Business Details

Lusk Steam Laundry

The Lusk Standard, March 14, 1919

Excerpt from "Lusk Is the City of the Future"


Work has already begun on the Lusk Steam Laundry, which will occupy the location next to the Northwest Lumber company, across the track. The building is of standard factory construction and will be 42x120, one story in height, with a garage adjoining it on the northwest for their two trucks. This building, which is estimated to cost about $25,000,will be constructed of brick with front of red pressed brick, trimmed with a brick of lighter hue. There will be plenty if windows on either side to furnish the necessary daylight and for ventilation. The roof will be supported by girder trusses placed every 14 1/2 feet thereby doing  away with any floor supports. there will be three entrances at the front part of the building, two fronting the street and one on the south side. A regular distribution system will be used, the bundles being brought in at the receiving door, taken through the laundrying process and to the distributing room where they will be sorted, marked, wrapped and forwarded. A skylight and ventilator will be place in the center of the building insuring ample ventilation. The machinery for the plant is entirely electrically driven, being of the very latest and complete type, which is due to arrive some time before the completion of the building, which will  be inside of sixty days.


The Lusk Standard, May 9, 1919


The Lusk Laundry is nearing completion and manager Volmar is enthusiastic over the opportunity here for the laundry buisness.

Contractors Dutton and Kendall have rushed the big job from the time the work was first started with the result that the building will be the first big job to be completed since the boom started.

Manager Vollmar has many years experience inn the laundry business and used his knowledge advantageously in the arrangement of the building.

In the southeast corner is the commodious and well lighted business office, off from which a door leads direct to the work room of the laundry.

On the south side of the work room is a door through which will pass the laundry after if has been picked up around the town. Directly in line with this doorway is the large battery of washing machines into which the work will be put and from there it will gradually work around to the delivery door, all the machines being placed to handle the work systematically, thereby turning out a maximum amount of work with minimum working force. 

The ceiling is especially high with ventilators placed at the highest point to relieve the work room of all unnecessary heat and foul air.

Mr. Vollmar says absolute cleanness around the laundry is the main essential and to this end he has had the building constructed. the window frames are of steel and are set in concrete which will prevent all dust from sifting in. Smaller windows are set in the large ones, which are controlled by a lever, lowering and raising them to any angle, which also helps to maintain perfect ventilation.

The floors are cement and are laid on a slant, which allows all water to run off leaving a dry surface on the floor for the workmen.

There will be one large 10-horse motor to run the ten washers and outside of the every piece of machinery will be driven electrically with and individual motor.

The will generate their own motor power, having installed a 75-horse engine and a large boiler in their boiler room. These heavy pieces will be set in concrete. Just off the boiler room is a coal bin large enough to hold a couple cars of coal.

Toilet facilities have been conveniently placed and everything is being done for the comfort of the workmen.

A large double garage room is also being built in the building for the housing of their cars. the delivery car has already arrived and will be on the job when the laundry room opens for business.

The entire structure is fireproof and is certainly an asset to Lusk and Manager Vollmar says when he get the ground graded up and the green grass growing the Lusk Laundry will make a classy appearance.

So in about two weeks more will will be able to have your laundry work done at home, which will be more satisfactory than the present arrangement.

Mr. Mueller, who has been looking after the laundry business here so far will go with the new company. 


The Lusk Standard, July 18, 1919


On about March 1 of this year the Lusk Laundry Co., a corporation of home people, began on the foundation of a brick edifice which was to be the home of the Lusk Steam Laundry.  Notwithstanding adverse weather conditions which several time necessitated the stoppage of brick work, this building was completed and a small force of employees were turning out finished laundry from the plant on June 1.

The establishment is under the management of Mr. E.E. Vollmar, who very kindly "showed" the Standard man through the institution, one day this week.

At first glance--which is about all most of us ever take into a laundry--into the plant leaves the impression of a confusion of piles of clothing. turning cylinders, steaming tubs and a lot of girls. It was understood that if your own laundry went into the mix up that by some miracle it was concentrated somewhere later on, and eventually got to your hotel. How the other fellow got his clean shirts was something you never attempted to find out.

A walk through the laundry, with a few accompanying explanations by Mr. Vollmar and the thing becomes more simple.

