Earlier we looked at a human-powered laundry object, the Breathing Mobile Washer. Here we see how the Shakers tackled this, with this object in the collection of the Shaker Museum:
"Simple but sophisticated mechanism for a washing machine operated by hand. Mechanism constructed of cast iron and various species of wood. The operating handle and vertical supports are oak, the hanger dowel is beech, and the hangers and agitator assemblies are white pine."
"By rocking the handle or lever up and down, the iron shaft is rotated back and forth. This reciprocating motion is transferred to the two agitators by wheels held by projections from the shaft, one above and one below, which are housed in openings in the pine agitator hangers fitted with iron liners. As the wheels move back and forth along their arcuate path, the agitators are forced to swing back and forth in directions opposite each other."
I understand why they chose strong, robust oak and beech for the uprights and dowels, respectively, but the choice of white pine for the agitators puzzled me; maybe for the light weight? Pine is also the easiest to work, so perhaps the agitators are the parts that wear most quickly and need to be replaced most often. I'm also curious as to what type of oil they sealed the pine with to protect it, but the museum doesn't say.
Also note: The object shown here is only the agitator. The museum does not have the attendant tub it would have been placed inside.