The Bureau’s “Antique of the Week”, 2011

The Bureau’s “Antique of the Week”

Is Found at “Heart of Country”

This week’s Antique of the Week is a reminder of what homemaking was like a century ago.  It is an antique rocker clothes washing machine from the Rocking Washer Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  It is essentially a box mounted on rockers that is rocked back and forth using a handle attached to one end.

Agitation was supplied by the wave action when the washer box was rocked back and forth, and a lid on the top can be closed and latched to keep water from splashing out.  The box has metal stops that can be rotated into place to hold the box level while water and clothes are being put into the washer.

The washer has a brown stain-and-varnish finish that appears to be original.  The name “Rocker Washer Company,” and a patent date of August 25, 1896, are stenciled on the box, along with a decorative geometric and stylized floral pattern.  With its warm finish and interesting design, the “Rocker” would serve nicely as a piece of decorative furniture.

Stop by “Heart of Country” to have a look for yourself.  (Thursday, September 22, 2011, p. 3)