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Car Wash Facts

The First Automatic Car Wash Isn’t As Modern As You Think
In today’s world, getting your car washed is pretty simple. Drive up, sit back, and let the machines do the work. However, when cars were first invented, owners had no choice but to wash their vehicles by hand. The practice of hand-washing continued well into the 1930s. It wasn’t until 1940 that the first “automatic” conveyor car wash officially opened for business.

Started in Hollywood, California, this innovative car wash utilized a winch system that hooked to the bumper of the car and pulled it through. Unlike car washes today, men still had to soap, scrub, wipe, and dry the cars as they came through. While not quite as convenient as car washes today, this was the first step towards modernizing the car wash.

In 1946, a man by the name of Thomas Simpson invented the very first “semi automatic” car wash, which finally took much of the manual labor out of the equation. This car wash has a conveyor belt that hooked onto the bumper of the cars, while an overhead sprinkler and a set of manually operated brushes did all the heavy lifting. Next time you’re sitting in the car wash, consider just how far these marvels have come!