Car wash technology has seen a vast number of changes in just over a hundred years. Fully-automated car washes seem commonplace these days, but just over a hundred years ago, this type of technology was not even dreamt of.
The first car wash business was opened in Detroit in 1914, and was called the “Automated Laundry”. At this wash, cars were pushed manually through a tunnel, within which workers soaped, rinsed, and dried the vehicle being cleaned. Each worker had a specific task, which gave the wash an assembly-line feel.
The Evolution of Automation
In 1940, the first “automated” conveyor-style car wash was opened in Hollywood, California. This new style of wash was “automated” in that a winch system was used to pull the car being washed through the cleaning tunnel. Workers were still present in the tunnel to soap, rinse, and dry the car.
In 1946, Thomas Simpson brought new technology to the car wash industry through the introduction of a semiautomatic car washing system that included a conveyor belt for moving vehicles through the wash, an overhead sprinkler for washing vehicles, and a 50 HP air blower for drying the car.
Just five years later, the Anderson brothers opened the first hands-free automatic car wash in Seattle, Washington. This car wash used machines to do all of the work, including pulling the cars through the tunnel and soaping, scrubbing, rinsing, and drying the vehicles.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, more car washes became to pop up with the addition of this new automated technology. Other inventions, such as recirculating water systems, soft cloth friction washing, and wraparound brushes, also came about during this time. While the car washes of the 50s and 60s were quite different from those we see today, they were a vast improvement from the fully manual options of the 1910s.
Car Washes Today
Car washes continue to evolve to this day to meet the needs of different customers. Various car wash options are available, from self-serve to full-service washes, to meet the specific demands and price points of different customers. In addition, car wash technology still continues to progress. Today’s car washes are becoming more environmentally-friendly with the introduction of milder soaps, technology that requires less water and energy to operate, and water recycling systems that allow up to 95% of used wash water to be reused on future washes. With the high demand for car washes, it is likely that the car wash of today will be unrecognizable in 50 years.
For more information about Aqua Bio and how our systems are designed to save you and your car wash a ton of money by reusing 100% of the water collected contact us today.