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Old 05-17-2014, 07:45 AM
 
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I'm talking about a laundry that not only washes but irons (sheets, blankets and bedding, underware, handkerchiefs, jeans, pants, blouses, towels, etc.); where mens' shirts are ironed with light, medium or heavy starch then folded with cardboard on the back and around the collar, a paper band around the front and sealed in plastic like a new shirt; where minor repairs are made on dry cleaned items free of charge and where furs are cleaned and stored for the summer?

I remember these as a kid, but they've disappeared just about everywhere.
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Old 05-17-2014, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Not where I want to be
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The service you're talking about (folding the shirts, starch, cardboard, etc) can be done at a dry cleaner, not a Laundromat. There are plenty of places that do this, you just have to look around and ask in the shop.

(and who irons bedding, underwear, towels, etc?)
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:47 AM
 
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I'm not asking about a laundromat with "wash & fold" service. Those places throw the laundry into a regular coin-op washer, then a dryer.

In an old-fashioned full service laundry, your clothes and sheets, table linens, etc. are first separated by type, marked with invisible ink, placed in netting and thrown into a very big commercial washer that can maybe do 250 pounds at a time. After drying, sheets, towels, underware, handkerchiefs, table linens, etc. are fed into a large scale ironing device called a "mangle," then folded and wrapped.

Shirts are ironed in a shirt ironing machine (most dry cleaners have these) then folded on a shirt folding machine (most dry cleaners don't have these) and wrapped. Shirts done in a dry cleaners are usually put on hangers.

Say you own super expensive 750 threads per inch cotton sheets. They really need to be ironed after washing. Who does this?
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:45 AM
 
Location: BK All Day
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wells5 View Post

Say you own super expensive 750 threads per inch cotton sheets. They really need to be ironed after washing. Who does this?
Thats not even that nice of a thread count...
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Old 05-17-2014, 03:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amisi View Post
The service you're talking about (folding the shirts, starch, cardboard, etc) can be done at a dry cleaner, not a Laundromat. There are plenty of places that do this, you just have to look around and ask in the shop.

(and who irons bedding, underwear, towels, etc?)
No, the OP was correct in that back in the day there were local laundries that not only did wash and fold but would also do ironing on premises of table and bed linens. Such places also did shirts, blouses, stiff collars and cuffs, along with men's formal shirts with starched fronts, etc.....

Some places were "French" hand laundries, others "Chinese" or whatever but they did exist.

You could find this places not only in NYC but many other urban areas as well except large parts of the South. Cheap domestic help (African Americans mainly) meant Miss. Hilly either had a girl come in or a laundress took the things.

These sorts of places were common probably up until the 1970's in some areas of NYC, though some held on a bit longer. Changes in fashions and textiles meant much less needed to be ironed. As the tumble dryer and automatic washing machines became more common in homes persons sent out much less laundry. What did often go out was only men's dress shirts, fancy blouses and other items that persons didn't want to do at home.

Laundry is a volume business. You either take in vast amounts at low rates to make your money, or smaller orders but charge more money. In New York City as elsewhere large commercial laundries can process shirts en masse for rates smaller shops cannot match. Smaller laundries are also hampered by the types of equipment they are allowed to install by zoning regulations for instance.

Small "hand laundries" survived in NYC often if they were located in areas of middle class to decent wealth. Mrs. Role's "Private Laundry" was located on Third Avenue in the 90's close enough to the carriage trade of the UES, CH and so forth.

Here is a link to a New York Magazine article from 1972 that speaks of the types of laundries found in NYC: New York Magazine - Google Books
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Old 05-17-2014, 03:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wells5 View Post
I'm talking about a laundry that not only washes but irons (sheets, blankets and bedding, underware, handkerchiefs, jeans, pants, blouses, towels, etc.); where mens' shirts are ironed with light, medium or heavy starch then folded with cardboard on the back and around the collar, a paper band around the front and sealed in plastic like a new shirt; where minor repairs are made on dry cleaned items free of charge and where furs are cleaned and stored for the summer?

I remember these as a kid, but they've disappeared just about everywhere.
What you seek is still around, just often broken up into various services.

