Would you like to scrub your clothes on a washboard in a bucket? How would you like to carry your dirty clothes and your linens to the nearby creek or river to wash them clean? People used a variety of methods to wash their clothes in different eras. The hard work of washing the laundry often fell on women in the household or in the community.
The first washing machine is a far cry from the modern washer. Early models made after the first washing machine were not much better, if at all, compared to later washing machines that manufacturers sold to consumers.
What did early versions of the washing machine look like when marketed to consumers? What were the dimensions of the first washing machines? Later inventors and manufacturers made changes that brought the washing machine into the modern age.
How wide are modern washers in most American homes? How tall are they, and what are the dimensions of today’s washing machines? Most people have questions about the dimensions of a washing machine prior to making a purchase.
History of the Washing Machine
Early washing machines were not simply earlier versions of the washers on the market today. The first “washing machine” was a scrub board that a person rubbed, or scrubbed, their laundry against to help clean their clothes. Do you remember grandma having a washboard with a frame made of wood, while the ribbed section to rub the clothes against was a metal surface?
The first washboards, invented in 1797, had no metal. They were completely made of wood.
You are likely not alone if you wonder how people of the time considered a washboard placed in a bucket of water to be a “washing machine.” Consider the earlier history of how people cleaned their laundry.
Ancient people pounded their laundry against rocks, or rubbed it with sand. They then rinsed the laundry in nearby streams or rivers. Some later methods of cleaning clothes and linens include boiling them in water, sometimes adding a bluing agent like indigo.
There are other methods used during the 18th century, although it is easy to wonder how anyone would want to wear “clean” clothing. The 17th Regiment of Infantry in America provides statements by women of the time, regarding their method of cleaning clothes. The site reveals statements from a woman of the day who had some laundry instructions.
She stated that to clean linen cloth, lay it in urine overnight. The next day, the person rubbed any dirty spots, using the urine, not water. Laying the item in urine for another night apparently removed some stains.
People in Colonial America were more likely to beat clothes and linen with a paddle and wash them in the local water sources. Boiling clothes in hot water was another method used before the invention of the washing machine.
The Washing Machine Upgrade and the Thor
American James King invented the first washing machine with a drum in 1851. Hamilton Smith, also American, received a patent for a similar machine in 1858.
Wringer-style washing machines required considerable work to operate the washer. The person had to run each item of clothing through the wringer placed over the tub, in order to squeeze the water out of the laundry.
Alva J. Fisher invented the Thor, a drum-type washing machine still used today. The invention helped to modernize washing machines. People who wanted a washing machine likely needed to know its dimensions.
Washing Machine Dimensions
The dimensions of a washing machine vary, based on several factors. What size and type of washing machine do you want in your home? Some considerations include where the washer goes in your home, and the space that you have for a washing machine.
Do you want to purchase a standard-sized washing machine, a stackable washer and dryer, or a high-efficiency, larger capacity washing machine?
Stackable Washing Machine Dimensions
Stackable washer and dryer combinations are an ideal option for people with limited space, such as for people who live in a condo or in an apartment. Some owners of this style of washing machine choose this option because they do not need a larger model.
Stackable washers vary, according to the particular style. One Whirlpool stackable washer and dryer features the washing machine on the bottom and the dryer on the top of the unit. The total dimensions are:
- Height: 74.25 inches
- Width: 23.88 inches
- Depth: 26.63 inches
- Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet
Stackable units have become even more compact in the past few years. You now have the opportunity to purchase a smaller product to wash your clothes by purchasing an all-in-one washing machine and dryer. The unit washes and dries your laundry in the same machine.
Rethority gives the example of the Deco high-efficiency ventless electric all-in-one washer dryer combo. The unit dimensions include a height of 33.5 inches, a width of 23.5 inches, a depth of 22 inches, and a capacity of 1.57 cubic feet.
Standard Washing Machine Dimensions
Standard washing machine dimensions provide the opportunity for people to have a washing machine in either a top-loading or a front-loading model.
Make sure that you check the dimensions of the particular brand and model to make sure that it fits in your home.
Whirlpool indicates that most standard top-loading washing machines are 39 inches tall, 27 inches wide. They range between 32 and 34 inches in depth.
Large Capacity Washing Machine Dimensions
Large capacity washing machines allow you to wash more clothes or to wash larger items, such as linens. One example of a larger capacity washing machine is one manufactured by LG.
The ultra large capacity washing machine has a capacity of 4.5 cubic feet. It features a height of 29 inches, a width of 32 inches, and a depth of 31.5 inches.
Always allow at least six inches behind your washing machine for the cord and space that you need between the wall and the machine. Maytag suggests measuring the space, allowing enough space for loading, clearance and hoses. Most people are likely to purchase a washing machine and a dryer. Make sure the space accommodates both appliances.