Have you ever used old gadgets that younger people have not even had access to? I will talk about some that I have used.
Can openers. I have used the old can openers that you punch into the top of the can and use the sharp blade to cut around the top to create the opening that allowed you to get the contents out. There were the punches that opened beer cans by pushing the point through and making a triangular hole to drink from. They were called church keys. They could also be used several times around a can to remove the lid but it was not easy to do. Then they invented a small opener that was placed at the top of a can and had a handle to twist. As you twisted the two attached parts slid together to fasten it on the can. By twisting the handle the opener would travel around the top of the can to open it. Later they made an opener with long handles that were squeezed which punctured the can. A wheel-type handle being turned moved the opener around the top of the can causing it to open. Both of the previous openers were especially hard for us lefties. And all of them left sharp lids that I cut myself with many times. Thank goodness for new electric openers that do not leave sharp edges.
Washboards are a wooden frame holding a corrugated metal piece. To wash your clothes you stood the washboard in the edge of a washtub filled with hot water. When the clothes (one piece at a time) were soapy you scrubbed them up and down on the washboard to mix the soap with the dirt so it will leave the clothes. Then you wring the water out by hand and drop the clothes into a tub of rinse water. Diapers get two rinse tubs. Again you wring the water out and put the clothes in a basket to take to the clothesline to be pinned up and dried by sun and air. There were wringers you could attach to the tubs and hand crank them to get more water from the clothes. They were clumsy and more trouble than they were useful. It was not unusual for the tubs to tip and spill when using the wringers.
Then came wringer washers. Electricity was a wonderful addition to doing laundry. The tub of the washer was filled with hot water and soap. There was an agitator in the tub that swished the clothes around in the soapy water. When the allotted time for washing was over you turned off the agitator and put the clothes through the electrically operated wringer into a tub of rinsed water. Often the wringer was rotated to wring rinsed clothes to another rinse tub. Then the clothes were put through the wringer again . With the water wrung out the clothes fell into a basket and were taken to the line to dry.
Clothes did not dry with no wrinkles. They had to be ironed. When they came off the line clothes to be ironed were sprinkled with water and rolled to evenly distribute the moisture. Ironing day was also an all day affair. The first irons (besides hot rocks) were heated on the wood stove. They needed to be replaced often so there were often two heating while one was being used. Along came electricity and some nice person found a way to heat the iron that way. Eventually irons had dials to regulate the amount of heat. Next was an iron that sprayed steam on the clothes. No more sprinkling.
I was going to talk about wood stoves and cleaning rugs. I have run out of space. Next time. Do you have an odd gadget that you find interesting? Please share.