A 1962 newspaper advertisement for Minit-Man Car Wash in Oregon. Notice the reference to "Chem-Therm" equipment. The company was later acquired by Sherman Industries.
An early high-pressure car wash, perhaps about 1950s?
(Forbes.com): "100 Years of Working at the Car Wash"
Here's an early car wash at work in Essen, Germany, about 1964.
"Lore and Order in the Car Wash". Here's an interesting article about the start of Sherman Industries, and the state of the car wash industry in 1986.
In the 1950s, Miton Car Wash Equipment company devised a very unique product with their fully-functional whale car wash!
1960s catalog from Dyna-Co., Inc., courtesy of the Kansas
Benny's Car Wash 1970's
Early hand wash with pull chain conveyor, and a "manual top brush"!
Here's a photo, thanks to the Detroit Historical Society, of Paul's Auto Wash - the world's first automatic car wash, which opened in 1946. An early Paul's sign is in storage at the Society.
1950s era car wash from a history of Baltimore, Maryland car dealerships. Note, at the bottom of the page, a classic Minit Man wash as well.
Does anyone want to take a guess at the year of this photo? Recognize the car wash or dryer system?
This was in an old Chrysler plant in Detroit. An old Hanna syetem. Note the Vertical Window Brushes staggered with the side/rocker brushes! I'd love to find pictures of this type of equipment operating. When I was a kid, everybody was still using bristle, and often had the window brushes! This is my second month in the business. If I do well, I'd like to have a set of window brushes installed using foam instead of bristle.
This was the first California Combi system that combined brushing waxing and drying in one unit. Launched in the U.k. 1968. This picture was taken by myself in around 1974. At Sale Manchester England. At then Then Royal Garage. This machine was manufactured by Rohe California in Germany. A very popular machine good quality and fantastic design.
Photo of Minit-Man Auto Wash built by Leo J. Rousseau
Minit-Man Car Wash Sign with Margaret Rousseau (Alison)
Thanks to iClean Carwash Technologies, of The Netherlands, for sharing this bit of history from 1962! We, IClean Carwash Technologies, installed the first automatic carwash in the Netherlands in 1962. It was made in the USA!!!
This was the first and early type of Automatic car wash used before automatic brush systems were introduced in 1961. Over time after that German and other machines replaced these type.
Here's a old advertisement from Car-O-Matic, an early manufacturer of car wash systems. "Automatically washes, rinses, waxes and semi-drys cars in just 90 seconds!"
Here's Paul Automatic Car Wash, the first automatic car wash! (Detroit, Michigan)
The "Chicago Auto Bowl" was an early process line car wash, like the Automobile Laundry in Detroit. Here is a look at the site's layout.
Here's a look at the interior of the Chicago Auto Bowl, about 1920s. Note the conveyor belt floor and the "rain arches" that washed the top of the cars.
"Car Wash Beauty Pageant, 1951" (Muller Bros. Car Wash of Los Angeles, as covered in LIFE Magazine)
If the dirt does not come to Fink washer, the washer comes to aircraft on 16 April 1997 was "Skywash" taken the world's first aircraft washing plant. Until then, technicians had to wet hands, the cleaning took about eleven hours. The machine is the Boeing after three hours again shine.
First Automatic car wash in Europe 1930s
B.K. Gillespie was a Los Angeles realtor who built the successful El Patio Auto Laundry in 1926 (see an earlier post for photos). In 1928, backed by the head of the Motion Picture Association, he launched the Gillespie Automobile Laundry System. Nearly two dozen car washes were eventually built with that system, from the Pacific Coast to Atlanta. Here is a 1933 patent application for part of a Gillespie system. You might wonder why the reclaimed water seems to be routed up to the wash process again. This is because the system envisioned using a cleaning medium "which may take the form of soft materials such as finely-cut pieces of felt, or cotton, or sponge impregnated with a cleaning solution" that would be continually used. So, this separation system got rid of the water and kept the rest.
A prized relic at the ICA's headquarters office - a brick from Paul's Automatic Auto Wash.
This was a roll over unit made by a Pioneering firm called Emanual of Italy. Very big until about 1974. They exist in name only but now make lifting gear for railways. Some years ahead of many other firms.
Here is a great picture of a 1960 production line from Ceccato in Italy.
1930s car wash, using high pressure arches.
We actually don't know when or where this photograph is from, but we didn't want that to stop us from sharing it! We'd love your guesses!
"A Dollar Car-Wash Idea That Is Paying a Dividend" (Motor Age Magazine, December 1921)
A California Car Wash Systems top brush unit from Autobell Car Wash in 1974, the year they washed their one millionth vehicle.
