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Date Range From
1906
Date Range To
1949
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, GLASS
Catalogue Number
P20160040000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1906
Date Range To
1949
Materials
WOOD, GLASS
No. Pieces
1
Height
7
Length
60.5
Width
30.2
Description
WASHBOARD WITH WOODEN FRAME AND A GREEN-TINTED GLASS GRATE. THE FRONT OF THE WASHBOARD HAS A RIDGE AT THE TOP – LIKELY USED FOR SUPPORT – WHICH IS APPROXIMATELY 6.7 CM DEEP. THE UPPER SECTION OF THE WASHBOARD IS WOODEN WITH SEVERELY FADED BLACK LETTERING THAT READS “MANUFACTURED BY…” THERE IS A CURVED STRIP OF WOOD ACROSS THE BOTTOM OF THE UPPER SECTION AND ANOTHER WOODEN PIECE BELOW THAT WITH THREE RIDGES. THE GLASS HAS A HORIZONTAL GRATE AND IS TEXTURED. THERE IS A HORIZONTAL WOODEN PIECE OF WOOD SUPPORTING THE GLASS AT ITS BASE. THE SIDES OF THE WOODEN FRAME EXTEND ABOUT 13.5 CM BEYOND THE GLASS TO ACT AS THE WASHBOARD’S LEGS. ON THE BACK THERE IS A FLAT PIECE OF WOOD NAILED TO THE FRAME ON THE UPPER SECTION. THE BRAND’S STAMP ON THIS BOARD IS FADED. THERE ARE SEVERELY FADED RED LETTERS AT THE UPPER SECTION OF THIS BOARD WITH A WORD SPECULATED TO BEGIN WITH THE LETTER “E”. UNDERNEATH THE RED INK LETTERS IS “MANUFACTURED BY THE CANADIAN WOODENWARE CO. WINNIPEG ST. THOMAS MONTREAL” STAMPED IN BLACK INK. THE NAILS AROUND THE PERIMETER OF THIS UPPER BOARD VARY IN SIZES. THE BACK SIDE OF THE GLASS GRATE IS SMOOTH. GOOD CONDITION. THERE IS REMNANTS OF SOAP ACCUMULATING AT THE SIDES OF THE GLASS OF THE WASHBOARD. THERE IS SOAP SCUM RUNNING ALONG THE GLASS OF THE BACK OF THE GRATE. THE WOOD FRAME IS WORN AND ROUGH OVER THE GENERAL SURFACE, ESPECIALLY ON THE FRONT, UPPER SECTION. THERE IS A PART OF THE WOOD MISSING FROM THE TOP LEFT OF THE RIDGE. THERE IS AN ACCRETION OF BEIGE PAINT ON THE BACK OF THE GLASS GRATE.
Subjects
MAINTENANCE T&E
Historical Association
DOMESTIC
History
THIS WASHBOARD CAME TO THE MUSEUM FROM DONOR, LOUISE VERES, WHO RECALLED ITS USE BY HER MOTHER, HELEN LUCILLE BORGGARD (NEE SORGARD). IN AN EMAIL SENT IN NOVEMBER 2016 TO COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN, LOUISE WROTE OF THE ARTIFACT’S HISTORY AND THE PROCESS OF WASHING CLOTHING BEFORE THE EXISTENCE OF AUTOMATED WASHING MACHINES: “DURING THE FIRST PART OF THE 1900[S], MONDAY WAS ALWAYS CONSIDERED WASH DAY IN OUR FAMILY. WHEN MY GRANDMOTHER CAME TO CANADA IN 1906 AND WHEN MY MOM WAS FIRST MARRIED IN 1934 CLOTHES HAD TO BE WASHED BY HAND. FOR THIS CHORE THEY HAD TWO BIG GALVANIZED TUBS. ONE TUB HAD HOME MADE LYE SOAP ADDED FOR WASHING THE DIRTY CLOTHES AND ONE WITHOUT SOAP FOR RINSING TO GET THE SOAP OUT. THE TUBS WERE SET ON A BENCH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE KITCHEN CLOSE TO THE STOVE WHERE THE WATER WAS HEATED IN BUCKETS. IF THERE WERE DIRTY COLLARS OR SOILED KNEES THEY WERE SCRUBBED ON THIS WASHBOARD AND IF THERE WAS GREASE ON CLOTHES, LARD WAS APPLIED TO THE GREASE AND THEN THAT SOILED AREA WAS VIGOROUSLY RUBBED OVER THE WASHBOARD. THE ARTICLE WAS SWISHED AROUND IN THE SOAPY