Funny object from the past….

sprinkler head

When we moved here, I found this in the old barn on the property. Made of a lightweight metal, with a cork attached, and inserted into an old Pepsi bottle.

sprinkler

Any guesses for what this is for? Laundry! You filled the bottle with water, and then used it to sprinkle the clothes before you ironed them.

Pepsi bottle

There are some fancy china figures also with these corks in them, for sprinkling clothes. I wonder if the woman who owned this previous to me broke hers, or was she always a practical, use what was on hand kind of woman? I suspect the latter, based on the simplicity of her house and the way her sons had carried on after she was gone. They both lived here into their 60’s, when they sold the place to us and moved to a newly built, modern house across the street so they could “take it easy” in their later years. Sadly, John died less than a year later from pancreatic cancer, and Joe died not many years later due to complications with his own lifelong spinal arthritis. Otherwise, I would have liked to learn more about the woman who lived here many years ago.

I am not sure why looking at this bottle always makes me think spring. After all, presumably one did laundry all year around. I guess as the days warm I tend to return to hanging laundry on the line.. and that is such an old fashioned notion in this day and age, that it links in my mind with this old fashioned clothes sprinkler, and somehow that all gets tied up in the idea of spring.

I have actually never used it. I use a modern plastic squirt bottle, or spray starch, depending on the clothes. And my children love to kidnap the sprayer and squirt each other. I often iron in my sewing/office room – listening to BBC radio through my computer (Where I will be listening to Paul Temple mysteries this week… LOVE THEM!) and often I squirt any wayward child that comes in to disturb me!

Anyway, off to do laundry now.. although probably not to hang it on the line today. Showers are expected this afternoon, and the clothes won’t be dry by then with the cool still in the air. But I have been hanging some laundry out, and it feels so good! Spring is coming!!!!

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2 thoughts on “Funny object from the past….

  1. I remember my mother using a bottle with a stopper just like this, on our back porch on summer days, to sprinkle the clothes, then iron. This was in the late 50’s, early 60’s. Sometimes she would sprinkle the clothes, one-by-one ahead of time, put them back in the basket, then pull them out to iron after the sprinkling had soaked up a bit.

  2. Oh yes, my mother and grandmothers all had one of these bottles at the ready while ironing. They also sprinkled the clothing and kept it in a bag for a while before ironing. My mom started my sister and I ironing Dad’s handkerchiefs and then we progressed to more difficult projects. My grandmother LOVED ironing and had an ironing board that was lower so she could sit. I remember her ironing in the summer and just dripping from the heat. Thank you for recalling these good memories.

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