By Luna

Venezia, 2008

I am going to raise a controversial topic that I just can’t resist. Please keep in mind I am not here to judge, but if I can get you to think about it, it will be good enough for me.

I cannot give an explanation for the existence of the dryers.

We have the best, most natural, free and powerful drying system available to the whole world. But in 1799, Monsieur M. Pochon felt the need to create the ventilator; the archetype of the tumble dryer. After him, many others modified it and improved it with the result that nowadays, we can choose between traditional dryers, microwave dryers and ventless dryers divided into spin, condenser, heat pump, mechanical steam compression, convection and solar clothes dryers.

I looked for the reason WHY the dryer was invented in the first place but I couldn’t find anything so I came out with some ideas:

  • Back in the 19th century, they didn’t have as many clothes as we do, thus there was the need to dry them within the day. This might be a good explanation if only the dryer wasn’t considered a privilege of rich people who, I guess, would have had the money to buy more clothes.
  • Given the lack of heating systems, it was a challenge to dry the laundry during winter.
  • Submarines and boats needed an efficient way to dry the garments of the soldiers without using too much space.

If I had to choose I would hope for the third explanation. But let’s get to the point. We are in the 21st century and dryers are everywhere. It seems they are considered an important and essential piece of the household, but let me get this straight: we spend money to buy it, maintain it, use it and, on top of that, it is not eco-friendly. Dryers use enormous amounts of energy. Why do we get insulted when they put taxes on water? Why do we feel offended in paying for the garbage? Why do we refuse to pay a carbon tax when we accept to pay for something that we have for free?

Before leaving you I give you some facts found in this website. If not used properly, dryers ruin your clothes by shrinking them or making them less soft. Dryers create static cling on your clothes that can be reduced by using dryer sheets. Unfortunately these can cause health problems in the long run due to the chemicals they contain. Finally, dryers can catch fire. It seems, in fact, that in the US there are 15.600 structure fires, 15 deaths and 400 injuries annually (data obtained from a 2007 report) due to clothes dryer fires.

However, I have never heard of clothes catching fire because of improper use of the sun.