Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Columbus Washboard Company

On Sunday afternoon we parked in the beautiful hills of Hocking County in southeastern Ohio. 
We came to this area to see the awesome sights of Hocking State Park, but or first goal on Monday was to tour the Columbus Washboard Company in Logan,Ohio.  It was as interesting as the mustard museum!
  I have been writing about all the fall festivals currently taking place in this part of the country.  There is one small town festival which I would love to attend, and that is the Washboard Music Festival which takes place in June in Logan.  It is probably the only washboard festival in our country, just as the Columbus Washboard Co. is the last remaining washboard manufacturing company in the United States.  It began in 1895 making washboards for laundry use, but since then has also made them as decorative items as well as musical instruments.  Hard to believe, the company makes 60,000 a year.  When we arrived to take the factory tour the two workers from the shop, as well as the tour guides, were out for lunch.  John and I opted to take the tour on our own as there were informative signs posted on the factory walls..  It was not a very long tour, as it just includes one large room.
The factory serves also as a museum.  On display is a gravity fed nailer, which has since been replaced by the nail gun.  We also saw the original metal crimper and metal slitter.  The crimper bends the metal to create various rubbing surfaces.  One can customize their own washboard and make it with galvanized metal zinc or brass.  Stainless steel is durable for musical use and is most durable.  For decorative uses slate or glass may also be used instead of metal.
The burning question I had was whether anyone uses the washboards for laundry today.  We were told that some people still use them to do their laundry, the company distributes washboards to Ace Hardware stores.  Also our military appreciates them- in the factory was a large display regarding the Kuwait Fund.  For a $25.00 donation the company will mail to any service person a small washboard (the boards come in family, pail and mini size), tub, clothesline, pins, 3 soap bars and foot powder.  Instructions are included with the package, and a suggestion is made that the dirty water be saved to wash their feet.  That explains the foot powder! 

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