Okay, not that dirty.

As exciting as they might be to some folks, washing machines just aren’t that titillating. But they do account for around one-quarter of the average household’s water consumption. And – more ominously – washing machines are responsible for an estimated 97% of all sock thievery.

So time-consuming and labor intensive was the process of washing clothes that the history of the washing machine is pretty involved. Of course, the earliest “machines” were scrub boards, invented in 1797. But 1908 brought the first mass-marketed electric washing machine: Thor, produced by the Hurley Machine Company. Thor introduced the integrated clutch, which allowed the machine’s drum to rotate in both directions (and even pause for soaking or addition of cleaning agents). That might not seem all that earth-shattering to us now, but if you consider that earlier laundry systems operated via hand cranks or even a single cylinder hit and miss gas engine, well, the capabilities of the mighty Thor are pretty impressive.

They say it all comes out in the wash. But if you’re find that it’s no longer the case with your current machine, check out our Appliances category to replace and/or upgrade. Top load. Front load. High efficiency. Any way you rinse it, we’ve got you covered!