Brief History of Laundry

November 23, 2018

Did you know that ancient Rome was the place where laundry services were first offered? In comparison to their counterparts, ancient Rome had highly sophisticated urban systems which allowed this to happen. Clothes washers known as fullones were tasked to wash and clean the clothes of Roman citizens. This was due to the wool used to make clothes then, which absorbed a lot of sweat due to the hot climate of Italy.  Pliny, the Roman author and philosopher, has described laundry services in his writing but laundry services in ancient Rome are best explained by some paintings found on the walls at Pompeii.

Laundry was a man’s job in ancient Rome as it was highly laborious. Clothes were first washed in vats, where fullones would stamp on them to remove dirt debris in the clothes. After which, the clothes were hung out to dry. When the clothing was dry, the wool had to be brushed before being hung on the viminea cavea , a special basket under which sulphur was placed to bleach the cloth. Cimolian, a fine white earth, was also rubbed into garments to increase whiteness of the garments.

In ancient Europe where laundry services were not available, people had to manually scrub at their own garments at water bodies. Thankfully for us living in the 21st century, such laborious tasks are a thing of the past. The design of the laundry machine has changed significantly since it was conceived in 1782 by H. Sidgier of Great Britain. The first manual laundry machines mimicked the act of a human hand on the washboard and was first patented in the United States in 1846. Given the growing middle class during the Industrial Revolution happening at the same time, these labour-saving devices eased the workload of the working class. As such, popularity of these devices grew.

In 1908, mankind saw its first electric laundry machine. However, The Thor laundry machine in the US was targeted at the commercial laundry market. While this was happening, Maytag Corporation, also in the US, developed laundry machines for the consumer market. Since then, other brands and companies have come forth to produce their own laundry machines. Today, it is common to see an array of laundry machine models and brands when we are sourcing for one ourselves.

Doing laundry today is not as laborious as what the fullones had to do and doing our laundry requires less time than before. However, our schedules are much more packed than our predecessors’ and society demands more of each person than before. Furthermore, some garments such as those with intricate lace designs or those made of silk material require extra care which most of us lack the expertise to handle and wash.

With platforms such as Sendhelper, you can get laundry services at your doorstep at an affordable rate in Singapore. Quality laundry services and dry cleaning not only maintains the quality of your clothes throughout the years, it also takes one task off the list of responsibilities which you have to answer to. Available on iOS App Store and Android Play Store, you can now book laundry services at your own convenience now!

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