On November 12, TRECA Digital Academy students visited the Columbus Washboard Company in Logan, OH.
The Columbus Washboard Company has been in business since 1895. In 1999 the factory was sold and relocated from the Columbus area to Logan, Ohio, and the new owners kept 'Columbus' in the business name after they moved to honor the founders. This organization is the only washboard manufacturer in the United States and they continue to assemble their washboards by hand.
Students viewed the vintage equipment employees still use to build washboards, including saws and specialized frame presses. The Columbus Washboard Company makes three sizes of washboards. Customers purchase washboards for one of three primary reasons: for decoration, to use for spot cleaning laundry, and to play music. Students and their families all received a washboard to try their hand at playing along to music.
After watching employees put a washboard together by hand, students learned how large rolls of metal sheeting are crimped into various designs. The main area of the washboard is usually made of stainless steel or galvanized steel, but glass washboards became popular around the second World War in order to save metal. Some of the decorative washboards use a chalkboard or cork board for the central piece. Students also viewed the screen printing area where numerous designs can be printed onto the brand boards at the top of the washboard. The Columbus Washboard Company can send any number of washboards in an order, from a single washboard to a full pallet for large orders.