So, as some of you may already know or have realized, I'm crazy about the everyday lives of those who lived in the 1930s and 40s. The small, seemingly insignificant things that were so normal then that they didn't both to record the meaning or process, yet we have almost lost it today. A good example of this is the simple act of getting dressed. There were many types of social rules as to the length of a woman's skirt for day wear, versus street or evening wear. This is something that The Painted Women writes about in depth in a recent post.
So, in flipping through my vintage magazines, I see a lot of these everyday things within advertising or the home editorials (none of which I can find now, when I need them, to scan in and show you all). Placing a metal tub within the kitchen sink to wash dishes. As a person who does not have a dish washing machine, this intrigued me. After seeing this over and over again, I wondered why this was a common practice during the 30s. I thought that perhaps they didn't have a way to stop the drain, but I realized this was silly as they took baths to wash themselves. So, I did some research and thought that you all might be interested in what I found. I will be breaking my findings into two posts: one will be about the why and what and the second post will be the how.
So now, why would they place a tub in their perfectly well-working sink to wash dishes? I mean, isn't the sink where one washes? Well, back in the day, the sink is where most of the washing water was coming from. So things like clothes and the dog were getting washed in the kitchen sink. Putting a tub within the sink was just a matter of hygiene to keep that dirt separate from what you eat food from. There is also the matter of frugality. Most sinks were made from porcelain and had one large bowl. For one to fill the entire large sink with water would be a waste, and what if the dishes hit that porcelain and cracked? Placing a metal tub in the sink would create a smaller soaking area, create a secondary area for clearing food bits off into, and would protect dishes from getting chipped. Ah, those clever housewives.
So then what was the housewife's technique for actually washing dishes back then? I'll break that all down for you next week along with what tools you need.