Clothes Plunger

Clothes Plunger

This is an example of a clothes plunger, used to wash clothes before the invention of the washing machine. This simple device had a number of names that varied across region and country, such as “dolly plunger” or “possing stick.” The basic function of the device was simple: laundry soaking in the wash-tub was “plunged” with the metal clothes plunger in a process that utilized suction to drive the wash water through dirty clothing. Their function and operation do not appear in written sources until the late 20th-century, long after they had been rendered obsolete and an interest in traditional laundering methods began to excite feelings of nostalgia. This is because washing was such a routine and universal chore among women that it was simply all girls would learn this information from their mothers.

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