As the car wash industry turns 100, the International Carwash Association has been looking back to the roots of the business. They’ve posted a Facebook page, “100 Years of Car Wash,” dedicated to memories and memorabilia, and the centennial was featured in Forbes magazine. “Many of us Baby Boomers associate Workin’ at the Carwash with a catchy disco hit circa 1975, but the carwash as we know it actually started out in 1914,” the Forbes columnist wrote.
But how? Who was the mastermind behind the automatic clean-thru, so simple and yet so brilliant? The Carwash Association anticipated our curiosity. Yesterday, they posted this video created by Kyle Doyle in Detroit that explains everything.
The best part of the video is a still shot of a Life magazine story from 1947. The headline is “Two-Minute Car Washer.”
The American scene is now enlivened by an odd-looking, $16,000 contraption which not only washes and dries an automobile in two minutes but gives the customer a hydraulic display which in itself is worth the $1 he pays.
The article goes on to say that 88 such machines have been installed since the first one in 1946. Now, according to the International Carwash Association, there are 150,000 car washes in the world.