‘Universal’ electric washing machine with wringer, agitator type, metal, made by Landers, Frary & Clark, New Britain, Connecticut, USA, c. 1929.

Made by Landers, Frary and Clark in Connecticut, United States, North and Central America, c. 1929.

Throughout the 1800s and into the first half of the 1900s washing clothes was a laborious and time consuming weekly chore which took a full day to complete, usually on a Monday. This machine was certainly an improvement on the hard work of scrubbing clothes against a washboard in a tub but it still required a considerable amount of labour. This was to fill and empty the machine twice by hand, to wash, squeeze out and then rinse and remove the heavy wet washing, wring it out again and then hang i...


Washing machine, 'Universal', agitator type, with wringer, metal, Landers, Frary & Clark, USA, c. 1929.

'Universal' domestic electric agitator type washing machine and electric wringer.

Washing machine consists of a copper drum, supported on three legs of pressed iron sheeting which are attached to a ring around the base of the tub, extending up the sides to a ring band around the rim of the tub. Three shaft supports to the legs above bases are supported on castors. The tub is painted light green and over painted in reddish brown, the interior is lined with nickel. The motor is attached below the tub, with separate switch casing, hand spring lever and drainage cock. A rubber coated electric cord extends from the switch casing. A galvanised oscillating disc with four raised ridges, positioned at centre base inside the drum with copper tube above with galvanised screw top for removal. The electric wringer is positioned horizontally above the tub, swings on a side shaft, which extends to the motor below. Tinned iron feeder trays either side of two [rubber] rollers. The tension is maintained by an arched strip of iron above the rollers, with central wing nut on vertical threaded shaft used to apply pressure.


1130 mm
67 kg


The 'Universal' washing machine and wringer was made by Landers, Frary and Clark of New Britain, Connecticut, USA.

The washing machine was purchased c. 1929, probably from a Department Store in Sydney
Landers, Frary and Clark c. 1929


The donor's father purchased the washing machine for his mother c. 1929-1930 for approximately œ20. (The catalogue however prices the machine at œ30.) At the time of the purchase she had hand washed for a family of nine in wooden tubs on a washboard with a big mangle on a cast iron stand. The donor's father thought she was tired so bought her the 'Universal'. It was thought (by the donor) to have been purchased from a department store, Anthony Horderns or Grace Bros and brought to the house in a horse and cart from Wahroonga train station. 'The machine revolutionised her life.... we all stood around and watched it'. The machine saw heavy use in the house in Wahroonga and later when they moved to Redfern. The mother complained it was getting shabby and the donor's father probably repainted it around World War II. The washing machine ws replaced by another c 1946 but it was still working and remained in the laundry. In 1975, with the death of his father, the donor's family divided the contents of the house. The donor's two brother-in-laws were going to take it to the tip but the donor retrieved it because he saw it 'as part of my emotional life'. (Interview with the donor December 13th 1983.)
The washing machine was purchased c.1929-1930 in Sydney. It was replaced by a new machine in c. 1946. It was owned by the donor's family until acquired by the Powerhouse Museum in 1983.

Cite this Object

'Universal' electric washing machine with wringer, agitator type, metal, made by Landers, Frary & Clark, New Britain, Connecticut, USA, c. 1929. 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 21 November 2017, <https://ma.as/261827>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/261827 |title='Universal' electric washing machine with wringer, agitator type, metal, made by Landers, Frary & Clark, New Britain, Connecticut, USA, c. 1929. |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=21 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Store 5 at the Museums Discovery Centre.
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