The humble clothesline gets a second look
BRIDGEPORT Housed in a humble, one story, cement block building on the city’s East End is a factory that churns out an equally unassuming product, the clothesline pulley.
Once indispensable in the household, the clothesline is a strange sight in most backyards today, the victim of the popularity of clothes dryers. About three generations have passed since dryers first began to take their place beside the washing machine in American homes.
The factory, Penn Plastics, on Bishop Avenue, produces about 50,000 pairs of pulleys a year, according to , whose family has owned the business since the 1970s, and has produced clothesline pulleys for about 60 years.
Today, it’s estimated that only about 5 percent of Americans regularly line dry their clothes, but it’s a percentage that clothesline advocates say is bound to change as greater numbers of people begin to see them as a way to save money and be kinder to the planet at the same time.
"Once you have it set up, it’s very convenient," Pennoyer said. "But it’s discouraging a lot of people don’t know where to go the find the pulleys, the rope and the other things you’ll need to set one up."
He added that the two pulley clothesline isn’t seen much outside the Northeast.
"We had one customer whose mother was visiting from Texas. She asked her son, What are those ropes doing in your backyard?’ " said Jr. of Clough’s Hardware in Stratford. "The son says, That’s my clothesline.’ So the mother videotaped her son using it so she could show her friends, and we shipped her the line, the pulleys, everything else she needed to set one up because she couldn’t buy those things in Texas."
In other parts of the nation, "rotary" (also called "umbrella") clotheslines are more popular. Or, a rope will simply be strung between two trees, although this arrangement is more labor intensive come wash day.
Still, the vast majority of Americans never seem to grasp that there are alternatives to the dryer.
"It’s amazing how many people never consider that there’s any other way to dry your clothes but in a dryer," said , executive director of Project Laundry List a group that advocates using less energy to do the wash. "When I tell people about the clothesline option, it’s like a light goes on in their heads."
He said that clothesline gear needs to be sold with the same incentives as other energy saving technology, such as insulation and more efficient light bulbs.
"Just in the six New England states, the amount of money expended to dry clothes comes to a billion dollars a year," Berkowitz said. "It’s a phenomenal amount of money."
He added that only 5 percent of Americans air dry their clothes; in just about every other industrialized nation, that figure is usually above 50 percent.
Another impediment to the
cheap ray bans clothesline is the image of the clothesline as something only for poor people.
"This is an image that we hope will change, and sooner rather than later," Berkowitz said. "Next month, will be running a feature on movie stars who use clotheslines as part of their green campaigns. But that prejudice is there, even though there’s no study other there that can claim that a clothesline next door will reduce your home value."
Indeed, in suburban developments, homes are sold with covenants that prevent homeowners from doing a variety of things, from keeping dogs outdoors overnight to raising livestock. And many of these suburban tract covenants written after the late 1950s restrict or forbid clotheslines.
These covenants aren’t usually enforceable,
replica ray bans unless they run afoul of other laws, area zoning officials say.
"They almost never come up," said Stratford’s Planning and Zoning Administrator of covenant violations.
Lawyer , of Stratford, a real estate specialist, agreed. "If I had a client who wanted to put up a clothesline, and there was a covenant against it for his lot, I would tell him to go ahead and put it up."
He explained that a clothesline, unlike say, a
discount ray bans flock of sheep, wouldn’t be considered a nuisance by the court.
"Besides, chances are, a neighbor isn’t going to spend a lot of money on an attorney to fight a clothesline."
Only three states, Florida, Hawaii and Utah, have strong "right to dry" legislation on the books, which limits or prohibits homeowner associations from banning clotheslines outright. Clotheslines advocates say that more states should follow suit.
Still, the freedom to dry movement, which aims to weaken or
cheap ray bans eliminate strict clothesline bans in gated communities, condominiums and elsewhere, has run up against stiff opposition from groups such as the Community Associations Institute.Articles Connexes：