Welcome to the W.L. May Company Blog.
Offering information and fun for the appliance repair industry and interested do-it-yourselfers since 2013.

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Phone: 1-800-377-8881
Email: Sales@WLMay.Com

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Twitter Tweets: Icemaker Edition

While looking through our Twitter feed we found these icemaker related tweets to share with you.

We start with a common enough situation that prompts calls to us every day. Generally, we provide a different solution than this tweeter...

This problem, however is a little less common. Still, beer is involved.

Sometimes the problem is that the icemaker is giving too much ice!

Sometime problems in the ice bin can cause the dispensing mechanism to "back up" a bit.

This is a less common scenario that can cause some blockage.

Another common problem we might be able to help with, or maybe not. I guess it depends on how many people need ice. Seems like a lot of trouble getting it from Sonic though!

Here is another solution that we find questionable for a few reasons...

OK, so I know that duct tape is the handyman secret weapon. But it's not food grade. Even if it was, Ohio, that tape is not suitable. This is Pac 12 country not Big 10 land.

If you need an icemaker to accesorize your refrigerator, install items, or parts to make it all better, give us a call. We are well stocked in icemakers and related pieces to help you stay cool and hydrated during these summer months. Now get out there, and enjoy the summer!

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's That Time Of Year: RSTI's Are Coming

Here we are halfway through Summer. That means that before you know it Summer will be over, and the children will be going back to school for the Fall. With Fall also comes a schooling opportunity for the appliance service community.

Portland RSM 2013

Every fall, the United Servicers Association (USA) hold their Regional Service Training Institute (RSTI), formerly known as Regional Service Meetings (RSM). When the USA holds an annual convention in late winter, a lot of service companies and independent servicers that would like to attend have to decline due to travel, economic, or staffing issues. RSTI's offer a convenient alternative. A RSTI is is a sort of mini-convention. Various training classes in both appliance repair and business management are offered over a two day period in an area that should be no more than a few hours drive away wherever you do business.

In addition to the formal training opportunity, one of the most valuable benefits of the RSTI's is the Round Table discussion held at the end of the first night. Servicers who attend this meeting can compare notes and strategies for dealing with all aspects of an appliance service business. In prior meetings, I have heard discussions on everything from, labor prices, warranty issues, marketing ideas, equipment discussions and customer service techniques.

That is a whole heap of value. But wait. there's more! With your registration, five meals are included. You also gain membership in the USA. USA members enjoy access to the USA Service Library, which is stocked with all kinds of service pointers, manuals, and diagrams. They also have access to USA Chat, an email forum that allows techs to help techs solve problems encountered in appliance service.

W.L. May is proud to work with USA to sponsor RSTI's for customers in our service area. You can register for these events at the USA web page at http://www.unitedservicers.com/,  and at the top go to the drop down menu under Parts Distributor, there you can save $100 on their first year membership; $99, instead of $199. The benefits you will get as a member is worth exponentially more..It is all outlined on their website. We are hosting RSTI's on the following dates:

Sacramento, CA- September 25-26th-  Bosch, Electrolux, & Whirlpool, plus Business Classes

Please make a note there will be no Samsung training in Sacramento.

Courtyard Sacramento Airport Natomas
2101 River Plaza Drive
Sacramento, California 95833

Salt Lake City, UT-October 9-10th- Bosch, Electrolux, Samsung & Whirlpool, plus Business Classes

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Salt Lake City-Airport 
(801) 741-1800
5001 W. Wiley Post Way
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116

Portland, OR-November 6-7th-Bosch, Electrolux, Samsung & Whirlpool, plus Business Classes

Monarch Hotel & Conference Center
12566 SE 93rd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97015

We truly hope you can make it out to the Regional Service Training Institute in your area. Support your continuing education, and demonstrate that there is a demand for more of these types of educational opportunities. We will be there, WILL YOU?

