The washing machine is indispensable in our home. If our kitchen is a little short of space, before we leave behind the dishwasher and scrub the pots by hand we clean the clothes ourselves. That was parked around 1950, when electric household appliances became popular in the United States.

Before that, people did the laundry in various ways (and quite brusque): against smooth stones in the river, in vats of water heated by stoves, and even bags of thick soaked cloth that were hit against the ground. Creativity to power. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to wash the house more and more intelligently.

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The ‘washing machines’ of the Industrial Revolution

Today they seem primitive, but the first washing machines became popular during the Industrial Revolution. The rotating drum by Jacob Schäffer in 1766 (left); or the ‘washing mill’ of 1790 were great landmarks of the time. The first one turned vertically, but in the second one we can see a precursor of the horizontal drum that has reached our days.

The closing of the washing machine, the next revolution

It was necessary to wait for the Universal Exhibition of London in 1862 to see the first compact washing machine. It consisted of a wooden tub reinforced by iron arches and stuffed into something very similar to a press. The cup nodded inside.

Not that it was a very efficient system, but for the time it was a before and after. The problem? Since then the washing machines have been used without opening to the outside .

A few decades later they became domestic . They no longer just cleaned the employees’ coveralls. They could be used in hotels, farms and houses (with money). They were still not economically accessible, but little by little they made their way through the affluent society.

The electric motor and the washing programs, indispensable

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In 1908 came the next revolution with The Thor, a washing machine with the slogan “makes laundry days a pleasure”. I was able to move a horizontal shaft drum to several different speeds. Since then the drum has remained horizontal for almost a century. At least for standard washing machines.

In 1947 the next milestone came: washing machines with programs . Today we consider them essential, but they were a novelty. This technology did not come alone. During the 1940s, coal boilers had become popular, and it was now possible to feed the washing machine with hot water from the DHW circuit. A luxury.

Leading technologies and energy efficiency

Since then, energy efficiency has been a constant in the development of different appliances. If we compare a current model with a 1960 model, we would be shocked to see the electricity bill and its environmental impact.

During this time the sizes of 60 cm wide began to consolidate. The “traces” of cooking. But it was not until 2010 that technology took a leap and began to play a special role in the washing as such. A plus of quality in removing stains that did not exist until then. This jump was made thanks to the innovation carried out by the Samsung brand, which with EcoBubble ™ – or soap bubble technology – revolutionized the way of washing.

The soap enters the already dissolved drum with the water, creating soap bubbles that penetrate the tissues better by better capturing the detergent , shortening the washing time, saving energy and taking better care of the tissues in the process. Years later an additional technology emerged that allowed to pause the washing to add a forgotten piece of clothing: the technology AddWash ™ , today much in demand.

This “window” inside the washing machine allows not only to insert forgotten garments, but also to add hand-washed garments to rinse or centrifuge or even add extra fabric softener so that the clothes smell much better.

The next innovation in washing and care of clothes came a few years later with QuickDrive ™. While conventional washing machines have been rotating the drum in a single direction since the mid-twentieth century, QuickDrive ™ adds one more twist to the back plate and over in the opposite direction to the conventional one.

Thanks to this system, the washing time is reduced by half , the fabrics suffer less wear and save about 20% of the electricity consumption . That’s why washing machines that include this technology usually have the A +++ label of energy efficiency. If we are concerned about the environment or our electricity bill, this type of household appliances interests us.

Even more so if we choose ranges with an Internet connection capable of talking with our smartphones. Developments such as Samsung SmartThings ™ allow us to connect the washing machine to WiFi. Now we can take a picture of the clothes and the washing machine recommends the program thanks to its intelligence.

From the app, we can also program the washing machine, make diagnoses to increase its useful life or let the intelligent dosing system take care of how much to throw inside the drum. Thanks to four intelligent sensors, these washing machines can detect the amount of clothes and the level of dirt. We will be in the present, but we have reached the future.