What’s it Worth: Boss Washing Machine

Our antiques expert appraises a Boss mechanical washing machine to help determine what it's worth today.

Wooden mechanical washing machine

Boss Mechanical Washing Machine

Boss Mechanical Washing Machine was patented circa 1899.

 

We bought this Boss washing machine at a local farm auction and would love to know more about it. On the top, it indicates patent dates “Mar 7, 1899-Apr 20, 1902.”

—E.D., Conklin, Michigan

What’s It Worth?

A: Mechanical washing machines have eased laundry day since 1874, when the first—made of wood and powered by a hand crank—was invented. Often made of southern cypress or cottonwood, they agitated clothes by churning, tumbling, twisting or rocking.

Yours squeezed the clothes by rubbing them between a smooth and a corrugated surface. And although that corrugated barrel you see when you raise the lid looks pretty rough, the company claimed the machine’s round, smooth rubbing cylinder wouldn’t tear quilts or curtains! It’s enough to make me go hug my automatic washer.

The Boss Washing Machine Company of Cleveland, Ohio began in 1891, claiming its products were “the greatest saver of household labor ever invented.” Yours, the No. 1 model, features front casters that allowed the user to move the machine near the clothesline—before it was filled, that is!

Boss also promised buyers that this model’s solid-wood construction and covered seams on the bottom of the galvanized tub meant it wouldn’t leak. Today, it’s valued at $200.

—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)

katie m buckwalter 1 June 9, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I just bought a similair washin machine yesterday at the 2013 country living fair in NY. It is a Boss hand cranck washing machine but it has a No. 2 on the side… i paid $250 for it! guess i over paid but its considered price less in my home! i also realized after looking at your picture that i think a peice is missing from the top of mine :-(

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lori 2 June 12, 2013 at 10:14 am

katie, value is a really subjective thing — and prices do vary and fluctuate based on all kinds of factors. We think you’re really lucky to have a piece of the past. Enjoy your Boss washing machine!

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Mr Peter 3 March 21, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Design of the boss washing machine is very coola amd its energy saving that is acceptable.

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Rebecca 4 April 12, 2014 at 1:03 am

Ther invention of the new technology make the more portable washing machines now, but this is the best product by the boss in past days.

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Diya 5 May 30, 2014 at 5:48 am

Its good design of mechanical washing machine but i don’t think it works.

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