Largest Buildings in the Eighteenth Century Backyard
Specialized tools, like this goffering iron, crowd the hearth on washing day.
Linen undergarments protect finer outer layers.
Soap shavings stand ready for hot water.
Constant scrubbing was the laundress' fate.
In many households, water for washing had to be fetched from a well.
Soap and elbow grease are the only remedy for soiled linen.
A tub of suds and a bucket of water were called for on laundry day.
Laundries were outfitted with drying racks and clothes lines.
Curator Linda Baumgarten examines surviving garments.
Rarely washed, 18th-century silks show little wear.
An owner's mark ensures a fair reckoning when laundry is sent out.
Blazing coals transfer their wrinkle-coaxing heat to a ready iron.
Colonial ironing boards were comprised of wool blankets pinned to tabletops or on top of built-in dressers.
A small finishing iron removes the last wrinkles.
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation © 2013