newfangled, adj.I don't suppose a new, modern washer can be classified as newfangled but it feels newfangled to me. Our old washer with a center post died a few weeks ago and we found ourselves shopping for a new one. I did some research online and we chose our new model based on the recommendations of several organizations and individuals.
1. newmade; formed with the affectation of novelty
2. disposed to change; inclined to novelties; given to new theories or fashions
Our new washer is bright, shiny -- and newfangled. It doesn't work like our old one. Our old washer worked like this: I pushed a knob, turned it, then pulled it back out and the water started running into the washer. If I changed my mind about water temperature or length of wash, I just turned the knob and the water temperature changed. With the lid open and the water running, I added the laundry soap and after a few more minutes, the clothes, then closed the lid and went about my other chores. I returned about 30 minutes later and removed the clothes, clean and fresh.
There's one other aspect of this washer that's a little frustrating: I'm not convinced it's getting our clothes and linens clean. It's a high-efficiency washer but thinking back, none of the recommendations and evaluations I read online commented on the cleanliness of the clothes. (Did you hear my little sigh?) There's no way to see what the washer's doing when it's running. Without a center post, how is it getting the clothes clean, I wonder. (I wonder this a lot.)
As I consider my situation with this new washer I'm imagining my foremothers and the newfangled methods of doing laundry they maneuvered through from their earliest years until their deaths. Perhaps not all of my foremothers dealt with laundry changes but certainly my mother and grandmother did.
|Courtesy of the Library of Congress|
|Library of Congress image|
When these new electric washing machines were first introduced did my grandmother wonder about their efficiency? Did she wonder if her clothes were really getting clean without the hands-on work of the old method? She may have but in the end she embraced the new, labor-saving methods.
Later Mom had an electric washer that was completely hands-off (except for putting the clothes into the washer and removing them when the rinse cycle was finished). It was much like our washer that died, one that was easy to use and old-fashioned (as opposed to newfangled -- though when she first brought it into her home, it was newfangled to her). In fact, I'm wondering if, when she first used her new hands-off washing machine she, too, wondered whether it was actually getting the clothes clean. (Can you tell that clean clothes are a theme running through the work of the women in my family?)
I would not wish to go back to heating water on a stove, to washboards, or to electric wringers into which clothes were fed by hand, but I'm not yet embracing my newfangled, high efficiency washer. I might like it a little more if the water bill is lower.... And I would definitely like it more if I were convinced it was cleaning our clothes. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned.
How about you? Do you embrace newfangled?