Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Like Clean Clothes

On this day in 1934, the first laundromat opened in Ft. Worth, Texas. Now people who did not have their own could take advantage of community washing sites. What a good idea.

In the olden days - the really olden days - all the village women met their neighbors at the local stream to rinse clothes in the moving water and achieve the natural version of the popular stone washed look. That was the first laundromat, a place people gathered to wash.

As civilization progressed, I suppose people used wash tubs and sinks until the washer was invented. I don't know the first washer, but I do remember our old ringer washer when we lived in the Philippines.

What a hassle laundry was in those days!
Laundry has been a social activity, even when washing machines are available in or near the home. At one time clotheslines were strung between buildings in many cities so the neighborhood could keep up with new births, children growing up, illnesses and even company, all based on what was hanging on the line for all to see.

It is also subject to socioeconomic trends, We can save money when doing our l
aundry at home. A method of energy conservation -- Clotheslines -- are becoming extinct, no longer providing a public view of private households. Now, they are subject to community restrictions. Vermont's attempt at 'Right to Dry' legislation died in the state Senate Natural Resource & Energy Committee.

I remember going to the laundry room in apartments and the
laundromat before I bought my very own washer. Most of the time it was okay . I read a lot of books, met my neighbors, and spent a ton of quarters. Sometimes it was hot, it was usually loud, and it was extra expensive when I ran an errand and returned to three empty washers. Bummer.

Even with the risks, I'm glad the 1934 laundromat in Ft. Worth, Texas started the booming industry of coin-operated laundromats. And I'm especially glad I do not have to find a local stream to ensure my family can have clean clothes.

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