So, let’s go back in time. There’s this contraption, dating back to the 1500s, but made popular around 1850, called a mangle. Many contraptions from this time look dangerous, like if you placed your hand in one of them, you’d lose it and maybe get pulled in after. This one looks similar though smaller, almost cute… like a mini badger.
Imagine two rollers, about two feet in length, one almost directly on top of the other, with heavy gears on the side that are hooked to a crank with a handle, that when turned, make the rollers start doing what they do, rolling.
This thing was dangerous, like a scaled down version of that rock crusher that took out the Thuggee Guard in ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.’ This mangle became especially dangerous when people, instead of using the hand crank, made motorized ones with coal burning steam engines.
What was the mangle’s purpose, with those two dangerous rollers waiting to suck you in, and exposed motorized gears whirring? It was a press to wring water out of clothes, way before modern washers and dryers were invented. This wasn’t like a half a lid of detergent set to normal cycle, and then pushing the start button. Folks had to wash their clothes in a bucket, sometimes using a stick, kind of like a nasty, graywater butter churn. And to keep the mildew from setting into their now ‘cleaner’ clothes, they would put the clothes through the mangle to wring out the water before, ‘Hanging them out to Dry’, which is a completely different phrase for another time.
This machine, with the beautiful name of ‘mangle’, soon became known as a ‘wringer’. So, to be ‘Put through the Wringer’, now days, means to have all of the joy, information, life, etc. squeezed out of you in horribly unpleasant way!
January’s over in a few weeks and payday is coming.
Hang in there folks, and thanks for reading!