WATER AND PUT THROUGH THE WRINGER THAT SAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STAND. IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE A WRINGER YOU WRUNG AS MUCH WATER AS YOU COULD BY HAND. THE CLOTHES DROPPED INTO THE OTHER TUB THAT HAD CLEAR, COLD RINSE WATER IN IT. THEN YOU PUT THE RINSED CLOTHES THROUGH THE WRINGER, CAUGHT THEM, GAVE THEM A GOOD SHAKE, PUT THEM IN A WICKER BASKET AND CARRIED THE WASHED CLOTHES OUTSIDE AND HUNG THEM ON THE CLOTHES LINES. THE CLOTHES WERE CLIPPED ON THE LINE WITH WOODEN CLOTHES PEGS. SOMETIMES MOM USED A PRODUCT CALLED BLUING THAT WAS PUT INTO THE RINSE WATER, THE BLUING WAS TO MAKE THE WHITES SEEM EXTRA WHITE ALTHOUGH WHEN YOU HUNG THEM OUTSIDE TO DRY BY SUN THEY WOULD GET BLEACHED AND WERE WHITER THAN WHITE. I SUSPECT THEY WERE WHITER THAN MOST WHITE CLOTHES TODAY. IN THE WINTER, OR IF THERE WAS BAD WEATHER, SHE WOULD HANG THE WET CLOTHES AROUND THE HOUSE ON ANYTHING THAT WOULD GIVE THEM AIR AND A CHANCE TO DRY. IF SHE HUNG THEM OUT AND THE WIND CAME UP THEY WOULD SOMETIMES LOOSEN THEMSELVES FROM THE CLOTHES PINS AND FALL INTO THE DIRT OR GRASS THAT LAY UNDERNEATH. THEN THEY WOULD HAVE TO BE REWASHED. YOU HAD TO BE EXTRA CAREFUL IN THE WINTER WHEN HANGING CLOTHES OUTSIDE. SOMETIMES A COLD WIND WOULD BLOW IN AND YOUR FROZEN CLOTHES ON THE LINE WOULD CRACK OR BE SHREDDED, PERHAPS DOWN THE MIDDLE OF SHIRTS OR SHEETS. IF YOU WERE GOING AWAY FOR THE AFTERNOON YOU USUALLY TOOK THE CLOTHES OFF THE LINE FIRST, EVEN IF THEY WEREN’T DRY. THIS WAS ALL VERY TIME CONSUMING, BUT IT WORKED. THE CLOTHES SMELLED INTOXICATINGLY WONDERFUL WHEN THEY CAME IN OFF THE LINE AND IF THEY STILL WEREN’T DRY YOU HUNG THEM ON LINES IN THE HOUSE. THEN MOM GOT HER FIRST WASHING MACHINE. IT HAD AN ELECTRIC MOTOR ATTACHED AND IT WOULD AGITATE THE CLOTHES IN THE WATER, THEN YOU COULD WRING THE CLOTHES OUT WITH WRINGER AND THEY WOULD FALL INTO A TUB OF COLD RISE WATER. YOU WOULD AGITATE THEM AROUND BY HAND TO RINSE THEM AND PUT THEM THROUGH THE WRINGER AGAIN. THAT PROCESS SEEMED LIKE A PIECE OF CAKE AS IT GOT MUCH MORE OF THE WATER OUT. THAT PROGRESSED TO AN AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINE YOU PLUGGED INTO AN ELECTRIC CIRCUIT AND YOU SIMPLY DID IT THE WAY WE ARE USED TO TODAY. YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED AT THE TIME IT TOOK TO WASH AND DRY THE CLOTHES BEFORE THE NEW AUTOMATIC WASHERS WE USE TODAY CAME INTO EXISTENCE.” IN ADDITION TO THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY VERES IN THE EMAIL REFERRED TO ABOVE, SHE WAS INTERVIEWED BY MACLEAN AT THE TIME OF DONATION (NOVEMBER 2016). THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM THAT INTERVIEW: “MY FIRST NAME IS MARJORIE… BUT I GO BY MY SECOND NAME, WHICH IS LOUISE… I WAS BORN IN 1938.” “MY MOM’S NAME IS HELEN LUCILLE BORGGARD, AND HER MARRIED NAME WAS SORGARD… SORGARD IS NORWEGIAN, AND BORGGARD IS DANISH… MY MOTHER TOOK [THE WASHBOARD] OVER FROM MY GRANDMOTHER. MY GRANDMOTHER AND MY GRANDFATHER CAME IN 1906. THEY USED THE WASHBOARD AND THEN THEY GAVE IT TO HER. THEY HAD 10 