Brief HistoryBefore washing machines were invented, the only way people could get their clothes clean was by washing them in streams. This would involve beating them against rocks or rubbing them with abrasive materials and letting the stream wash the dirt off.
Primitive soap was used by some ancients, which was derived from animal fat.
In 1691, the first British patent was issued under the category of Washing and Wringing Machines.
However, it took until 1782 before a patent was issued to Henry Sidgiera for a rotating drum washer.
Mass production of electric washing machines began in 1906.
The first automatic washer was introduced by Bendix in 1937.
Modern Washing MachinesToday, washers come in two mains types. The top, most popular in the USA and Australia, and the front loader, most popular in Europe and the middle East.
The top loader has a vertical cylinder and clothes are loaded from a hinged door at the top. An agitator at the bottom of the cylinder provides the mechanical motion.
The front loader has a horizontal cylinder, called a drum, with the clothes being loaded through a door at the front. The clothes are moved by up paddles in the drum and then drop by gravity. This causes the cloth to flex and push water and soap through it.
In tests between the two models, front loaders came out on top, providing a more thorough wash, using less energy and water and causing less wear to the clothes
Washing machines use three types of energy to provide the best wash. Mechanical energy is supplied by the movement of the cylinder. Thermal energy is provided by an external boiler before the water enters the washer, and/or by an internal heater used to increase the temperature. Chemical energy is provided by the detergents added to the wash.