I was thinking today about laundry – and the fact that my apartment has a free washer and dryer in the basement. I’ve lived in other places where there was pay laundry in the building but I would always go to the local laundromat instead. I like laundromats because they create a sense of community and they’re slightly more efficient than home washers and dryers (this could be argued). Still, nothing beats being able to just throw your dirty clothes into the washer in the basement, no quarters necessary, and come back an hour (or even a day) later to find them clean.
I’m not sure how laundry was done before washing machines were invented (I doubt it was a big concern). I have the image of Charlie from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” swishing around laundry in a vat of boiling water with what appeared to be a big wooden oar. According to this web site, people on sea voyages used to throw their laundry overboard and let it drag through the ocean. Interesting.