The washboard and tub are shown here with other washing day items like wooden tongs, carbolic soap and dolly pegs.
Before the invention of the washing machine, the washboard was a popular tool used when washing clothes. The woman doing the washing rubbed the clothes, with soap, up and down on the washboard's corrugated surface.
The washboard shown here is made from a frame of hardwood inlaid with corrugated glass panels. It is probably from the 1930s. Some washboards had panels made from corrugated zinc or iron, or were just plain wood. Washboards first began to be mass produced and affordable in the second half of the nineteenth century. They were sold in ironmongers from the 1860s. Homemade versions had been in use for some time.
A shallow, rectangular wooden tub was often used with the washboard as the board could be placed against its flat sides, and could rest on the bottom. Smaller items were washed like this although stubborn stains on larger items were scrubbed on the washboard before going into a larger tub. The tub shown here has a little shelf for the soap, and an extended base, which would prevent it from tipping over in a moment of extra-strenuous scrubbing!
Wooden Tub:Length:76cm Washboard:Length:56cm