When I was growing up in the 1950s, my mother had one of those old Maytags. The washing machine agitated the clothes in the soapy water until she turned it off.
Then each garment would be passed through the wringers to squeeze out as much water as possible. Finally, the damp clothes would be put out on the clothes line, our “solar-powered dryer.”
One time there was a hurricane headed our way (generally they blow themselves by the time they get to Queens). My mother went ahead and put the clothes out on the line anyway, rain and wind slashing at her face, as if she didn’t know what else to do with them still wet. (I don’t remember we lost any in the wind.)
Typically in cities, the clothes line went out from a rear window or the back porch. The other end of the line could secured to a pole, a tree, another building, sometimes to another part of the same building. Often a pole was erected for any number of clothes lines.
For those new for this, the line was normally on a pulley creating two somewhat parallel clothes lines. A line without any weight on it describes a parabolic curve, same as a suspension bridge. The lower line got the clothes and this weight pulled the empty ends of the line taut. Small devices – spacers or a spreaders – attached the lower line to the top line and kept the laundry from sagging to far.
Some homes had a less-common free-standing clothes umbrella in the back yard. In other cases, it was a single fixed line, reached from the ground and supported by upright sticks at intervals.
Even in the mid-20th century most clothes were white. Working men had dark blue overalls and light blue shirts. White collar men wore suits and only the shirt, almost always white, was washed at home. Color dyes tended to bleed in hot water, so the colors and the whites were separated. So clothes on a typical clothes line would have stretches of all white and stretches of dark colors.