These are perfect for urban city dwellers as people who live in apartments need quiet machines so as to not disturb neighbors. For parents and pet owners, there's the anti-child lock where the settings are locked after a certain number of minutes. This prevents children and pets from accidentally opening the washer cover and toppling over inside the tub. Washer size and design of today are also becoming more sleek, stylish, and modern.

A History Synopsis of the Dryer

If you ask about some of the most essential home appliances, you know that dryers would be part of that list. The convenience of having your clothes dried just after washing them is something that one can really get used to. Because of the availability and accessibility of these appliances, clotheslines and clothes pins have become a thing of the past for most of us. Why wait for the sun to dry your clothes when you have a dryer handy at home?

Dryers also go way back, as long as washers have been. The interesting thing is that the basic concept of clothes-drying has been the same until now. You have a drum with ventilation holes for the clothes to be dried with from a heat source. Though made more effective and efficient today due to advances in technology, the foundational design of the dryer has not undergone much changes throughout the years.


As far as records go, the first dryer was created during this period. Credit goes to M. Pochon from France. The first models of the dryers were also called "ventilators." The first dryers featured a metal drum with vents on them, and were placed over a fire to have the clothes dried. The machine has a crank that one has to turn manually, pretty much like a rotisserie.

The idea seemed right and simple. The only problem was, as you can gather, the clothes would end up smelling like smoke. And that was the least of your concern. Other concerns were that the clothes would get sooty, which would make washing the clothes in the first place pretty much pointless; and that there were times that the clothes would catch fire and eventually burn. It was a nice idea, but the execution of the idea would need some more work.


In this year, the first patent for a dryer was given to George T. Simpson. There were several improvements that can be seen on Simpson's model. It featured a rack for the clothes, and the heat source was from a stove, rather than from an open fire. That took care of some of the difficulties presented by the previous model of the dryer. The patent for his invention was dated June 7, 1982.


Electric dryers were available to the market at this time. The only problem was that the prices of such appliances at the time were prohibitive. You need to pay a lot of money to enjoy the advantage of having an electric dryer.


The Hamilton Manufacturing Company started selling automatic clothes dryers from the invention of J. Ross Moore. Moore developed a dryer model that has the drum shape that we're all familiar with today. Moore also made gas and electricity-powered models. On its debut, the model was marketed under the name "June Day."


This period saw the rise in sales for electric dryers. During these times, the dryer has become more affordable and practical. You can attribute this to the competition between brands in the dryer market, and also the growing need of many households for dryers.


This year saw some very good additions to the clothes dryer. Dryers during this time came out with controls moved to the front, the inclusion of a timer, the addition of an exhaust for moisture from the drying process, a cool-down cycle, and temperature controls. One can say that as early as this year, you could find the beginnings of the features of the dryers that we see today.


This is the year that the negative pressure dryer debuted. Aside from that, the dimension of most models was 30-inch wide, so it can handle a pretty big load of laundry.


This year saw the introduction of the dryness sensor. What this sensor does is turn off the dryer once the clothes in the tub are determined to be dry. This feature saved people a lot of time and money in terms of energy bills.


On this year, dryer models with permanent press cycles were made available to the buying public.


From this point forward, electric starters could be found on gas-powered dryers. Pretty much, people were using the dryer as some kind of oven.


The feature added to dryers during this period were microelectronic controllers. These were meant to time and control drying cycles. Aside from the convenience, it also made for savings on energy bills.


Delayed starters for dryers first came out during this period. Delayed start timers are useful features for people who live in areas where the electricity and energy rates are cheaper during the nighttime or off-peak hours. This feature also allowed people to save on their energy bills.

Present dryers

During present times, the main drive for dryers is to be energy-efficient appliances. If it can do the job with less energy consumption, the better. There have been several manufacturers aiming for this ideal, not just because of government standards, but also because the market is heading toward buying "greener" machines. Aside from the environmental virtues, it also means more savings for the consumer, that's why people are opting to buy more green washers and dryers.

For present models, one can also find digital displays and LCD touchscreens for the controls. Added to those are the attention to detail when it comes to dryer settings. Since machine drying can damage and shrink fabric, you can now find several settings that are meant to diminish fabric damage during the drying process. With just a push of a button, the dryer will automatically set the drying time, temperature, and speed to take care of the fabric.

Another useful feature that you can find in modern models are the noise and vibration reduction features. As the names suggest, these added features allow for quieter dryer operation. You can also find that some dryers have self-adjusting suspension systems to prevent excessive shaking and maintain dryer stability. These features are attractive for people who live in apartments and condos.

Related Article:

Return From Washer Combo History to Washer Dryer Combo

Return From Washer Dryer History to Washing Machine Reviews

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