University of Nevada, Reno




Wash days and ice boxes

By Sylvia


SylviaA long time ago when washing machines were unknown and women had to scrub clothes on a scrub board, I remember very clearly that Monday was wash day. It was an all-day occurrence.

Tuesday was ironing day and an iron was two heavy irons that were placed on the flame of the stove to be heated enough for ironing. In order not to burn up the clothes, there was a pad you rubbed the iron on to get any soot or soil off the iron plate. Somehow the clothes got ironed without any mishaps.

I remember in 1929 my father got my Mom an electric iron. That was quite an occasion. Today every time I pass my washer and dryer, I pet them and make nice.

I also remember the ice box we had in the kitchen that had to be fitted with ice to keep food cold. Every night we had to remove the pan under the ice box that held the melted ice and if we forgot, by morning we had to clean up a small flood. Every other day we would go to the ice barn to get fresh ice


However, in the winter, everyone had a window box where food was kept also. The ice box in the house was not that large, which accounted for daily shopping.

There was the grocery store, the green grocer, the butter and egg store, the butcher, the drug store and the shoemaker. Consequently, you got to know many people who, if they didn’t see you every day, would check to see if you were OK. That was how people were then. If you got something in your eye, you would go to the drug store, and the pharmacist would remove whatever was in your eye and never charge you for it.

Can you imagine how elated we were when we got an electric refrigerator? This was an advanced model without the round motor on top. We knew we no longer had to deal with the bowl under the ice box. This was progress.


Continue This Story