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kelly's Korner - More Pictures

Hey, All,

I don't know where you are all at but here it has been BUSY!!!!  So I'm going to cheat and just post more pictures of the move to the new quar
All moved in!

Small Sales office - my desk is just on the
other side of this divider
In the beginning....
The shelves are up....

We got parts!

And a very forlorn Hawthorne counter  ;-(

It has been bittersweet but we love our new place.  End of an era an onto a new!

Have a great week!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Motivation

You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.
 ~ Zig Ziglar

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Morning Video's: 1930 GE Dishwasher Ad

A rare GE Dishwasher ad from 1930  featuring Bette Davis.

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: News Recap July 24, 2014

If you have been reading the W.L. May Blog but haven't checked us out on FacebookTwitter or Google+, you may not be getting the whole story. We use all of those social media outlets to share news stories that relate to our industry as well as appliance tips we have found from other sources. Here is a recap of some of the top stories we have seen lately. A lot has been happening so without further ado:

We start with some consumer friendly articles we feel would be great for sharing:
  • Here is a fun little blog post with some neat pictures of old laundry equipment. Some interesting stuff in the article comments as well. LINK
Next, we look at appliance manufacturers who have been in the news recently:
  • Some interesting pie-in-the-sky ideas for laundry tools emerged from the Electrolux design competition. LINK
  • Whirlpool made a big move into Italy with the purchase of Italian manufacturer Indesit. LINK
We found several articles that might be of interest to those of you who love all thing appliances:
  • I have seen a lot of interesting appliance modifications over the years, but I never thought of this one... LINK
  • This guy doesn't like dishwashers. From the sound of things, he may have been using one for years that was in need of cleaning and servicing. LINK
  • A photographer takes art photos of appliances in action, and finds Scary Creatures hiding in everyday appliances. LINK
Sometimes, the links we post are related to technology, business or happenings on the internet:
  • A lot of companies feel threatened by Amazon. Maybe they shouldn't here's why. The article also offers a few tips to stay ahead of the internet giant. LINK
  • How closely to you pay attention to your online listings? This story shows why you should be paying close attention. LINK
We close with a story that is just for fun:
  • Embarrassed by the state of her refrigerator, this journalist chalks it up to advanced physics. LINK
  • This story came across my newsfeed as a video of a blind 96 year old man emptying a dishwasher. When I read the article that came with the video, it put a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat. You have been warned. LINK
If we have missed any important appliance news, please share with us in the comments section.

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Just Do What You Say You Will Do

Word of Mouth Matters (Flickr/CC)

Writing this blog pushes me to pay close attention to appliance related information on the Internet. That includes reading review sites. The good reviews always emphasize the convenience, value and how nice the technician was that did the work.

What I find to be interesting is that frequently the bad reviews often are caused by things that happen well before the technician gets onto the site. One of the most common complaints is simply doing what they said they would do. Arriving late to a service call, not returning calls, or just generally dropping the ball are often the problems cited. It doesn't have to be that way!

It's true that in a mobile, problem solving business such as ours, all kinds of things can cause delays. Customers seem to understand that. If something is going wrong or a delay is impossible to avoid, make sure you communicate with your customer.

There is a reluctance to sharing bad news with a customer before the job is done. There is a chance that some people would cancel the job. I would suggest that most would appreciate the information up front more that sweeping the problem under the rug.

A lot of people in business over the years have had the opinion, that apologizing after the fact would minimize any negative word of mouth. Those days are over.  With the communication tools that exist these days, an unhappy customer can tell a large group of people about their frustration with a few clicks on the keyboard. The damage can be done before you even know the customer is unhappy!

Like so much in life, the best defense is a good offense. In this case that means, simply, just do what you say you will do.

Customers do appreciate the RESPECT you are showing them when you offer full disclosure. That is what they will tell their friends about. How when something went wrong you stepped up to plate, admitted the issue and dealt with it, A much better result than complaining to their friends that you did not meet their expectations.

