Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Invention Convention: No More "Blue Mondays"

        In the early 1900s there was a new appliance hitting the laundry scene: the dryer. Although many families could not afford them until the 1930s or 1940s, the Wilsons had one of these revolutionary machines in their laundry room at their house on S street in DC. The machine the Wilsons owned was a little different from the ones that we are used to. This dryer was called the “Chicago Dryer.” It had rods to hang your clothes on that slid out. It also took up a lot of space. The laundry room is on the fourth floor of the Wilson House; which, unfortunately, is not open to visitors due to fire safety regulations and accessibility issues. But, here's a picture of it in what is now an office.

        Like many other new technological appliances, the dryer was advertised in magazines and catalogs. The House and Garden magazine from January 1921 includes a description of the appliance and its benefits to your home:
        “In the heated air dryer is found a solution for questionable Monday weather. It is feasible for the private house. Electricity, gas or kerosene supplies the heat and fresh air is constantly circulated so that the clothes are thoroughly ventilated. The feature of the type shown here is the overhead track on which the clothes racks slide easily and smoothly. Simple dryers with only two racks can be purchased for the small laundry and any stove used in the laundry can be connected up with the dryer to supply the necessary heat.”
        Another ad that ran spoke of avoiding “Blue Mondays,” or rainy Mondays:

        Although you cannot see this particular technology when visiting the Wilson House, there are other items scattered around the house that were also invented in the Progressive Era.

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