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Hand Operated Lightburn Washing Machine

Object Number: R01047

This very basic hand-operated washing machine dates from the late 1940s and was made by Lightburn & Company in Adelaide, South Australia.  Lightburn was an engineering manufacturer that made a range of reliable small machines and appliances, and was famous for their cement mixers. It is not surprising then, that their washing machines looked like cement mixers. In fact, the bowl of this washing machine is the same one used on the 2.2 cubic foot cement mixer, with the addition of a water drain hole and plug at the bottom. This machine, intended for farm and country use where electric power was still not available, was the ultimate of reliability, having only one moving part. Also apparent is the fact that it was intended for use in an outdoor laundry, as the wastewater drained directly out onto the floor. It is a very rare example of a hand-operated washing machine from a time when more sophisticated power operated machines were becoming readily available. This machine was donated in 1981.