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Who Invented the Hand Dryer?

You may be surprised by the impact that the simple hand dryer has had on daily life over the last 70+ years. Today’s current examples of advanced hand dryers began with an idea that George Clemens brainstormed back in 1948. According to Clean Link, this talented inventor from Chicago, Illinois developed one of the first electric dryers of this type. Over the years, this important invention would undergo functionality and design changes to make into the modern product found in many public restrooms around the country.

Market Watch refers to the industry that these products are sold in as the Hand Dryers Market. Although they are popular around the world for their utility and importance to personal hygiene, there are still a large number of public restrooms that do not have dryers in them. Clemens’s work on this one invention served to birth the industry and one of the most popular companies, World Dryer that manufactured them for decades.

The Importance of Progress

Not improving the design and its capabilities eventually caught up with the company, so says Atlas Obscura. The slow move to innovate the hand dryer worked to open the door to others in the industry. World Dryer for a time had the larger markets locked into their product offerings, but new inventors around the world would continue to reimagine the product. One of Clemens’s and other developers’ objectives was to reduce the use of towels and paper products in public restrooms.

Diverse Business Impacts

Most people are so accustomed to seeing hand dryer products in daily life, they don’t actually think about them. These are essential components of any public restroom design because of the hygiene goals of users.

Chain stores will purchase these for not simply one location but all of them. This makes reliability of critical importance in large scale purchasing decisions. The popularity and need for these dryers has propelled Clemens’ invention into the history books and established its own market.

Necessary Product Changes

The loudness of the original designs was something that needed to be considered for more modern versions. Although the product design and production began here in America with George Clemens’ bright vision, it would go on to change and evolve through the work of inventors around the world. Improved models like the Bobrick hand dryer have contributed to an ever-expanding market of staple products in an array of buildings, public spaces, and areas of commerce. This need will likely be responded to by many other advanced designs in the future.

Foundation for Advancements

Before Clemens gained popularity for his invention, there were others like Watrous and Basset that preceded him in this field. Clemens successfully took the hand dryer project to the next level, just as companies like Dyson are doing now. His original goal included being able to thoroughly evaporate water particles on the hands.

This work set the foundation for greater advancements in the product and the industry. Touchless dryers, for example, fit into a category of their own that has set the bar for other designs. There are certain design features for public restrooms that will be used no matter what the location happens to be. Some are designed with affordability and features in mind, while others serve to make a luxurious impression on users.

These dryers are essential for these public locations and essential for many operations. Food service and medical care are two fields that require these products and their use by staff. Clemens’ invention has steered production and made hygiene goals a critical objective for every industry.

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