How do YOU handle it when something goes wrong? We'd love to hear about it in the comments. Have a great day out there, and may all your Internet reviews be five-star ones!

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kelly's Korner - We're In!!!!

Hey, All,

As you all may know, we have been in the process of moving our Portland location from SE 12th and Hawthorne to E 9th and Burnside.  Well, except for a few odds and ends, we are IN!!!  I am just going to share some pictures that I've taken:


Thanks to all who have worked at making this move a success!

Come on in and check it out!

Have a great week!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Motivation

Life isn’t worth living unless you’re willing to take some big chances and go for broke. ~ Eliot Wiggington

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Featured Client: De Anza Appliance

Once a month we feature a client on this blog. It's way of saying thank you for allowing us the opportunity to help with a companies success, also it is a way of showing positive community involvement from the appliance service industry. We have found that there are a lot of unsung heroes in the appliance business, we want the world to know that. If YOUR business has had more success due to our help, or if your company is doing great things in your community, we would love to know about and share it with the world. To be featured email me at rob.m@wlmay.com.

Roger Boucher of De Anza Appliance
Roger Boucher: Owner, President, and Service Manager

De Anza Appliance

Contact Info
Phone: (408) 996-9111
Website: deanzaappliance.com
Facebook: facebook.com/DeAnzaAppliance
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/de-anza-appliance
Twitter: twitter.com/DeAnzaAppliance
Google+: plus.google.com/113005988969738237574/posts

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Sunnyvale and had the fortune of raising my family close to where I grew up in Cupertino.  Since I've been in Santa Clara County and the greater San Jose metropolitan area my whole life I've gotten to know the neighborhoods and established strong partnerships with other local appliance servicers, retailers and other home services companies.  It's amazing to see all of the orchards of years past transform into what's today Apple, Facebook, Google, and a ton of other tech companies.  Glad we bought our house in the 80s!

How long in the trade?
My dad started teaching me the trade in 1976 part-time and over the years became a full-time technician, sales associate, and, service manager, Today I service as President and Service Manager and I'm proud to work alongside my brother David (Owner, Parts Manager & VP), wife Cindy (Owner & Bookkeeper), and sons Chris (Marketing) and Nick (Office Administration), plus a dispatcher and five great technicians (and growing) keeping the family tradition alive.

How long in your current company?
My father, Bill, started the company in 1972 out of his garage.  Over the years we've grown to include a parts counter and a Maytag showroom but since contracted to focus on what we do best, in-home service.

The Boucher Family
What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
When am I not at work?  Those rare moments I get out of the office I spend time bowling with my brother, nephews, and friends.  Play poker with my wife, brother, his family, and other appliance servicers I know.  I volunteer with time with my church, cooking for their men's ministry and several of their annual events.  I watch hockey with my family and enjoy seeing my younger son, Nick, in plays while he pursues his theater education degree.

To what do you credit your success?
Having good people working for you.  Put in place a customer-centric team, that's knowledgeable, and I can trust to get the job done.  Whenever I make decisions I always ask: 1) Does it make the customer happy? 2) Will these actions retain or recruit new customers? 3) Is it profitable? 4) Will this grow the business?  If the answer is no to each of those questions I don't so it.  If the answer is no to one of those questions I think about the impacts it has on the whole of my business.

What do you like about doing business with WL May?
WL May has been a great partner for us.  Wes is near flawless in order processing, the Portland branch staff can answer any parts related questions we throw at them, and the Sacramento branch gets product to us next business day.  Their no-hassles return policy allows us to pre-screen parts and come as prepared as possible to help a customer in the first visit.

Can you share one piece of advice for others in our industry?
Don't let the 1% of your customers dictate 99% your business.  Rules are in place for a reason.  Make sure to help the customer when you can but sometimes the best thing you can do for a bad customer is offer them all or part of their money back and part ways.  We certainly work to reward the good customers with timely service, fair prices, professional dispatchers and service technicians, interesting and relevant web content, and other value added services like DIY replacement parts through our website, home services referrals, general maintenance programs (especially for corporate partners and laundrymats), billing terms for our property managers.  Our programs can be duplicated (and we've copied some of our business practices with permission from colleagues across the country) but our people and customer service are truly our own.

