The American Laundromat Or Coin Laundry: A Brief History

by | Jul 28, 2016 | Laundry Service

The self-serve, coin laundry near me in Minneapolis is a rather recent invention. While various countries have had access to a variety of laundry services outside their home for centuries, coin-operated systems date only to the early 20th century. They were places where people went to clean their laundry when they could not do so at home and/or were not able to hire someone to clean their clothing and other items for them.

The First Laundromats

A washateria – the early name in some places for a laundromat, first opened in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 14, 1934 by John F. Cantrell. It was not, however, a coin-operated facility. In fact, people who wanted to use any of the four electric machines paid the owner or manager to rent them by the hour. Like those that copied this pattern, it was small, family-owned and operated, and always had someone on site to make sure everything went smoothly.

In fact, these early laundromats did not have machines that took coins until the 1940s. In order to accomplish this, someone had to invent the automatic washing machine. This took place in 1937. By this time, the term laundromat was replacing washateria. The man behind this was George Edward Pendray (1901-1987) He came up with the word for one of his employers at the time “Westinghouse.”

Another change was a move towards facilities opened for business 24-hours. This was during the 1940s when laundromats were becoming popular. A laundromat that satisfied these two characteristics of the coin laundry near me today, had opened in Philadelphia. The year was 1947 and America was at war.

Two years later, as the war ended, a trait common to many, by not all self-serve laundromats was exhibited by a laundry business opened by Nelson Puett in 1949. His facility on the North Loop in Austin, Texas, did not have an attendant. The laundromat began to thrive during this period. However, neglect set in as many owners forgot to take care of those washers and dryers that lined the walls and were in constant use. This was followed by a surge in popularity in the late 1960s and into the 1970s that has continued to this day all across the country in places as large as Minneapolis, Minnesota and as small as Lebanon, New Hampshire.

The Coin Laundry Near Me

Today, you can find a variety of coin laundries or laundromats in all the States. In fact, the Census Bureau says there are more than 11,000 coin-operated laundromats in America offering diverse services. One of them is the coin laundry near me in Minneapolis.

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