There are "hand laundries" even those advertising themselves as adherents to "French" techniques. Some have physical locations, others operate as collect and deliver services. Meurice cleaners, Hallak, Mrs. Roles, Allo Laverie, Madame Paulette, and several others offer such services for everything from linens to men's dress shirts.

When it comes to "under garments" and other items that fall under family wash there are no end of "fluff and fold" services offered from local Laundromats to services such as "Hamperville".

Most all dry cleaners and laundries will return shirts folded with cardboard inserts, though some do use tissue paper instead. Some use cardboard collar supports others plastic, with some nothing at all. Ditto for bands (many use pins or clips instead which was how things were done before paper bands were invented). Many gentlemen do not like cardboard collar supports because they tend to break the shape of certain collars. So places switched to paper. In general however you often get what you pay for; if the shirts are going to a $1 per item place you can forget any fancy extras.

Furs most always go to places specialized in cleaning such items and are normally connected to furriers. Large department stores such as Macy's, Bloomingdales, A&S etc... used to offer fur cleaning and storage services, but not sure if that still applies. IIRC some of the larger dry cleaning services offer.
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Old 05-19-2014, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
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Back around 1968 (Pennsylvania) I would accumulate dress shirts for about 2 months, usually cotton oxford type things and the laundry down the block would run a weeklong sale usually every second month: $.12 a shirt, nicely starched to order and perfectly ironed, on hangers or boxed. (I would choose hangers unless I was planning on travelling when I would get them boxed for the suitcase (folded just like new shirts.)

I would bring in 30 shirts at a time.

THEM were the days.

Now if it is not wash and wear I don't want it...100% cotton, forget it. Dry cleaning needed...no way Hose'
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Old 05-19-2014, 07:05 AM
 
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Thanks for response, BugsyPal. I started this thread because there were 2 previous threads concerning in building laundry facilities and 24 hour laundromats.

Safety is a big concern in the city and so is having to "schlep" bags of laundry to a public laundromat and then competing with the other patrons for washers and driers and dirty table space to fold your wash. Without a car, carrying your laundry back home is a chore. And with exorbitant rent increases, many laundromats have closed.

Many apartment buildings don't have secured entry and even secured entry can be bypassed. Lots of women are anxious about being alone in the laundry room.

It was a heck of a lot better years ago when you could take all of your dirty laundry to a pick up point or have a "route man" pick it up (and later deliver). And those big commercial laundries did a better job at cleaning and ironing than most people (and certainly laundromats) can do today. It saved time and the cost was reasonable.
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:40 PM
 
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My family's business was laundromat and then dry cleaners. Those full service laundromat doesn't exist anymore because economics doesn't make sense. Those services were labor intensive, profit margin you could make on those were too small to do it on-site, plus you need special equipments, extra space (storage for boxes, detergeants, iron, etc.).

So the business transformed into sending those services into dry cleaner deal. Basically turning it into drop off/pick up shop. Laundromats would accept those cloths for services you want, take a cut, and sends it off to a dry cleaner to get it done. Those dry cleaners would be either mom & pop or factory type deal. It first started out mostly with mom and pop but eventually scale of business leveraged for factory since their COGS is lower and laundromat's cut could be higher or they price it lower for competition against another store.

It eventually got to a point where some mall dry cleaners just did sawing and stuff like that on-site but sent off their dry cleaning work to factory. Exception are those same day or one day cleaners, those places had their own. One time, my parents had a main store where we did all of the full service and another store which was just hole in a wall where you can drop/pick up. We'd go pick it up bring it back to main store, do the work, bring it back.

But anyhow, yeah it was inevitable for those full service laundromat to dissappear because it couldn't be sustained as business model. So what you get now most of the time is either coin laundromat and service is just wash/fold. Or you go find a dry cleaner. Those dry cleaners are also split into multiple type if you want eco friendly stuff or more luxury full service...all depend on location. But reality is that with soaring prices of commercial rental space prices, many mom & pop stores are dissappearing. What you get more is drop off/pick up shops. Just can't be helped.
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:15 AM
 
319 posts, read 488,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohiogirl22 View Post
Thats not even that nice of a thread count...
Oh please. Even a thread count snob would acknowledge that 750 thread count is quality. And a true bedding snob would know that thread count is last when choosing bedding; cotton origin and where it's woven being higher on the priority list.
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