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Woman using a retro washer

For hundreds of years, Canadian families favoured the humble washboard to clean their clothes. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to imagine our lives without washing machines. However, the first electric washing machine was only invented 120 years ago. Today, the experts at Ateliers G. Paquette specialize in repairing washing machines and other household appliances. Here’s a quick overview of how washing machines have evolved over the years.

Hand-operated washing machines

The very first washing machine was invented in 1767. It consisted of a large wooden tub fitted with a hand crank to agitate the clothing. Although quite rudimentary, this machine marked the beginning of a new era. The first mechanical washing machine appeared in 1830. This model featured rotating cylinders and a hand lever to spin the laundry. This advancement was closely followed by washing machines with wooden rollers in 1845. It wasn’t until six years later that the first drum washing machine with a wringer arrived on the scene. Although these machines helped speed up the process, doing laundry still required considerable physical effort.

Electric and automated washing machines

In 1901, laundering completely changed when American engineer Alva John Fisher invented the first electric washing machine. These motorized machines were first marketed under the name “Thor” in 1907. It took another 30 years to develop the multi-functional, automatic washing machines we know today. Now, our laundry essentially washes itself.

Making washing machines accessible

Demand for household appliances skyrocketed following the Second World War. However, the Canadian appliance market was largely dominated by foreign companies. Consequently, high import fees made washing machines unaffordable for the average family. In the 1970s, the federal government decided to start locally producing washing machines to make them more accessible. Fast-forward fifty years to current times and, according to a survey by Statista, more than 80% of the Canadian population owned a washing machine in 2020.

Today, innovations in laundering technology have given Canadians access to a seemingly endless selection of washing machines to fit nearly any lifestyle and budget. To make your everyday life easier, Ateliers G. Paquette is committed to helping you extend the life of your washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, stove and more. We carry replacement parts for washing machines and other household appliances for when you’re in a pinch. Visit our parts store or contact us to learn more about our products and services.


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