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unionmed
07-31-2006, 05:51 PM
Just a question: You all have seen the wooden criss-crossed dish drying racks, are they period to the Civil War? One of our members had one claiming it was given to her from a unit that does a lot of "research" so it must be correct?

Thank you,
Union Med

theknapsack
07-31-2006, 09:54 PM
They actually had towels and rags back then. That's what I recommend you use to dry your dishes.

ElizabethClark
08-01-2006, 08:44 AM
I've not yet come across any reference to folding wooden dish racks, nor diagrams of such, nor photographs of such, nor engravings of such.

When the dishes come out of the wash water, use a huck towel to dry and stack them in a storage chest. This seems to be the common practice of the day in camping situations (mostly Westward Migration).

vmescher
08-01-2006, 09:13 AM
Just a question: You all have seen the wooden criss-crossed dish drying racks, are they period to the Civil War? One of our members had one claiming it was given to her from a unit that does a lot of "research" so it must be correct?

Thank you,
Union Med

This question comes up periodically. Below is some of the previous research I have done in the past.

Also remember that what was done in a home would probably not be done in a military camp.

The wooden dish drainer that you describe was was patented on Dec. 9, 1879 (#222,542) and was in the same classification as folding clothes driers. The patentee described his invention as "for its object to furnish a neat and convenient rack for holding dishes and plates after being washed in order to facilitate the draining of the water therefrom previous to wiping; and it consists in a dish drainer composed of two slatted portions, which are crossed and pivoted together so as to allow of their being opened and held apart by a stop or stops at the desired angle, and when not required for use compactly folded up so as to occupy very little space."

Here is some additional information on dishwashing on dishdrainers.

From _A Treatise on Domestic Economy_ by Catherine Beecher (1846). In the
section on washing dishes, the needed equipment listed were "a swab, made
of strips of linen, tied to a stick". . . "two or three towels, and three
dish-clothes, should be used. Two large tin tubs, painted on the outside,
. . . one for washing, and one for rinsing; also a large old waiter on
which to drain the dishes. A soap-dish, with hard soap, and a fork, with
which to use it, a slop-pail, and two pails for water, should also be
furnished."

in the Rules for Washing Dishes section, the author wrote, [after washing
dishes] ". . . Wipe all metal articles, as soon as they are washed. Put
all the rest into the rinsing-dish, which should be filled with hot
water. When they are taken out, lay them to drain on the waiter." [ A
waiter was defined in my 1861 Webster's dictionary as a type of tray.]

In _American Woman's Home_ by Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe (`1869). There was a picture the ideal kitchen. There was a compartment labeled "dish drainer" but one was not shown. Here is the
description: "On the other side of the sink is the dish-drainer, with a
ledge on the edge next to the sink, to hold the dishes, and grooves cut to
let the water drain into the sink. It has hinges so that it can either
rest on the cook-form or be turned over and cover the sink [The latter
option was shown in the illustration.]

The first patent I found for a dish-drainer, was issued in 1866. The
drainers were either hung from a wall or was a wooden frame on legs or
adjustable wire frames that looked like clam diggers without handles. Remember just because a patent was issued that it is not proof that it was ever or when it was manufactured. One patent showed a wooden box,with a hinged lid and slats suspended from the sides which allowed the dishes to drain. This seems to be what Catherine Beecher noted in her second book.

unionmed
08-01-2006, 05:25 PM
Thank you for the information, I shall forward to my fellow unit member.

Union Med