CHILDREN. I’M SURE IT WAS WELL-USED. MY MOTHER MARRIED IN 1935 AND SHE TOOK THE WASHBOARD AND USED IT UNTIL 1949 WHEN WE MOVED FROM THE FARM TO GRASSY LAKE IN TURIN AND IRON SPRINGS. SHE FINALLY HAD ELECTRICITY AND RUNNING WATER, AND UP TO THAT POINT IT WAS 'PACK YOUR OWN WATER IN A BUCKET AND HEAT IT ON THE STOVE.' AND, SOMETIMES, WRING THE CLOTHES OUT. THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY MODERN CONVENIENCE AT ALL. [FOLLOWING THESE MODERN CONVENIENCES,] THE WASHBOARD WAS PUT IN A BACK ROOM, BUT IT WAS KEPT. THEN THEY MOVED TO RIONDEL, B.C., AND THEY GAVE ME THE WASHBOARD…” “[T]HE WASHBOARD HAS A LOT OF MEMORIES FOR ME, I GUESS MAINLY BECAUSE WE USED IT EVERY MONDAY. WE WASHED OUR CLOTHES, AND WHEN THEY WERE DIRTY, WE SCRUBBED THEM ON THIS WASHBOARD… IT REALLY WORKED WELL. I GUESS IT’S BECAUSE MY MOM WORKED REALLY HARD.” “I’VE PROBABLY HAD IT FOR 35 YEARS. MY MOTHER DIED 4 YEARS AGO AT 98 [YEARS]. I’M IN A FAMILY OF 4 CHILDREN, AND 3 OF THEM WERE BOYS, AND THEY WEREN’T TOO INTERESTED IN THE WASHBOARD, BUT IT JUST SEEMED LIKE IT WAS PART OF THE FAMILY AND IT DESERVED A HOME… I KNOW I DON’T WASH CLOTHES LIKE THAT ANYMORE. WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT [YOU CAN] SEE THE MARKS FROM THE LYE SOAP THAT WAS USED WHEN THEY SCRUBBED ON THE BOARD, AND THE USE THAT IT’S GONE THROUGH. YOU CAN TELL THAT IT HAS BEEN MENDED, BUT IT’S STILL IN REALLY GOOD SHAPE. I JUST THOUGHT THAT I WANTED IT QUITE BADLY [AND] I GOT IT.” SHE CONTINUED TO RECOUNT HER MEMORIES OF THE WASHBOARD, “I GUESS MOST WHAT I REMEMBER IS THE STOVE - HAVING THESE BUCKETS OF WATER ON THEM BEING HEATED FOR WASHING THE CLOTHES. THIS WATER HAD TO BE PACKED BY BUCKET FROM THE CISTERN. THEN THERE WERE TWO BIG GALVANIZED TUBS [THAT] SAT ON A BENCH. ON ONE SIDE SHE PUT LYE SOAP IN IT AND SHE SWISHED IT AROUND. WHEN SHE SAW SOME SOILS, SHE WOULD RUN THE CLOTHES OVER THE WASHBOARD AND THEY WOULD COME OUT REALLY CLEAN. THEN SHE WOULD PUT THE CLOTHES INTO THE RINSE WATER AND IT HAD BLUING IN IT. THAT WAS FOR THE WHITE CLOTHES, AT LEAST. THAT WAS COLD WATER, THOUGH. THEN THEY HAD TO PACK ALL THIS WATER OUT ... TO FEED THE PIGS BECAUSE WE DIDN’T HAVE VERY MUCH WATER. NO ONE HAD VERY MUCH WATER. WATER WAS A REALLY VALUABLE COMMODITY. THE WASHBOARD WAS HOW WE KEPT UP WITH CLEAN CLOTHES.” WHEN ASKED IF SHE HAD A ROLE IN THE LAUNDRY PROCESS AS A CHILD, VERES EXPLAINED, “NO. IF [MOM] HAD WATER ON THE STOVE, I WASN’T ALLOWED CLOSE. AT 10, I WAS TOO SMALL TO BE HELPING VERY MUCH, BUT I DO REMEMBER HER DOING THIS. THEN YOU TOOK THE CLOTHES OUT TO THE CLOTHES LINE; HUNG IT ON THE CLOTHES LINE WITH CLIPS OR PINS. SOMETIMES THE WIND WOULD COME UP IN THE SUMMER AND THE CLOTHES WOULD BLOW, AND THEY WOULD FALL ONTO THE GROUND, INTO THE DIRT, OR THE GRASS, AND SHE’D HAVE TO PICK THEM UP, BRING THEM BACK INTO THE HOUSE; SHAKE ALL THE DIRT OFF AND WASH THEM ALL OVER AGAIN. IN THE WINTER, WHEN SHE HUNG THEM ON THE LINE PERHAPS IT WAS A CHINOOK AND A NICE DAY. BUT, IF IT TURNED COLD, THE CLOTHES FROZE BEFORE THEY DRIED ON THE LINE. THEY WOULD BE FLAPPING