Household Arts in the 1850s: Laundry (Drying)

Hanging Clothes out to Dry in the 1850s

Melanie wrote to ask to ask what people used for clothes lines and pins in the 1850s, so we thought we’d share some information and photos about clothes drying methods from years gone by.

After washing clothes, those who had them, would wring their clothes out by running them through a mangle.  This would remove excess water, but still leave the clothes very damp.

The very wealthy may have the luxury of a drying room, perhaps just a cupboard next to the chimney.  But for post people it would have been the sun and wind that dried their clothes, or perhaps hanging them in front of the fire after a wet day.


Wooden Dolly Pegs from the 1850s

Simple wooden pegs were used to attach clothes to a rope line.  The pegs also doubled as toys for children to use to make peg-dolls.  Some established houses would have a clothes line, others may string up the rope wherever they had space.


Simple 1850s Clothesline


A makeshift clothesline with wooden pegs.

We recently came across this good blog post comparing domestic habits from the past to today.

If there is a Household Art you would like to know more about, please leave a comment or contact us.

2 responses to “Household Arts in the 1850s: Laundry (Drying)

  1. Pingback: Household Arts of the 1850s: Ironing | Sovereign Hill Education

  2. Pingback: Spring Fashion « Western District Families

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