Just to the left of the entrance to the main room are a number of large bins in which the drivers who gather the clothing deposits the bundles as he brings them in. The receiver immediately marks the time on the bundle when it was deposited in the receiving bin, and that particular patron's wash is on its way.

From the receiving bin it passes through a door to the marker. Here a girl in a small room separated each article in the bundle, and in a small upright press, with type,  she stamps the name, number or initials of the owner of the bundle. The problem of keeping any piece in this bundle from loss has already been solved when it leaves the marker, and should get astray, among the wilderness of presses and machines it passes through, its brand will eventually bring it back to its own corral.

From the marker the laundry now goes on to the wash room. Here are seven wash tubs or cylinders 3 feet in diameter by 5 feet in length, which would hold the wash from a half dozen ordinary families. There is nothing extraordinary about these revolving tubs, save the extreme simplicity with which the grime is extracted from a bunch of dirty laundry. There is nothing to it but a large perforated cylinder, partially filled with water and soiled linen, cotton or wool. In order that the dirt may not become "set" in the wash, the first water it goes through is cold. After having been well shaken up in the cold revolving it goes into another similar receptacle, with a suds of warmer water,and on again to another tub where all are scalded clean.

The perforated tub, partially filled with water and clothing revolves slowly in an outer wooden casing and a simple process of suction as the contents of the tub is turned over, extracts the dirt with very little wear to the goods. There is no dasher or pounder, or any sort of squeeze applied in the washing process--just a plain over and over flop, flop and things are clean.

As the clothing is taken from the washer they are placed in what is known as the extractor, where the suds are taken out. The extractor is a metal receptacle something in the shape of a tomato. it is probably 30 inches in diameter by 20 inches deep, built something on the plan of a cream separator. The clothing is placed within and the extractor set in motion. It attains a speed of about 1600 revolutions per minute-- sufficient to extract every atom of suds, and the garments are left in a splendid semi-dry condition, without the wear and tear occasioned by a wringer.

From the extractor, the garments, according to textile, use and bulk, are separated on to many different lines of travel, through the different machines designed for the different work to be performed--drying rooms, ironers and ironing presses of varying form and size for shirts, collars, underclothing-- a machine to handle everything that comes through the grind, silks, etc., are reached. This class of goods is all handled by expert ironers, etc., on the old-fashioned ironing boards. Lack of space prevents an interesting detailed description which might be of the many machines which perform the work of an up-to-date laundry.

At the west end of the main laundry room is the power plant of the establishments. Here  a set of double boilers furnish the power for a Skinner automatic engine, with 5 c.w. Westinghouse generator of 75-horse power. There is 15-horse power supplied directly from the machine room to the washing machines. Each other machine in the laundry is supplied with an individual motor, where the operator simply presses a button to stop or start his particular piece of machinery. The electric plant is very complete. "We generate our own power completely," remarked Mr. Vollmar, as he explained the different mechanism to the standard man, Here he opened a set of double doors which entered a small garage were two well-kept autos are stored as past of the company's working apparatus. As we returned through the boiler room Mr. Vollmar again explained that the heating capacity of the boilers for water was 2,000 gallons per hour heated to 190 degrees. This to show from whence the great amount of heat required in washers, drying apparatus, ironers, etc.

Returning through the main room Mr. Vollmar called a workman to a particular machine and directed his attention to a slight defect in its operation, showing the man how to adjust it. A little further along, always very quietly, and very pleasantly he stopped a few moments to instruct one of the girls--just beginning--in the use of a shirt ironing machine, and so on down the works to the sorting room, from when the thousands of numerous garments eventually reach their destination.

"We are in no way endeavoring to crowd the output of work from the laundry at present," remarked Mr. Vollmar. "We started in the first of June with five employees on this floor. There are now 28 persons employed in all. When we are running at full capacity there will be an average of 40 people, with a pay roll of about $1,000.00 a week. We are gradually increasing out output of work as the help become accustomed to the different machines they are learning to operate. There is no rush or endeavor to crowd any one into greater capacity. As the operators become more proficient we shall reach out and will have no trouble in doubling our output of work, with little apparent strain in the laundry."

As the Standard man was taking leave of and thanking Mr. Vollmar for his courtesies, he remarked, and surely for good reason:

"We have a plant of which I think we are justly proud."

The Lusk Steam Laundry is a credit to this city, as well as being an institution whose pay roll is large enough to be felt in Lusk when the weekly checks of the operators go into circulation."

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