A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 25, 2007
Washeteria (Washateria; Washiteria)

The “washeteria” (wash + cafeteria) is often spelled “"washateria" or even “washiteria” (with the dirty word in the middle). The washeteria is popular in the South; it is called a “laundromat” or “launderette” is other places.

The Modern Mechanix (January 1936) article in the November 1, 2005 post (below) asserts that the first “washeteria” was opened by C. A. Tannahill of Fort Worth.

Fact Monster
Pronunciation: (wosh"u-tēr’ē-u, wô"shu-)
—n. Chiefly Southern U.S.
a launderette. Also,washeteria.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

wash·e·teria (wŏsh’ĭ-tîr’ē-ə, wô’shĭ-)
A laundromat.

Urban Dictionary
(noun) where jase and the other scragglers wash they clothes.
“One of you pledges needs to give me a ride to the washateria. I am running out of clothes. I will let Solana wash some stuff but not my underwear because they stank.”
by Ches Fedric Miss. State Univ. Nov 1, 2005

Mr. Smarty Pants (Austin Chronicle)
Laundromat Facts

The word “washateria,” primarily used in the South, came into the English language around 1937.

Bendix Appliances invented the automatic washing machine in 1937.

The word “laundromat” was registered as a trademark by Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of White Consolidated Industries on Oct. 1, 1947. Westinghouse listed the word as first being used in commerce on Oct. 26, 1940, and renewed the trademark in 1988.

Early laundromats were open specific hours, and since they did not necessarily feature coin-operated machines, there was always an attendant on duty. Some even required that you make an appointment.

The first unattended, 24-hour self-service laundromat in the United States was opened by Nelson Puett in 1949 on North Loop in Austin, Texas about where present day Room Service is located.

According to the March 1950 issue of Nation’s Business, there were an estimated 4,000 laundromats, laundrettes, laundreezes, and assorted self-service washeries nationwide in 1950.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
orig. and chiefly U.S.
Also washateria. [f. WASH v. + -ETERIA.]

1959 [see -TERIA suffix].
1966 Sunday Times 17 July 30 Now that we have grown accustomed to the blandishments of..something called Washeterias, the next step may be drive-in laundries.
b. car washeteria: a self-service car-washing establishment.
1965 Daily Tel. 14 May 20/2 (Advt.), The demand from motorists for simple-to-operate inexpensive car washing facilities will go on growing. Here’s how the Car Washeteria answers these requirements.

27 October 1940, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section 2, pg. 7 classified ad:
FOR SALE at a bargain, Washateria, all new equipment, one year old. If interested see DOSSIE DEEDS at Top Rail stand in Cedar Hill, Texas.

11 November 1941, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section 2, pg. 3 classified ad:
FOR SALE—Money-making washeteria, account being draftee. Good equipment, business well established. JOE BOX, Grapevine, Texas. 

The Daily Texican
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Spanglish Word Of The Day - Washateria
Washateria: This has to be one of the best words I’ve heard, because it’s even been introduced into the maintstream. Drive by a laundry mat in Oak Cliff or East Dallas and it says: Washateria.
Oh my god, that’s awesome.
posted by Daily Texican at 11:33 AM
Anonymous said…
also, it’s spelled “washeteria”
and it is not “Spanglish”
10:40 PM
Anonymous said…
I grew up in East Texas and never saw a spanish person, we always said “washateria” I never heard laundromat used until I went to college in San Antonio
12:46 PM

Modern Mechanix
November 21, 2005
Powered by Gregarious
World’s First Washeteria Opened (Jan, 1936)
Filed under: Origins — @ 3:49 pm
Source: Modern Mechanix 1-1936
A new idea promptly put to work has resulted in a fast growing business for Mr. C. A. Tannahill of Fort Worth, Texas. He decided women who did not have room for a modern laundry in their home would be glad to pay to do their own washing in a place that did. He established the world’s first washeteria, and found he was right.

4776 Hammel
Texas is strange, its also the place that calls laundry mats washiterias.

Goods and Services (EXPIRED) IC 037. US 103. G & S: COIN OPERATED LAUNDRY SERVICE. FIRST USE: 19590505. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19590505
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 72080687
Filing Date September 1, 1959
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0740756
Registration Date November 13, 1962
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, October 25, 2007 • Permalink