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The Evolutionary History of Washing Machines

For over a century, the washing machine has followed the trends of the times, undergoing numerous innovations and improvements. Today, we see a variety of beautifully designed washing machines with either a drum or agitator, which have evolved slowly throughout history.

The world's first washing machine was made in 1858 by American Hamilton Smith in Pittsburgh. The main component of this washing machine was a round barrel with a straight shaft fitted with paddle-shaped leaves, which was turned by rocking the shaft with a connected crank. That same year, Smith obtained a patent for this invention. However, this washing machine was difficult to use and damaged clothes, so it was not widely used, but it marked the beginning of machine washing. The following year, a washing machine appeared in Germany that used a pounding stick as a stirrer. When the pounding stick moved up and down, wooden pegs with springs installed on them acted continuously on the clothes.

In 1874, the era of "hand washing" was challenged like never before when American Bill Black's invented a wooden hand-cranked washing machine. The construction of Black's washing machine was extremely simple. Six blades were installed in a wooden barrel, which was turned by a handle and gear to flip the clothes in the barrel, thus achieving the goal of "clean clothes".

In 1880, a steam-powered washing machine was invented in America, marking the beginning of steam power replacing human power. After that, hydraulic washing machines and internal combustion engine washing machines also came into being. The hydraulic washing machine included a washing cylinder, a power source, and a connecting part with the ship, which did not require any electricity but used the natural power of river water to wash clothes, solving the problem of doing laundry on the ship, saving time and reducing housework intensity.

In 1910, American Fisher successfully produced the world's first electric washing machine in Chicago. The advent of the electric washing machine marked the beginning of home automation for human household work.

In 1922, the Maytag Company in the United States reconstructed the washing structure of washing machines, changing the drag-type into an agitator-type, which fixed the structure of the washing machine and led to the birth of the first agitator washing machine. This washing machine had a vertical shaft in the center of the barrel with an agitator wing attached to the lower end of the shaft. The electric motor drove the vertical shaft, swinging periodically back-and-forth, enabling the clothes and water to keep tumbling and rubbing against each other to wash away dirt. The agitator washing machine had a scientific and reasonable structure, and was widely welcomed by people.

In 1932, the United States' Bendix Aviation Corporation announced that they had successfully developed the first front-loading drum washing machine, which completed the washing, rinsing, and dehydration processes within the same drum. This meant that the type of electric washing machine had taken a leap forward in terms of automation.

With the acceleration of industrialization, countries around the world have also accelerated the pace of washing machine development. The United Kingdom was the first to develop and launch a jet washing machine, which uses a strong vortex produced by the rotating impeller on one side of the barrel to tumble the clothes and washing liquid together in the drum to clean the clothes. In 1955, based on the introduction of the British jet washing machine, Japan developed its own uniquely designed and popular wave wheel washing machine that is still popular today.

Thus, in the field of washing machine production, there is a preliminary domination of agitator-type, drum-type, and wave wheel-type washing machines. With the further development of technology, the emergence of new types of washing machines has also brought new lifestyles to people.

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