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Photographs of car wash from 100 years ago leaves people shocked at how vehicles used to be cleaned

Photographs of car wash from 100 years ago leaves people shocked at how vehicles used to be cleaned

It's actually a pretty genius way of doing things.

Nowadays, people can be very precious about how they wash their cars - using all the conveniences of modern technology to target every last speck of dirt.

But hand-held pressure washers were not always household staples - and 100 years ago, drivers had to do something very different with their motors.

A fascinating history lesson has been posted on the subreddit Damnthatsinteresting, explaining how the 'Auto Wash Bowl' cleaned cars back in the 1920s.

The post suggests the concept originally came from Minnesota and was patented CP Bohland in 1921.

The idea was simple: cars drove around it was a vast basin filled with water, cleaning their wheels and chassis.

It was an invention that took the term 'carpool' literally.

According to the Reddit post, customers would pay 25 cents to enter a 24-meter-wide bowl down a ramp, and drive around the circumference at a modest 10 miles per hour. The motion of the car over the bowl, which was covered in ridges and contained water up to 16 inches deep, would create a slosh that washed the mud off the wheels and the base of the vehicle.

And they certainly needed a good clean - car wheels were especially muddy in the 1920s due to a lack of paved roads in the US at the time.

According to the post, about 75 cars went through the wash bowl per hour.

The bath was a quick one - five minutes was all it took for a good rinse - and afterwards drivers had the option to clean the rest of their car.

timhughes / Getty
timhughes / Getty

One person on Reddit pointed out that the Wash Bowl is “much more fun than the car washes we have now".

Another commenter replied: “I can see a lot of dogs agreeing”.

A third chimed in: "I can only imagine doing a donut in the middle with all the water."

For those wondering how the Wash Bowl could have prevented the water from becoming increasingly muddy as each car deposited its dirt, the full patent from 1921 explains it all, and is available online (full credit to anyone who can understand it).

Bohland apparently opened another branch in Chicago, but the Wash Bowl eventually fell out of fashion.

Nowadays, not many manufacturers would recommend driving their cars through water if you can help it - but the wash bowl certainly looks like a whole heap of fun.

Featured Image Credit: brushcom