Story: Household management

Child stirring a copper, 1910 (2nd of 5)

Child stirring a copper, 1910

A copper, shown here outside rather than in a laundry or shed, was a standard part of the equipment for doing the laundry for many decades. Clothes were soaped, scrubbed, rinsed, boiled in the copper, put through the mangle (two rollers that squeezed water out of clothes), soaked in ‘blue’ (to whiten bedclothes and white clothes), rinsed and put through the mangle again before being hung out to dry. Laundry day could be dangerous – accounts of deaths resulting from burns caused by the fire under the copper or the boiling water inside it appeared in 19th- and early-20th-century newspapers.

Using this item

Auckland City Libraries – Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Reference: 2-V472
Photograph by Hubert Earle Vaile

Permission of Auckland City Libraries Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Household management - Inside work', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/39691/child-stirring-a-copper-1910 (accessed 26 February 2020)

Story by Megan Cook, published 5 Sep 2013