Thread Number: 84747  /  Tag: Wringer Washers
Early Laundromat
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Post# 1092070   10/5/2020 at 13:22 (1,237 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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I stumbled across this photo of an early laundromat in Fort Worth, Texas.  Each station appears to have a wringer washer.  I suppose patrons washed and rinsed their clothes and wrung them out and then took them home to dry?

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Post# 1092105 , Reply# 1   10/5/2020 at 19:14 (1,236 days old) by jeb (Mansfield Ohiio)        

I think this is a WPA work camp or something like that. I've seen the picture before and it was credited with some kind of government housing. I don't think you had to pay money to use them.

Post# 1092118 , Reply# 2   10/5/2020 at 21:11 (1,236 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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If that wasn't washday drudgery, I don't know what was.

Post# 1092120 , Reply# 3   10/5/2020 at 22:15 (1,236 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        

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That's not even close to washday drudgery for that time period. Try kickstarting a hit and miss engine outside up north in the dead of winter, and that's after hand pumping water from a well, boiling it over a fire, and hauling/pouring it to/in the washer. I have great respect for the women who pulled that off back in the day.

Post# 1092123 , Reply# 4   10/5/2020 at 22:27 (1,236 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Member (late) Sudsmaster posted similar or maybe exact picture many years ago now.

These early laundromats (if you could call them that), were set up in various sorts of camps (such as for military families), and or in areas where homes didn't have indoor plumbing including hot and cold running water. Picture in OP might very well have been in a WPA sort of camp.

In 1934, the first laundromat, J.F. Cantrell's Washateria, opened its doors in Fort Worth, Texas. That place had wringer washers that customers rented by the hour.

Public wash houses existed in Europe at least for hundreds of years in various forms. Many early places were just sheds with tubs, water, etc.. But later on as electricity and laundry appliances came along places upgraded.

Post# 1092129 , Reply# 5   10/5/2020 at 22:42 (1,236 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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Dan, I knew somebody would reply with a worse case scenario, but the subject wash house (laundr-o-mat suggests at least some level of automation) was plenty bad enough. 


Is it any wonder that women composed such a small segment of the national workforce when there was so much manual labor involved in maintaining a household?

Post# 1092170 , Reply# 6   10/6/2020 at 09:25 (1,236 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I remember going a couple times with my mom to an old washateria in Seminary, MS that had a few wringer washers and tubs in addition to automatic machines. I was 3 or 4 at the time, so would have been late 50's.

Post# 1178494 , Reply# 7   4/19/2023 at 06:30 (311 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
So cool that

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Wash House in Britain!!

Happy Washateria Day

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