Is there anything else you like to say?
We became great friends with Maytag's second Old Lonely Repairman, Gordon Jump.  When we opened our Maytag retail center he made several guest appearances and signed autographs for our team and customers.  My office staff framed a picture of our team and we signed and presented it to him as a thank-you for all of his promotional appearances when we were getting off the ground.  Every time we bumped into Gordon at conferences and mixers he always took the time to visit and catch-up and stopped by our store when visiting his daughter at the local university.

Gordon Jump with Roger

If you would like YOUR company profiled as a featured client send an email to rob.m@wlmay.com

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Trivia Challenge

So you think you know all about appliances? Here is a short set of trivia questions to test your knowledge.

1.How much would you pay for a Westinghouse portable dishwasher in 1960?
2.What is the part number of the maytag washer belt set that includes both a drive belt and a pump belt?
3.What does Whirlpool call their diamond plated "mens refrigerator"
4.What year was the domestic trash compacter introduced?
5.There is a bake element that a lot of techs will call a "Dolly Parton". Old timers may remember another nickname for that element. What is it?
6.What were the old Frigidaire Laundry Centers nicknamed?
7.Besides a car engine size and a vegetable drink, what is a V8?
8.How many house fires are started each year due to major appliances?

5.Mae West
6.Skinny Mini’s
7.An 8 coin verticle coin slide

O-2 correct: You know a bit, but still have a lot to learn. Luckily you came to the right place.
2-4 correct: You know a fair amount about appliances. Keep visiting this blog to learn even more.
4-6 correct: You know a lot about appliances. Pass some of that knowledge on to someone.
6-8 correct You are an appliance star! Great job!

This is a monthly feature. To submit your own trivia questions (and answers) email: rob.m@wlmay.com with the subject line "trivia".

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Important Announcement

The big day is coming soon!

With our apologies, on Saturday, July 19, W.L. May Company will be closed while we complete our move to your new Portland parts counter.

We are truly excited to announce that beginning on Monday, July 21, W.L. May Company will begin counter service at our new location at 835 E Burnside with our regular hours. The counter at 12th and Hawthorne will be closing at 5:30pm Friday July, 18 forever. Thanks for all your support there over the years.

Here is a map from the Hawthorne location to our new Burnside site.

Our front door faces Burnside:

Parking is located on the Couch St. and 9th Avenue at the back side of the building. There is a door on the parking lot side of the building as well.

We are just a few minutes away from our old location. Traffic and parking seem to be a little easier here than on Hawthorne too. We are proud of our new home and can't wait to show it to you.

Come on down and pay us a visit!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kelly's Korner - 5 Ways to Help Your Refrigerator Stay Running in Hot Weather

Hey, All,

Well, summer has arrived with a vengeance here in Portland with temps up in the 90's!  For someone raised on the coast with constant wind, fog and mild temperatures, I don't deal well with all this warmth.  Yesterday's thunderstorms were a welcome break.

You know what else doesn't do well in hot weather?  Your refrigerator.  It works extra hard to keep things cool.  And nothing is worse when it's hot out than to have a broken refrigerator.  Here are some helpful hints to help keep it running.

1.  KEEP THE DOOR SHUT!!!  I know it feels really good to open the doors and let that cool air wash over you, but your refrigerator is not an air conditioning unit.  The more the doors are opened and closed the harder it has to work to keep things cold.

2.  When you do have the doors open, do a quick check of your door seals.  Clean them off and check to see there are no holes or tears in them.  Stick a dollar bill between the seal and the cabinet - if it slides out easily, replace the seals.  Call your favorite repair technician to replace these for you, or call W L May with your model number if you think you can do this yourself.

