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Part 3: Towards Automation

Early washing machine manufacturers reduced labour and the muscle power required by a woman by electrifying washing and wringing. Despite the advantages of the electric washing machine over manual models, the housewife still supervised the machine to ensure the motor wouldn't burn out because of tangled clothes, filled and emptied the tub with water, engaged the wash action and passed wet garments individually through the wringer. The technological developments leading to the creation of the washing machine that filled, washed, spun and drained automatically, would occur over the next few decades.



Manufacturers claimed that their automatic washers liberated women from wash day drudgery. "Freedom for Canadian Housewives, Too," Bendix, c. 1949 (L25695)