Would not a front loader make more sense they use less water and detergent than top loaders.
"This can take up to six hours and needs to be done as many as five times a week, outside and in all weather with hands constantly plunged in basins of cold, soapy water. Clothes can take as long as three weeks to dry "...
So these people must have incredibly vast wardrobes and washing lines that stretch for miles if they wash their clothes five times a week and in winter it takes three weeks for them to dry! Not to mention massive herds of alpaca to supply wool to make all those clothes in the first place...
On the other hand, the washing machine itself seems like a good idea, although it would need to be constantly re-filled with rinse water. And if it was to be taken to the water source to be used, then there is also the issue of how to get rid of the dirty water without polluting the water course.
Perhaps adding simple filtration to the outflow might allow reuse of the water
Having lived in Colombia for a couple of years and seeing first hand the poverty there and how a large portion of the people there live, this isn't far fetched. Although most people don't do their own laundry, those that do the laundry do it 6 to 7 days a week all day long, usualy in the river or a a commons area specific for washing. This is a needed product for these ladies that do this to eek out a living, although $40.00 to them may as well be $1000.00. I must say it was a bit disconcerting to walk by the river and see all your clothes and underwear drying on the bushes and tree branches. (I never saw them washing in the rain either)
Rich Brumpton
bergamot, you assume that everyone wears clean clothes each day. This is certainly not universally true.
My great grandparents in Minnesota would have a wash day, and the laundry would freeze solid at night for 3-5 days before it could be worn or put away. 2 sets of clothes for the kids plus their Sunday Best was considered sufficient, but my grandfather had some boyhood pals that would have to wear their older sisters clothes on wash day or other ways to make do.
It's not that long ago really, even in the US.
Bruce H. Anderson
Nitrozzy Seven
It's brilliant. Something my grandma would definitely use if she didn't had an electric one.
@ Rich Brumpton,
I don't assume that they all wear clean clothes every day- but I think that in saying that clothes need to be washed 'up to five times a week' the author suggests that there is one hell of a lot of washing to be done- indicating that people do change their clothes at least almost every day. It seemed unlikely to me hence my comments.
If there are those, as Dr Pepper59 says, who wash clothes professionally, then that would make a lot more sense, ie that the women washing the clothes were not soley washing them for their own families only.
I can see a problem with one leg getting significantly larger than the other!
Just kidding.
This looks like a great idea.
@Bergamot - you don't need a vast wardrobe to be doing laundry constantly. In fact, if you have a limited wardrobe, you're stuck with doing MORE laundry because you don't have clean or passable clothes available. For the longest time, I had a couple of pairs of work-passable pants and only about 5 shirts - I was a load of laundry (really, about all I had) about 2-3 times per week, and I was on my own. Now, with wife and two teenage kids. . . we could do a load a day and not keep up. . .
Aaron Patterson
Would be great for any disaster such as hurricanes, blizzards, and floods. Homes going without power for two weeks or more and people are working to literally dig themselves out of their situation leads to very stinky clothes.