Photo Caption Contest

Have a funny idea for what’s going on in this photograph from the University of Rhode Island library archives? Email your caption to, or respond at

Caption-contest-Photo2June Winners

This photo of handsome students with turned-up trousers next to a marvelously designed washing machine is titled simply “1954 Laundry” in our archives. We’re not certain, but we think this may have been a posed photo taken to advertise the University’s new laundry facilities—complete with a student smoking a cigarette! Different times, indeed. In any case, readers riffed delightfully on the concept of men using a slide rule to figure out how to wash their clothes.

Slide rules, by the way—for those (like us) who had no idea—were used “primarily for multiplication and division, and also for functions such as exponents, roots, logarithms and trigonometry,” according to Wikipedia.

Thanks, as always, to all who responded.

Winning caption:“Now, how much detergent to remove that Pi stain?”

—Bill Rosenberg ’77

Runner Up:

Two engineering students use a slide rule to calculate soap-to-water ratios, drum rotational speed, torque and conservation of angular momentum, while a liberal arts major (right, with cigarette) wonders when they will notice the instructions on the wall behind them.—Don Yost ‘83

Honorable Mentions:

“Gee fellas, we’ve got to find the anti-shrink setting on this new-fangled washing machine. Just look what’s it’s doing to our trousers.” —Dave McQuaid ‘86

“Hey guys, by my calculations, if we roll him up real tight, we can stuff Louie in there with room to spare.” —Patricia Lynch, M.S. ‘74

“No man, the hops go in first and then the malt!” —Len Light ‘69