3.  Keep your freezer and refrigerator full.  I know this seems weird, but your fridge doesn't work as hard keeping things cold or frozen if it is full.  Don't stuff it - and if it seems a little empty, fill some jugs with water and keep in there for drinking and cooler ice (freeze jugs of water, ice tea or other favorite beverage and use in your picnic coolers - will keep your food cool and save space with the drinks.)   Cool food and liquids to room temp before putting them in the fridge and make sure they are covered. Replace your filter if you have one, also.
Creative Commons license on image.

4.  Clean underneath and behind your fridge and the coils.  Dust and dirt will make the compressor run more.  Also check to make sure there plenty of clearance behind it for air circulation. 

5.  If you have a refrigerator in a garage or outbuilding that gets really hot you might think about NOT using it and unplugging it, or find someway to cool that area.  That compressor is already running hot and high temps could make things go kaboom.  And with your neighbors turning on air conditioning units or fans, flucuations in power could happen, so make sure that your refrigerators and freezers are on surge protectors.

If you have any concerns about your refrigerators or freezers, get on the phone now with your appliance repair company.  Summer has them booked solid with refrigeration issues and you want to get any issues taken care of as soon as possible.

Have a great week!

PS:  Please remember that the Portland W L May will be closed on Saturday July 19 for the big move to get parts over to our new location at NE 9th and Burnside.  We will be open in our new location on Monday, July 21.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Motivation

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. ~ Henry Ford

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Morning Videos 1972 Whirlpool Washer Ad

This 1972 commercial from Whirlpool makes a persuasive argument for getting away from casters on a washing machine to a more built in model.

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: News Recap July 10, 2014

If you have been reading the W.L. May Blog but haven't checked us out on FacebookTwitter or Google+, you may not be getting the whole story. We use all of those social media outlets to share news stories that relate to our industry as well as appliance tips we have found from other sources. Here is a recap of some of the top stories we have seen lately. A lot has been happening so without further ado:

We start with some consumer friendly articles we feel would be great for sharing:
  • News.Com.Au gave us a run down of foods that just won't survive the deep freeze. LINK
  • Mother Nature Network shared some ways to make food last longer before spoiling. LINK
  • Mother Earth News had some ideas for what to do with that refrigerator that was just replaced. LINK
  • Considering a built in refrigerator but no room in the budget? Maybe this Ikea solution is for you! LINK
  • Thinking about fixing it yourself after watching a few YouTube videos? Consider the results this reporter got-you might want to hire a tech! LINK
Next, we look at appliance manufacturers who have been in the news recently:
  • GE is developing a self sufficient micro kitchen. LINK
We found several articles that might be of interest to those of you who love all thing appliances:
  • Frank Lloyd Wright was known for his groundbreaking building designs. He also was responsible for several kitchen innovations. LINK
  • Using a washing machine as a giant salad spinner. No , really. LINK
  • Technabob reports on Using an old refrigerator to draw water from the air. LINK
  • Helston Museum showed off a "mangle", an early 19th century laundry tool. LINK
  • The American looked at the history of refrigerators and possibly their future as well. LINK
Sometimes, the links we post are related to technology, business or happenings on the internet:
  • Wired reported on an interesting device being developed at MIT that hopes to make HVAC mostly obsolete by regulating an individuals body temp using a wristband device. LINK
  • Setting your Value, not your price is the subject of this article. LINK
We close with a story that is just for fun:
  • If you have a machine that is making banging noises, you could fix it. Or you could use it as the drum track on your new death metal song! LINK

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday W.L.May Profile: Gai Davidson

This is the part of the blog where we share a little about ourselves. Today we would like to introduce you to one of the people in our Seattle Branch that helps provide you with our famously fast and accurate customer service.

