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California Laundry

california laundry pte ltd, california laundry association
California Laundry was an early 1920s business in Hollywood, California, and in its day, possibly the city's largest business institution outside of the film studios It was located on Vine Street At the time it was established, the California Laundray was one of the few laundry businesses in the country in which each machine was driven by an individual motor, eliminating the possibility of a breakdown which would cripple the entire plant The machinery used in the California Laundry was the largest single shipment of laundry apparatus ever sent to the Pacific coast12


  • 1 Location
  • 2 History
  • 3 Operations
  • 4 Architecture and fittings
  • 5 References
  • 6 Bibliography


The owners acquired the entire block on which the plant was located Situated just south of Santa Monica Boulevard, the property had a frontage of 284 feet 87 m of Vine Street Parking was available on Vine Street and Eleanor Avenue2


Established in 1921, the laundry, representing an investment of $225,000, was an important addition to the industrial section of Hollywood The machinery used in the California Laundry was the largest single shipment of laundry apparatus ever sent to the Pacific coast, and was bought at an expense of $126,000, not including the boilers and water heat controlling machines Initially, 70 people were employed For the first three months, they worked without phone connections Expecting that the plant would have to be enlarged, the company owned the property just west of their initial building, allowing for expansion21

Henry Newby D N Childers

The business was directed by Henry Newby and D N Childers1 Newby, the president, was associated with banking institutions in Pasadena, California for twenty-five years He resigned as chairman of the National Bank of Pasadena when he became assistant manager of the Hotel Alexandria, of Los Angeles He was a director of the Troy Laundry Company, operating the Troy Laundry at Pasadena Childers, the vice-president and manager, resigned his position as manager of the laundry of the Hotel Alexandria, a position that he had held for two years, to start up the California Laundry Before becoming manager of the Hotel Alexandria’s laundry, Childers was superintendent of the San Bernardino Steam Laundry at San Bernardino The construction of the California Laundry plant had been under his direct supervision Charles Greenberg, a Hollywood attorney, was secretary J A Henley, Roy A Henley, Frank G Hogan, and L J Killian were on the Board of Directors2


The laundry operated in a rotary fashion Each of the drivers of the 26 trucks deposited his bundles in bins, from which they were taken to the marking and sorting rooms Here all silks, woolens, and fancy pieces were removed to be washed by hand1

The plant operated 10 washers Among the other machinery were two large flat work ironers, an 8 inches 200 mm handkerchief ironer, two drying tumblers, nine pressing machines, and a curtain dryer2 The clothing was washed in revolving machines, in filtered water with pure soap, and rinsed five times The wringers were centrifugal The thermostatic control heater kept the water at all times less than 180 degrees, while the water filtering tanks removed the elements harmful to linens and other materials The room next to that in which these tanks were located on the second floor was the store room, which contained barrels of starch, automobile tires, paper boxes, and almost a ton of twine There was a large dryer, made especially for bath towels, which dried them by a hot air process The flat work was protected in the mangles by canvas belts and aprons Men's shirts were mended and the cuffs turned if worn along the fold Stockings were dried and shaped at the same time on metal forms A stiff collar required more steps in the process of being laundried than any other article Two tanks, each of 1400 gallons capacity, contained soap flakes with the appropriate amount of water These 2800 gallons lasted only two days at the most The rough-dry work was done in a different part of the building, and the accounting for this department were kept separately One person was employed for placing new satin ribbon of different colors in ladies' garments, and tying blankets with ribbon bows1

Architecture and fittingsedit

The one-story plant building measured 110 by 150 feet 34 m × 46 m in size, and was of reinforced concrete construction There was a mezzanine floor on three sides The ceiling measured 37 feet 11 m in height, and the sides were largely made up of windows The all white exterior was surrounded with lawn, flowers, and shrubs A pergola, 110 feet 34 m in length, reached from the southern extremity of the building to Romaine Street and was intended as a dining area for employees On two sides of the building, there was a wide concrete driveway2

The interior of the building was finished in white, with the exception of the steel rafters high up in the center of the building, these having been painted a light green The fixtures were also painted white There was no overhead belt or shaft in the entire plant, as every machine was motor driven The electrical work was under the floor All the pipes which ran through the plant had an asbestos covering The rough dry department occupied a space 50 by 80 feet 15 m × 24 m in the rear of the building In one corner of the plant was a boiler room, with all condensation trapped back to the boiler A reinforced wall, inside the building and against the rear wall, made an enclosure 50 by 80 feet 15 m × 24 m and above this was an additional story for the water softening plant, as well as the soap and bleach making equipment The marking room, measuring 25 by 50 feet 76 m × 152 m, was on the mezzanine floor running along the west side of the building It employed an elevator to bring the work from the first floor to the marking room It also contained a system of chutes The mezzanine floor also contained a storeroom, 25 by 50 feet 76 m × 152 m; across one wall of it, lockers with shelves were used for smaller supplies A dining room and kitchen were also situated on that floor, running across the east side of the building2

The plant had three furnished offices On the first floor was a public office, opening on Vine Street; situated on the mezzanine floor above was a general office and the private office of Newby and Childers A dressing room for men employees opened into a bath room equipped with shower baths on the west side of the building2 There was a large locker room, a clinic, and a dining room1


This article incorporates text from a work in the public domain: National Laundry Journal's "National Laundry and Dry Cleaner" 1921 This article incorporates text from a work in the public domain: O M Donaldson's "Hollywood" 1922

  1. ^ a b c d e f Donaldson 1922, p 763
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h National Laundry Journal, Incorporated 1921, p 14


  • Donaldson, Orren M 1922 Hollywood 11 Public domain ed Holly Leaves 
  • National Laundry Journal, Incorporated 1921 National Laundry and Dry Cleaner 86 Public domain ed Chicago: Dowst Brothers Company 

Coordinates: 34°5′24″N 118°19′35″W / 3409000°N 11832639°W / 3409000; -11832639

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California Laundry

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