Thursday Open Line

For urban dwellers, the hassle — or at least the expense — of doing their laundry began to ease on this date in 1934, when the first public, self-operated laundry in the U.S. opened its doors in Fort Worth, Texas. The first name was “Washateria,” eventually replaced with the now familiar “Laundromat.” Early facilities were not necessarily coin-operated, and there was always an attendant on duty. The automatic washing machine came along in 1937, and by the late 1940s, the first unattended, 24-hour Laundromats were opened. Now, there are nearly 14,000 coin-operated Laundromats across the country, and they do nearly $900 million of business annually. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <>.