AWAY, BUT THEY WOULD CRACK AND BREAK. THE SHIRTS WOULD CRACK DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE BACK AND BE SHREDDED, AND THE SHEETS WOULD BE SHREDDED, AND THERE WASN’T MONEY TO BUY ANYMORE. YOU HAD TO BE VERY CAREFUL. BEFORE YOU WENT TO TOWN. YOU’D TAKE THEM OFF, EVEN IF THEY WERE STILL WET, AND MAYBE DRY THEM IN THE HOUSE ON ANOTHER LINE. IT WASN’T AN EASY CHORE AND THIS HAPPENED EVERY MONDAY. THEN YOU IRONED THEM WITH THESE BIG FLAT IRONS…” VERES THEN BEGAN TO TALK ABOUT HER FAMILY’S EARLIER HISTORY: “MY GRANDMOTHER, AGNES NANCY SORGARD, WAS A MATTHEWS… BORN IN INDIANA. HER MOM AND DAD HAD COME FROM IRELAND [AND] HAD A HOMESTEAD IN NORTH DAKOTA, AND [IT] WAS NEXT TO WHERE MY GRANDFATHER WAS [WHERE] THEY MET. HE WAS FROM NORWAY... THEY MARRIED, HAD 3 CHILDREN THERE, [THEN] CAME TO ALBERTA.” VERES WAS TOLD THAT THE WASHBOARD FIRST BELONGED TO HER GRANDMOTHER. “MY GRANDMOTHER, AFTER MY MOM MARRIED, PROBABLY HAD A WASHING MACHINE THAT WAS RUN BY KEROSENE. SO SHE PROBABLY DIDN’T NEED [THE WASHBOARD] ANYMORE. IF YOU HAD A FAIRLY DECENT WRINGER, YOU COULD WRING THE WATER OUT OF THE CLOTHES AND A LOT OF THE SOILED PART WOULD COME OUT. MY GRANDPA PROBABLY WASN’T FARMING AS MUCH THEN, AND WE ENDED UP WITH [THE WASHBOARD], SO THAT WAS GOOD.” THE DONOR’S MOTHER, LUCILLE (SORGARD) BORGGARD, CONTRIBUTED TO THE FAMILY HISTORY BOOK TITLED, “IT’S A LONG WAY FROM KILLYCOLPY: A HISTORY OF THE MATTHEWS FAMILY”. THIS WRITTEN ACCOUNT OF BORGGARD’S HISTORY ILLUSTRATES HER OWN HARD WORK THAT HER DAUGHTER RECALLED. IN THE HISTORY BORGGARD WROTE, “I WAS BORN ON FEBRUARY 4, 1914 TO GEORGE AND AGNES SORGARD, THE SEVENTH CHILD IN A FAMILY OF TEN. MY FAMILY HAD COME FROM MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA IN 1907 TO HOMESTEAD IN THE TURIN DISTRICT. AFTER FARMING IN TURIN FOR SEVERAL YEARS MY DAD SOLD HIS HOMESTEAD TO THE JOHN KOENEN FAMILY AND MOVED TO A SMALL RANCH ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE LITTLE BOW RIVER WHERE THEY LIVED UNTIL 1916. IN THE SPRING THE RIVER WOULD OVER-RUN ITS BANKS MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE CHILDREN TO GO TO SCHOOL SO MY DAD BUILT A HOUSE ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE RIVER WHERE WE LIVED UNTIL 1927... IN 1928, WE MOVED FROM THE HOME BY OUR BELOVED RIVER TO A FARM TWO MILES NORTH OF IRON SPRINGS.” “I WORKED AT HOME AND MY SISTER CARRIE AND I COOKED ON MY DAD’S COOK-CAR DURING THE HARVEST. THEY WERE LONG DAYS, RISING AT FOUR THIRTY FOR AN EARLY BREAKFAST AND WE DID NOT GET TO BED TILL TEN O’CLOCK. WE HAD TO MAKE BREAD AND DO ALL THE BAKING. WE MOVED FROM FARM TO FARM DOING ALL THE THRESHING IN THE DISTRICT FOR THE FARMERS…” ACCORDING TO HER OBITUARY IN THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD, HELEN LUCILLE BORGGARD PASSED AWAY ON JUNE 13, 2012. HER OBITUARY STATES HER HUSBAND CLARENCE PASSED AWAY IN 1994. PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, FAMILY HISTORY, AND OBITUARY.
Catalogue Number
P20160040000
Acquisition Date
2016-11
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail