This Columbus-based washboard company doesn't seem to be slowing down!
The Columbus Washboard Company has been crafting washboards for more than 125 years. These antique and sturdy tools have been used for generations to wash clothes. People soak the clothing in soapy water, and then rub the garments across the corrugated metal to scrub out stains and soils.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the company has seen a spike in sales during the pandemic of 2020.
"We’ve had at least a double increase in sales from Covid,” says co-owner Jacqui Barnett. “We’re selling to a lot of individuals that live in apartment buildings, so they can do their own laundry in their own sink instead of having to face going to a laundromat right now.”
The Columbus Washboard Company sells about 80,000 washboards each year. An estimated 40 percent are sold to individuals for the use of washing clothes. Another 40 percent of buyers use them as musical instruments, and the remaining 20 percent use the washboards to decorate their homes.
Washboard collection, stamped with the Columbus Washboard Company logo. Prices range from $23 to $35, depending on size and metal choice.
Book a Tour of the Historic Factory
If you're visiting Logan, Ohio, be sure to stop in for a tour at The Columbus Washboard Company factory. Tours are limited to six people, and tickets cost about $6 and include a free magnet.
Make Music With This Household Chore Tool
We can all picture a little boy sitting next to his mother while she washed clothes using a washboard. Rather than helping her wash clothes, he began to create music by dragging objects across the corrugated metal of the washboard. And a new hobby was born.
"The Columbus Washboard Company is proud to be part of the world famous Washboard Fest. Held annually on Father's Day Weekend in downtown Logan, Ohio, the festival features authentic Appalachian Bluegrass and Folk Music from all over the region as a testament to the history and culture of the area."
In addition to participating in the Washboard Music Festival, The Columbus Washboard Company also manufactures washboards designed specifically for music. A basic kit sells for $31 and includes mallets, thimbles, and a kazoo. Uncle Willie's Deluxe Musical Washboard Kit sells for $100 and is perfect for a one-man-band with a bell, spoons, cowbell, and wood block.
Have you used a washboard to wash clothes or make music? Share in the comments below.