Thread Number: 73912  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
The Baseball Player Who Also Ran A Laundry
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Post# 976377   1/1/2018 at 00:05 (293 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Philadelphia Phillies Robin Roberts was a co-owner of Bill's Washette in Springfield.

This post was last edited 01/01/2018 at 06:23

Post# 976522 , Reply# 1   1/1/2018 at 20:39 (292 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Neat pics, thanks,, Launderess. I've seen the term "bachelor bundles" used in prewar adverts. Don't remember the details but it was incredibly inexpensive by modern standards. You can see why bachelors did not need to bother with wringer washers and set tubs.

Those were the days hen baseball players didn't make so much money. It was common for them to have jobs or businesses on the side. Bill Terry of the NY Giants owned a filling station in Memphis, for instance.

Post# 976524 , Reply# 2   1/1/2018 at 21:11 (292 days old) by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        
Wash and Fold Service

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Neat story and two seriously great photographs, really gives a feel for the time period.


My dry cleaner offers this "wash and fold" service, I see bags of folded clothing sitting racks on waiting to be picked up. I will have to ask what they charge. 


I did find a different cleaner in the area offering these "laundry plans."


It does make me curious, I wonder what my laundry volume weighs on a monthly basis.





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Post# 976565 , Reply# 3   1/2/2018 at 05:43 (292 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
A few comments....

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Notice Bill's Washette makes big noise about "individual washing".

This was a small laundromat promoting that their "fluff and fold" service did laundry orders individually in separate machines. Though common enough today back in the 1950's (when this picture was taken), 1940's and really since industrial laundries came upon the scene most all did loads in huge machines. Items were either marked or placed in nets in order to tell what belonged to who.

Many households felt this practice was unsanitary because you never know where other people's washing has been. Your bed linens could be in the same wash as the knocking shop across town. That and there was an incredible fear of disease, especially pre WWII before modern antibiotics came along.

Of course many modern large commercial laundries today still "mark and mix" laundry orders. Using several large machines is far more economical than having many smaller washers and dryers, but there you are then.

*Damp Wash*

Though rarely found today, but well into the 1950's you could still find laundries that offered "damp wash" service. Your order would be washed (by hand or machine), extracted, maybe starched if requested, extracted again then folded (damp) and returned. The household would take the damp linen and either dry it at home (hanging up usually) or more likely some or all the items would be ironed.

Damp wash service was a boon to households before washing machines (semi or fuly automatic) became more common. It relieved Madame or whoever from the burden and mess of washing laundry by hand or even with a wringer/semi automatic. Commercial washers or extractors left laundry far more dry than wringers, and did so more evenly so things were ready to iron. Only caveat being the household in question had to live rather close or pick-up their laundry quickly when done. Can you imagine leaving a damp bundle of wash sitting around for several hours? It certainly couldn't remain over night.

Today with modern fully automatic washers leaving things "damp dry" at end of cycle, the service is no longer truly necessary and has vanished. If you don't own a washing machine just go to a laundromat and take your washing home instead of using dryer after washing.

Cook Machinery Company made a variety of commercial washing machines, dryers, and other cleaning machines. WASHETTE, TUMBLETTE (dryers), COINETTE (coin operated meters for washers and dryers), and so forth.

*Bachelor Bundles*

Yes, some dry cleaners/laundries still offer that service.

Historically bachelor bundles were confined to men's shirts, undergarments, socks with the first washed, starched and ironed. Until a certain point in time you could add (detachable) collars or cuffs to that list.

Of course a gentleman could send whatever else he liked; bed, bath and table linen, pajamas, handkerchiefs, etc... but they might be priced differently though still part of the same "bundle".

Post# 976573 , Reply# 4   1/2/2018 at 08:28 (292 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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I used to clean homes/apartments for bachelors at one time.....

first I was doing laundry in their homes, they loved the look of fresh ironed shirts, better than what the local laundry would do.....

within time, I was doing several laundry only for some of the guys....if you want to pick up some laundry business on the side, start with law enforcement, firemen, EMT's....all it takes is one or two to spread the word....

if you can do it better and cheaper than a local laundry, you WILL be swamped...

Post# 976575 , Reply# 5   1/2/2018 at 09:24 (292 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I am amazed at the number of women as well as men who hate doing laundry, but oh well. I know from when I did my mother's laundry when she was in the retirement places up here that it is not the washing and drying, it is the shlepping and folding and putting on hangers and shlepping back that kills the joy in doing laundry for others.


Back when I used to fantasize about living a retirement life in Florida, I thought it might be fun to find someone with a small motel with an on premises laundry and have a crack at doing the laundry, but what you dream in your 30s and can do in retirement are not always the same thing.  Down in FL, the real moneymaker is driving old people to the doctor and other places. A friend reported that her mother was paying someone $15 an hour to do that in the 1980s.  I would imagine that in most places you would need to have license and insurance issues settled if you were doing more than occasional volunteering.  

Post# 976578 , Reply# 6   1/2/2018 at 09:45 (292 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Laundry is sheer drugery

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After awhile for even those with all latest mod cons. It is like other feats of housework a task that seemingly never ends. Soon as you've thought everything was done, a day or so later you're back at it again.

Historically laundry was one of the first things any household with extra money "hired out".

Mind you standards have been lowered over the decades so there is that to consider. Men's dress shirts are still sent out or ironed at home, but overall there is far less of that (starching and ironing) than in past.

Overall we have also made our own trouble as well. Back in the day people wore things often more than once (or twice) before it went to the wash. Now we change clothing several times per day and things only on for a few hours (or less) go straight into the hamper. All this taking into account most do not get anywhere near dirty as in times past.

Children rarely it seems go out an play any more; they just stay indoors glued to some type of screen. We work in air conditioned offices, drive in air conditioned cars, etc....

As for doing laundry for the elderly, you can have it. Several years as nursing assistant then a tour through nursing school taught one all one needs to know about linens and apparel with "accidents". No adult diapers or even Chux back then either.

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