Amidon’s First Wash Wringer

Charles Amidon’s wash wringer went through several iterations, and this example represents the earliest. It is in the collections of the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage, a non-profit organization headquartered in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Subject to hard use, frequent contact with water and misguided restoration attempts, wringers of this age are seldom so well preserved as this one. The museum’s wringer, in lovely condition and with its original finishes intact, is as visually stunning as it is significant to the history of the Millers Falls Company. All photos by author.

Front of the wringer

A brass plate identifies the wringer as one of Amidon’s and displays the October 28, 1862, date of his patent. The device is virtually identical to that seen in the drawings that make up a part the patent documents. Identified as a product manufactured by Gunn & Amidon, this example was most likely made between 1862 and 1865.

Back of the wringer

The back of the Amidon wringer is marked with a simple stencil. The paint remains easily readable some one hundred-fifty years after it was applied. One of the wringer’s back rollers, depicted in the original patent, is missing.

The patent drawing

Although it is in excellent condition, the wringer at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage is missing one of its rollers. The image below, a back view, is a lightly edited version of a drawing found in the patent documents. The missing roller is marked with a red X.

Amdon ringer patent drawing