Working Women

Discussion in 'History & Geography' started by Kate Ellery, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. Kate Ellery

    Kate Ellery Veteran Member
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    IMG_2782.JPG IMG_2781.JPG I live in an area where Cornish people came to Australia to work in the copper mines .Mining ceased in this area 90 years ago. I volunteer in a very large museum dedicated to the hard times the miners faced ,coming to a small town with no fresh water .and very harsh conditions

    The town where I live in has about 4.000 residents with many other small, surrounding towns with about the same population .

    When the mines were operating our town had a population of 20.000 ,and the museum where I volunteer ,was the school and had 1300 children attending .

    Here is a picture of a machine a woman was lent if her husband was killed on the mines ,so she could make a living to feed herself and any children she may have ..This is in the museum where I volunteer
     
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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
  2. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    That is amazing, @Kate Ellery ! How did they heat the mangle ? Was there a firebox that we can't see from the front, or was there another way of heating it hot enough to iron sheets with ?
    It looks like it has a treadle wheel on it like the old-fashioned treadle sewing machines did. When my folks ran the old hotel in idaho, my mom washed all of the sheets in the basement, and used an old wringer washer. Once the sheets were washed, she hung them up to dry on the clotheslines that were strung across the basement, and when they were barely damp, then she would run them through the mangle to press them.
    Of course, the mangle that she used was electric and had a motor that pulled the sheets and pillowcases through the mangle; but it was still a lot of work. The furnace burned sawdust, and that is what heated the hot water for the hotel and also the radiators that kept the hotel warm in winter. Even in the summer,they sometimes used the furnace to keep the water hot because all of the workers who stayed there would come home and take hot showers, and the electric hot water tanks could not keep up with the water usage without using the furnace heat.
     
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  3. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Fascinating @Kate Ellery ...I have seen many of those in museums.


    Here's how the box mangle worked @Yvonne Smith . God help a widow who had no-one to help her operate it


    When I was a kid, we had a hand operated mangle which , my mum used to take the soaking wet sheets from the sink after boiling them in the gas boiler, (we had no washing machine)...and then wash them by hand on the scrubbing board in the sink along with out clothes, then fold the sheets and towels in half and then we kids would have to turn the handle of the mangle while she fed it through, 3, 4 or 5 times, to get as much water out of it as possible before she hung them up to dry on the kitchen 'pulley' which hung from the ceiling in the kitchen in the tenement where we lived .. and before we had house with a garden to hang washing out to dry all our washing was dried like this in the house, causing huge condensation problems ..


    a typical kitchen Pulley and mangle from my childhood......


    images.duckduckgopulley.com.png


    3162100_f520.jpg
     
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  4. Kate Ellery

    Kate Ellery Veteran Member
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    I will read a little more of the instructions next time I'm on duty out there @Yvonne Smith as I'm not sure how it actually worked to iron the sheets ,IMO. It was nothing short of slave labour .
    Boys as young as 10 also worked on the mines as "picky boys" ( picking through the mined rock to pick out any missed copper ) If they didn't attend school at night after working all day they were not paid their 6 pence a week
     
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  5. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Okay, I can see why I was confused, @Holly Saunders . This is another one of those words that is different for you than it is over here. What you call a mangle is what we called a wringer, and was part of the old washing machines that were also called wringer washers.
    A mangle over here is a kind of an iron, and it was used to iron sheets and other large pieces of bedding or even towels if they were being ironed.
    Having a wringer washer was certainly better than using a washboard !
    I remember when I was first married, and we didn't have a wash machine; I had to wash our clothes in a large tub with a washboard, and then we would wring them out by hand. I was not strong enough to wring out the heavy denim jeans; so my husband would help me wring those out, and then we hung them out to dry.
    If we didn't have a clothesline, then we laid them over the porch railing or wherever we could find to let them dry.
    Those clothes were hard as a board after drying that way, plus they were wrinkled and then they had to all be ironed.
    Washing was sure a big chore back in the old days !
    Here is a picture of an ironing mangle, similar to the one my mother used at the hotel for the sheets.
    IMG_0391.JPG
     
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  6. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    OOOh yes I remember the wringing by hand well @Yvonne Smith . I could never do it , I never had enough strength in my young hands, but my mum did, and she had muscles and strong fore-arms..she had to..as you will attest. Then the bigger items like the bedding and towels etc...had to be fed through the mangle.. (we called it a wringer eventually when we had a single tub washer with a wringer attached) Sometimes we had to wash sheets in the bath tub...and then mum and me would take and end each and twist and twist to try and get as much water out as possible before feeding them through the mangle

    I seem to remember seeing those Ironing Mangles in your picture...in Dry cleaners and tailoring shops when I was a kid.. Oh what luxury that would have been to have in the house :D
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I don't remember our having a manually cranked one, but mom had an electric washer with a wringer on it that we would help her with when she was doing the washing. It was kept outdoors and covered by some canvas between uses. She would do the wash in the large tub just below the wringer, and there was a place to connect a hose to it since the washer was not itself otherwise plumbed, After the washing, the soapy water would be drained onto the ground, and fresh water would be added through the hose for the rinsing. Then, we would run the clothes through the wringer and mom would hang it on the line. My older brother got his hand caught in the wringer once and had to be driven to the hospital, one of the few times any of us kids would see an actual doctor, so it must have been serious.
     
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  8. Kate Ellery

    Kate Ellery Veteran Member
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    I will double check the one in the museum ,but I believe it dates back to the mid 1800's
     
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  9. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Thanks for the info Kate, anything to do with mining interests me :)
     
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  10. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Here you go, @Patsy Faye , a picture of a little boy who started working in the mines when he was a tiny lad. I know that they used to use children for some of the jobs because they were small enough to get into places where adults couldn't go.
    I am not sure about this picture though. While it definitely looks old, it also looks posed, and the background doesn't apppear real; so this might just have been a boy dressed for a photograph for some reason.
    IMG_0392.JPG
     
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  11. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    @Yvonne Smith - It looks like a studio setting photo, I think its authentic though
    The boy is either giving a representation or he did work in the mines - I would say the picture
    is definitely old
    He may have wanted to look like Dad ! :)
     
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  12. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Seems I never hear of coal mines anymore but do know they exist...maybe they're safer conditions now because I haven't heard of any disasters in years!

    There used to be a lot and not that long ago.
     
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  13. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    The last big one here was a few years back, and it was a terrible tragedy. It was a while before they got down to the miners, everyone was there and crying and hoping that they would find them alive. I think they did find one miner alive, if I remember right, and somehow, the message was misunderstood, and everyone thought that they had found them all alive, and then people were crying for joy because they thought the rest of the miners were alive........ but they weren't.
    The rest were all dead, and the families were devastated twice over losing their loved ones, it was awful !
    It was all over the news, too, and people everywhere were following the story and when we heard over the radio that they had been found alive, all of the people that were listening were rejoicing that the miners were alive. Then, within the next hour, we heard the truth that they had been all found, but not alive.
    I think that mine disasters are so terrible for the family, and sometimes they stand outside the mine and wait for days before there is any news, just like happened with that one a few years ago. I think it was in Virginia; but I don't remember for sure, and I don't even remember whether the one miner survived that they did find alive, although I think that he did but had brain damage.
     
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  14. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Virginia is the last one I remember.
     
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