Warm air has long been available to mankind but, apart from warming our hands over an open fire in winter, it was not until the invention and wide spread use of electricity that warm air hand drying became both possible and practical. Strange to say, the modern Electric Hand Dryer can have its roots traced back to the first vacuum cleaners powered by electricity and, then, electrically powered hair dryers.
Before 1890, people actually used early vacuum cleaners (in, albeit, a not very efficient manner) to dry wet hair. Alexander’s 1890 invention of a hair dryer was in fact inspired by the vacuum cleaner and it was neither portable nor hand held. It was floor standing and he installed it in his hair salon in France where customers would have to sit under it for hours before their hair was completely dry.
Electric Hand Held Hair Dryers
These began to appear on the American market around 1915. These were developments from a 1911 patent granted to an Armenian American called Gabriel Kazanjian. They were all somewhat unwieldy to hold and did not make the air being blown onto a user’s hair all that warm; so it still took quite a while to get one’s hair dry. Improvements in electric motors, heating elements and lighter weight materials allowed these early hair dryers to evolve into today’s nearly universal appliance.
Blow Warmed Air Over Anything And It Dries
It did not require a breakthrough in thinking or technology to realize that a machine that blows warm air over someone’s hair could also be used for drying people’s hands. It just need some common sense coupled with adaptation to turn a hair dryer into An Electric Hand Dryer. In fact, the Airdry Corporation of Groton New York took out the first Electric Hand Dryer patent as early as 1921 and marketed their invention as “Airdry The Electric Towel”. These were quite large, floor standing machines that blew warmed air downwards from an opening in a curved neck atop a hollow stand. Heating elements, blower and motor were housed in the base of the machine and operated by a foot pedal. These Airdry units soon gained ground in public restrooms, barbershops and factories across the nation.
The smaller, wall mounted electric hand dryers that began to appear around 1948 were not so dissimilar from the Electric Hand Dryer of today. A major difference was first introduced around 1993 when dryers started to appear that blew the air jets onto both sides of the hands so that water is actually blown off rather than merely evaporating until the hands are dry. This is, perhaps, the basis of the most user preferred Electric Hand Dryer to date.
World Dryer made their first Electric Hand Dryer 1951 and, today, they are world leaders in their field.