If you are unsure if the proper term for The Dutchman’s Laundry and other self-service or coin-operated laundry facilities is laundromat, laundrymat, or laundry mat, you are not alone! In fact, this is a question we hear all of the time, so we thought we’d use this post to shed some light on the topic.
The History of Laundromats
Self-service laundromats are a somewhat recent concept and were first documented in Fort Worth, Texas in the 1930’s. These original self-service laundry facilities were initially known as washaterias. As these facilities offering automated, self-service laundry spread across the country and increased in popularity in the 1940’s and 1950’s, it became clear that a more official name was needed. This resulted in the term “laundromat” being officially coined for the business model by George Edward Pendray in conjunction with washing machine manufacturer Westinghouse.
Some Background on the Term Laundromat
So how did Pendray settle on the term laundromat? Many think it was due to 20th-century eateries known as automats. These automats were self-service restaurants filled with vending machines where customers could serve themselves. When searching for a term to describe the self-serve laundries that were rapidly increasing in popularity at the time, the word laundromat was created as an analogy merging the words laundry and automat.
A common misconception is that the term laundromat is spelled as laundry mat or laundrymat. Even if people know how to spell laundromat, the word is often mispronounced in the same way. However, the term should be spelled and pronounced as laundromat rather than laundry mat. The terms are so interchangeable in modern-day that most speech and text recognition, or search engines, recognize “laundrymat near me” as being “laundromat near me.”
Other Terms for Laundromat
Depending on where you live, you may hear other terms for a laundromat. For instance, many Texans still refer to them by their original name, washaterias. Although laundromat is the standard term used for coin laundries in the United States, Canada, and even New Zealand, people in the United Kingdom typically refer to them as launderettes or laundrettes.
And there you have it! Now you not only know the proper spelling and pronunciation of laundromat, but also a little bit of history on the term. If you are looking for a laundromat in Clarksville and the surrounding area, or just want to come by and learn a little bit more on the history or laundromats, stop by or contact us today.