Thanks to Max Speed for this 1985 photograph of Bayview Car Wash.
Thanks to Jamison Sommers for sharing this classic car wash photograph of Metropolitan Car Wash in Los Angeles, California, about 1955. Great example of "googie" architecture!
Old Auto Wash in California, about 1923. Note the price of $1 for "open" and $1.50 for "closed."
A new Sherman Super Sonic conveyor system in operation, about 1962.
With registration opening this week for The Car Wash Show, we thought we'd take a look back at how International Carwash Association used to travel! The planes may have been slower, but they also didn't charge for the peanuts!
Did you ever take a trip to "Hanna-Land"? Here's a great photograph from a 1960s event sponsored by the forerunner of today's Coleman Hanna Carwash Systems.
Years ago, "The Big Brush" was a must-see on the trade show floor. What are you looking forward to seeing on the 2015 Show floor? #TBT
Thanks to Brandon Williams for sharing this early 90s advertisement for a Shammy Shine Mitter Robot!
?TBT? - "Two Bit Car Wash" in an undated photograph.
We've posted photographs of the Whale Car Washes previously, but here is a great album of photos and news articles about Willy the Whale Car Washes in the Niagara Falls, NY area. It seems that not everyone agreed that whale-shaped car washes were an architectural enhancement!
Undated photo of an early car wash system in Germany, courtesy of BP Germany.
Here's a news item from "Horseless Age Magazine" (what a name!) from January 1912. As we learned just recently, and this further proves, the first production line car wash wasn't opened in Detroit in 1914, but at least two years earlier in Portland. (Detroit still holds the title of first automated car wash, opened in the late 1940s.)
In the 1960s, Florida began experimenting with free car washes for motorists using its new turnpike. A newspaper article from the time cited two reasons for the service:
"It'll be a nice welcome to the Sunshine State. You always feel better and drive better when your car looks good," stated the chairman of the Florida Turnpike Authority. "Perhaps the most important motivation, though, was safety." The chairman hoped that a car wash might entice motorists to slow down. (St. Petersburg Times, May 1968)
We're excited to add this treasure, on loan from the Detroit Historical Society, to the ICA headquarters this week. Do you know the history behind this sign?
1915 patent application for a high-pressure "washing apparatus" from Harry Mason of Wayne County, Michigan.
Tracking down photos of Emanuel (IT) car wash equipment hasn't been easy, but here is an ad from the 1960s. We'd love to find more!
Speedway Car Wash, Massachusetts, 1957.
Minit Car Wash. Wheeling, West Virginia.
Cars-A- Poppin Full Serve Car Wash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, owned by Bill Morrison, about 1950s.
12 self-service car wash photographs from "Bay Views" by photographer Mark Lyon.
"This ongoing series examines the relationship between self-service car wash bays and the adjoining landscapes. In their intended function, these semiprivate bays take the place of the family driveway to restore our carsí fleeting luster. The spaces appear secluded as they are captured at night with exposures timed around the fluctuating cycles of street lights and traffic patterns. Variations in seasonal weather conditions, as well as the shifting balance of interior and exterior light transform these ubiquitous spaces into something unfamiliar."
Ad for an early car wash system from Emanuel, a pioneering Italian manufacturer. (Yes, that is a full-sized Fiat!)
Interesting architecture from Mr. B's Royal Car Wash in St. Paul, Minnesota, about 1972.
Approximately 25 "Ozzies" were built by the Octopus Car Wash chain, beginning in the 1960s.
For 30 years, "Going to Farb's" meant only one thing in Toronto: visiting the famous Farb's Car Wash in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Saul Farb emigrated from Poland in the early 1900s and bought Walsh's 10 Minute Car Wash at the corner of University Avenue and Richmond Street in 1941. In 1953, the business moved to the corner of King and John streets. The family business and Toronto landmark closed in 1971.
Visit a ROBO car wash and win... an elephant? (Courtesy LIFE Magazine, circa 1970)
The fashions may have changed, but the fun remains! One week today, we open the doors to the world's largest car wash convention and trade show.
"Endless Conveyor Moves Cars Thru Auto Laundry" Courtesy of Modern Mechanix: November, 1934.
Listen to the chief curator of the Detroit Historical Society talk about the very beginnings of car washing in Detroit - home to the first automated car wash in the world.
(Who wants to tell the Motor City that the earliest production line car wash we've found was in 1911 in Portland, Oregon - and not Detroit's Automobile Laundry in 1913?)
Here is a 1940s car wash at an army base in Amarillo, TX