Laundromat Facts

The word "washateria," primarily used in the South, came into the English language around 1937.

Bendix Appliances invented the automatic washing machine in 1937.

The word "laundromat" was registered as a trademark by Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of White Consolidated Industries on Oct. 1, 1947. Westinghouse listed the word as first being used in commerce on Oct. 26, 1940, and renewed the trademark in 1988.

Early laundromats were open specific hours, and since they did not necessarily feature coin-operated machines, there was always an attendant on duty. Some even required that you make an appointment.

The first unattended, 24-hour self-service laundromat in the United States was opened by Nelson Puett in 1949 on North Loop in Austin, Texas about where present day Room Service is located.

According to the March 1950 issue of Nation's Business, there were an estimated 4,000 laundromats, laundrettes, laundreezes, and assorted self-service washeries nationwide in 1950.

The New York Times reported on April 27, 1944 that unlike other urban cheats New Yorkers were unique in their usage of Office of Price Administration (OPA) ration tokens for apartment house washing machines.

Jim and Bonnie Danielson of La Crosse, Wisconsin, are the proud owners of the Soap Opera Coin Laundry and Museum, which features antique washing equipment and advertisements.

Southwestern Bell added the category "Washateria" to its yellow pages in 1947. Three years later, it changed the heading to "Laundries--Self Service," which remains the title to this day.

Austin, Texas got its first Kwik-Wash in 1960.

The earliest reference to the word "laundry" meaning an establishment where linen, clothing, and such is cleaned took place in 1577 in B. George's "Heresbach's Hush."

In Curious George at the Laundromat, the brand name of the laundry detergent he blatantly misuses is called "Sudso."

Mr. Smarty Pants gets his information from books, magazines, newspapers,
the internet, radio, and television. He also includes facts he has overheard at parties.

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