The Improved Whirl Coffee Table Set
The Improved Whirl washing machine is something of an enigma to the enthusiasts of washing machine history. Despite extensive scouring of the internet, and the work of many other antique historians, no one can place a precise date to it. So we decided the next best thing was to date its competition. A significantly more advanced version of the Improved Whirl, featuring a complicated double tub set up, was patented in 1891. Based on this, we estimate the Improved Whirl washing machine dates to around 1890, if not earlier due to the lack of technological sophistication.
The decades of wear are apparent in this intriguingly reticent piece. Each of the ribs on the internal agitator and tub lining are worn and warped, showing extensive hard use. Now well into retirement, the Improved Whirl will see a second and notably less taxing career as a coffee table set. The main body has been transformed into a lift-top coffee table with internal storage and the smaller agitator has been made into a matching side table.
The table surfaces and internal storage were made from reclaimed barn wood, sourced locally near Grand Rapids. The reclaimed wood is approximately 130 years old, and after cleaning, turns out to be the critically endangered American Chestnut. This beautiful historic wood matches perfectly with the age and history of the Improved Whirl washing machine, making for a seamless restoration.
The restored and reimagined set is now with its new owner.