Gai Davidson

Job Title? 
Counter sales

Where did you grow up? 
Seattle, WA

How long have you been with W.L. May? 
It will be 15 years come December 1

What did you do prior to joining W.L. May? 
I worked for Conklin Appliance In Lynnwood

What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work? 
Hanging with friends & family

To what do you credit your success? 
Details….the little details in our industry are huge

What do you like about working at W.L. May? 
Finding every day is a new adventure

Can you share one piece of advice for others in our industry? 
If you have to work for a living, make it a job you totally enjoy

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kelly's Korner - Ice, Ice, Baby

Hey, All!

Well, summer has arrived here with temperatures in the high 80's and 90's - I was raised on the Oregon coast where even if the sun has broken through the fog, temps don't get that high, so I don't do well when it's hot.

So I was at the store buying yet another bag or two of ice and thought, "Ya know, my refrigerator has a hook-up for an icemaker, why don't I have one?  It's not like I don't know where to get one!"  Then gave myself the V8 head slap.
Creative Commons license on image.

If your refrigerator does not have an icemaker, many of them are equipped to have one added on.  If so, there are kits available that have what you need to get it hooked up.

First, give W L May a call with your model number and we can let you know if there is a kit available for your fridge.  These kits come with the icemaker, water valve and tubing, ice bucket, the fittings necessary to install it, AND instructions.  You may have to purchase an additional kit (which we have, also!) to run a waterline from your nearest water source to the refrigerator.  Or, if you are not at all mechanically inclined, call your favorite appliance technician to install it for you.

If you already have an icemaker in your refrigerator now may be a good time to change your water filter so those cubes are perfect your needs.  Periodic dumping of the ice (especially if the cubes have been in there awhile) and cleaning of the icebucket are recommended, too.  And if there are any issues with your icemaker, give your tech a call.

When you think of the time and money spent on getting bags of ice, the room taken up in your freezer and the agony of running out just as you are making your favorite cool beverage, it will be well worth your time.  I know I will be getting mine real soon!!!!

Have a great week and stay cool!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Motivation

The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. ~ Bruce Lee

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 4th Holiday Schedule

Hello everybody!

Just a short post today to confirm that all of W.L. Mays branches as well as all of the shipping companies we deal with will be closed on July 4th to celebrate the holiday with our families. Regular hours will resume Saturday, July 5th at 8a. Thanks for your support and have a great holiday!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How Our Founding Fathers Laundry Was Washed

Independence Day is just around the corner. When things start getting noisy with fireworks going off late into the evening and the grocery stores are offering specials on hot dogs and watermelons and corn on the cob, my thoughts turn towards our nations Founding Fathers.

They left us a nation free from the ties of Europe. They left us a government ruled by people and for the people-not for the royalty.  One thing they did not leave us with was modern appliances. Those came later.
In the Colonial era, laundry was not the simple matter of pouring out some detergent and pressing a button or turning a know. Not even close.
First You Would Need To Do The Mending (Flickr/CC)

Imagine yourself doing a "load" of laundry back in those days. Before beginning to wash clothes, first it was crucial to check for wear or damage that needed mending. Cloth was hard top come by and clothes were mended until they could not be mended anymore. Even then the scraps would be saved for use in quilts or as rags. Any repairs needed would happen before you started the washing process. One more thing, any sewing you were doing to mend those clothes was being done by hand.

Now that you have a pile of items that need a few stitches each, it would be a good idea to start soaking your clothes while you did your mending. Hopefully by soaking the cloth the dirt would start to loosen a bit making your job a little easier when you moved on to the next step. At this point you might try a few homespun stain treatments on any particularly bad spots. Regardless, you probably want to leave the clothes soaking overnight.

Day 2. Your clothes have been soaking overnight. Time to get some water boiling, make that a lot of water. Hopefully you have a good source of abundant water nearby or you may have some hauling to do. You want to get the water as hot as you can get it while still being able to reach into it. Put some lye soap on the clothes, turn them inside out and put them into the scalding water.

