This time, we brought that knowledge together to talk about “household economy,” or the management of daily chores. Fortunately for us, Job Whitall's diary has been transcribed and served as a good source for understanding what life was like in 1775-1779 New Jersey on the outskirts of Philadelphia.
Right, Whitall House.
The afternoon we spent in Whitall House was wet, blustery one, well suited to sitting by the fire doing small table-top chores. I had a basket of washed clothes ready for mending; the first task being darning Drunk Tailor's stocking. After that, his favorite "aether of linen" shirt much in need of mending-- or ready for repurposing.
I'm not the expert on laundry-- I'm better at making laundry than doing laundry--but I have assisted and grasp the principle. I also know that the clothes I wash the 18th century way smell and feel better than the clothes I wash in the washer. Tallow-based soap and sunshine: remarkably comforting today, though in the past those scents would have been normal and unremarked. If you were the laundress, or the one doing the ironing, nothing about the chores would have seemed romantic in the least.
Right, Paul Sandby (1731-1809), At Sandpit Gate circa 1752. Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour | 22.9 x 23.4 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 914329