Hardware: Why is a washer called a washer?

I always thought this a funny name for a donut-shaped thing. Why is it called a washer? What gets washed???

Good question. I don’t have a definitive answer for you but the Online Etymology Dictionary says

I’m not quite sure what they mean by agent noun of wash.

In many states its a warsher anyhows…

I guess it’s all a wash! :wink:

The Master speaks.

I’m not sure either, but if I had to guess an agent noun is a word that expresses someone who does something. A farmer works on a farm, a computer is something that computes, and so on. So a washer is something that washes in a strange sense of washes.

That’s actually a Staff Report by the lovely Una Persson. But thank you; it was very informative. I guess the origin of washer is lost to history.

According to the signature at the end, that’s a Staff Report by Una. So it’s “Mistress”.