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Image Oates 'All Australian Mop Bucket', 1991

TLF ID M000322

This an 'All Australian Mop Bucket', manufactured from grey plastic by E D Oates Pty Ltd, Australia. The bucket is rectangular with straight sides, rounded corners, a wide flanged rim and a recessed handle incorporated into the base at one end to facilitate the pouring of used water. The carrying handle is coloured fluorescent pink and has straight sides rising to rounded corners, supporting two uprights which are separated by a cylindrical bar secured by two grey plastic rivets. The wringing action is from a foot treadle in dark charcoal-coloured plastic, flat with a raised ridged instep at one end; the action pushes a roller, secured by two guides moulded into the sides, across the top of the bucket to meet another roller fixed at the other end.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This product is an example of innovative design applied to an ordinary domestic item. It arose from the company's perception of a need in the marketplace. E D Oates is a well-established Melbourne firm which has been manufacturing floor mops for many years. The mop bucket was designed by Design Lab, Melbourne.
  • In the 1980s a fashion for hard polished uneven floors of slate and tile made mops popular again after decades of competition with carpets and vacuum cleaners. In 1984 the E D Oates company approached industrial designers at Design Lab with the challenge to redesign the century-old wringer bucket. Their solution was to replace the weight and complex assembly of the metal bucket by using PVC plastic, injection-moulded in one piece. They designed the wringer lever as a broad plastic pedal placed over the centre of gravity of the bucket so that it wrung out the mop and stayed balanced using only one foot.
  • E D Oates Pty Ltd grew from the original A A Oates broom factory that operated in North Melbourne before the First World War. Starting with cotton mops in 1930, Edgar Oates, his father Albert and brothers Bert and Lawrence worked through the Great Depression, then Edgar and Lawrence served their country in the Second World War.
  • In the post-War years the product range was steadily expanded and production facilities improved. A reputation among trade buyers as a reliable supplier of quality products was firmly established in all markets. During the 1980s and 90s acquisitions and product development together with the opening of warehouses and sales offices in all mainland capitals resulted in E D Oates becoming the leading supplier of cleaning products in Australasia.
  • In 2002 all products were branded Oates Clean to clearly identify the Oates name with cleaning in the Australian and New Zealand markets. At the start of 2004, the Oates Clean range comprised more than 1,500 products, and customers ranged from the largest supermarkets, DIY chains and mass merchants to specialised cleaning outlets and export customers across the Pacific and Asia.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Powerhouse Museum
  • Organization: Powerhouse Museum
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: NSW, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Name: E D Oats Pty Ltd
  • Organization: E D Oats Pty Ltd
  • Description: Author
  • Address: Victoria
  • Publisher
  • Name: Powerhouse Museum
  • Organization: Powerhouse Museum
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: NSW, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Curriculum Corporation and Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences 2009 (except where otherwise indicated). You may view, display, print out, copy and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.