Pull out the first item and find a rock or other hard smooth surface you can rub the laundry against-washboard won't be invented until the 1800's. Now you can start scrubbing...and scrubbing....and scrubbing. Eventually you will feel like the laundry item you are working on can't get any cleaner. Wring that piece out and set aside and start working on the next piece.

When you are done scrubbing the clothes you still have a ways to go. Now you would want to get a tank of water going to a rolling boil. You would then boil the clothes for a little while to kill off any "critters" that might have gotten themselves into the piece. Use a laundry paddle to fish out you items and then you can plunge them into another vat of cold water for final rinsing.

Finally your colored items would be ready to dry. You might use a clothesline, or you might just lay the clothes out on top of some tall grass,  or you place them near the fire in the hearth to help speed the drying process. The white items required a little MORE effort.

As you might imagine, this method of clothes washing left a bit to be desired when it came to the white items. Generally speaking they would come out the wash dingy and yellowed. Chlorine bleach had not yet been invented so other methods were used to whiten fabrics. Blocks of indigo or Prussian blue were added to the water making it a sky blue color. Yellowed whites that soaked in the "bluing" solution would pick up that blue color and it countered the yellowing making clothes appear whiter. After the "bluing" clothes could be rinsed and dried like the other items in the wash.

Clothes of that era were obviously not permanent press, and there was no dryer being used to ease the wrinkle. The net step, then would be ironing of the clothes. Irons of the era looked a lot like irons today. Except they had no power cord or steam features. Instead, you would have a literal piece of iron with a handle that would be heated on the stove top, or in more primitive situations in pan over an open fire. A well stocked home would have two irons so that they could alternate with one heating while the other was pressing the laundry.

Once the ironing was completed the clothes could then be folded for storage until used. But you still weren't done with your laundry chores. Soap was homemade and periodically you will be looking at making a new batch, luckily that only happens once or twice a year. Your supplies would also need to be stowed away correctly. You would want to make sure your irons were dry and stored in an upright position to prevent rust. Wooden wash tubs also required special care. If you stored them "dry" the wood had a tendency to dry out and split. On the other hand if you stored them with water in them you needed to make sure to empty the water frequently

It wasn't an easy life in the Colonial Era for anyone, much less for the homemaker. Thanks to the automatic washing machine wash day can be any day and a person can be done within a few hours. As you celebrate the freedom our Founding Fathers left us this Fourth of July, pause and remember all the freedom that your washing machine offers as well. Have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

For more from education and entertainment from W.L. May Company click...HERE

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kelly's Korner - Cleaning and Customer Relations

Hey, All,

If any of you ever wonder what we here at W L May do when the phones are kinda slow, there is a variety of different things.  Work on projects, call and chat with our customers if they're not busy, clean our desk areas, etc.

So with the big move, I've been going through my desk and getting things sorted out.  Man, it is amazing what you can collect when you have been in the same place for years!  July 2 will be 13 years for me and probably seven or eight years at this particular desk.  And, boy, do I have some stuff!  And I am not the best housekeeper so it has piled up.
These are usually on the wall behind my monitor or on my desk - I'm cleaning!
Just some more of the love from my "families"

But what really has me going is all the items that have been given to my by my customers friends.  One thing we pride ourselves on here at W L May is the relationships we have with our customers.  Some I've been working with since I started here and they are friends and family now.  I found years of holiday family photos, newspaper clippings of achievements and events, birth announcements, wedding, birthday and anniversary invitations, funeral notices, beanie baby's, toys, signs of all kinds, pictures and postcards of vacations and all kinds of things! 

It really brings me a warm glow to be included in these happenings! To see the growth of your kids, grandkids and all the milestones in your lives.  And now with Facebook, I can keep up on both personal and business sites and keep the sharing going.

I always wax a bit nostalgic when my anniversary date comes around and I just want to thank everyone for letting me be a little part of your family!

We all here at W L May value just not your business, but the wonderful relationships we have with you all.

Here's to many more years!

Have a great week!