Just for the sake of being spot on the record, the 100 anniversary is for the “production line” car wash – an event that gathered 5,600 industry professionals to Chicago for this year’s International Carwash Association convention.
The association actually operates around 150,000 retail car wash locations globally – and we can only imagine how many more are besides. Way to go for an activity that we take for granted – it just keeps our beloved cars clean.
We’re sure that everyone started washing their cars since the onset of the first motorized vehicle – which generally goes to 1885’s Carl Benz tricycle. Well, it almost took another three decades to get the dirty work from the owner and into organized business.
With a generally large debate to whoever was first in doing so, the general consensus tends to favor the appropriately named town Motor City and the Frank McCormick and J.W. Hinkle partnership that started the “Automobile Laundry” in 1914.
Alter on, in 1951, Archie, Dean and Eldon Anderson from Seattle were the ones to completely automate the car washing – completely taking of the worker’s hand the soap applying, brushing, rinsing and even drying processes.
Today, estimates put at least 500,000 people in the car washing industry – which has taken all forms imaginable, from do-it yourself washing machines to completely automated washing malls.