Thanks + some descriptions I found
Posted by Carolyn B on July 21, 1998 at 22:05:30:
In response to Mangling boards, written by Tilde on July 20, 1998 at 07:05:56
]Wet the linen, beat it (stone on the bottom, linen on stone, mangling board beating away on the top), down into the water, back up on the stone, turning the fabric all ways and beating merrily (!?) on it with the board.
(I hope the description makes sense, if not, I'll try to rephrase it). But doing laundry this way was very heavy work indeed, literally beating the dirt out of the clothes, and it gives you an indication why most fine dresses were never washed (!), they would never survive it.
Actually that reminds me of a family story. When my parents lived overseas in Iran in the late 1950s, that was how their laundry was done by the local laundress. My mom once told me that when they moved and put clothing that had previously been beaten on a rock into a washing machine, the fabric just fell to pieces!
I just came across a description too in a book on "The Folk Arts of Norway" which says "There were the mangletroer, the long, flat, and highly decorated boards with a single handle, used to roll the wrinkles from linen cloth which had been wound on a round stick." This sort of falls in line with the description of mechanical mangles in the fancy English country houses of the 18th C. which wound clothes around smooth wooden cylinders. So the mangling board sounds like a handy all purpose laundry tool (and I expect it could be used on an obstinate husband too ; )
I had heard about the boards being used for wedding gifts. One of our guides said she had a Swedish family on tour who told her these were still traditional gifts today. I also came across a description of a Norwegian mangle being auctioned on-line at an antique dealer site (so don't know how true the story is). They said the suitor would give the mangle to the woman he wanted to marry but if she refused he could not give it to anyone else, thus giving rise to the phrase warning women, "Beware of the man with many mangles." (Never came across this one in any of my other sources, but what a great story!)
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