the industry at that time was becoming more mature both
in Milwaukee and the United States, and it was increasingly
dominated by large, well-capitalized companies operating
facilities designed specifically for that use.
what kind of facilities did these emerging laundry titans
the form of industrial buildings is primarily dictated
by function, it is not surprising that a newly developing
industry would appropriate a building type from a related
industry. Commercial laundries adapted both machinery
and building design from the textile industry.
can see by the title page of "The Manual of Modern Steam Laundry Work", published
in 1912, that its author's credentials are largely
related to the textile industry.
prototype for washing machines were the dying vats used
by the textile industry. Textile mills, laundries, and
other industrial facilities drove equipment with belts
connected to an overhead shaft into the first decades
of the twentieth century. As in the laundry industry,
light and ventilation had been critically important
to the operation of textile mills.
This influenced the appearance of the mills. In the
early to mid-nineteenth century, when large New England
mills came to dominate the textile industry, the facilities
were readily identifiable by their massive size and
regular pattern of fenestration.
the late nineteenth century, technological improvements
in the production of steel, concrete, and glass provided
new alternatives for structural design, permitting broader
window openings for industrial plants.
Northwestern Knitting Factory in Minneapolis, better
known as the Munsingwear Plant, illustrates the evolution
of industrial construction within less than a decade;
its earliest building, Number 1, dates from 1906; the
latest, Building 7-7A, from 1914-1915. Since architectural
ornamentation on industrial buildings is usually minimal,
the pattern of fenestration is often key to a building's
visual identity. In the Munsingwear complex, much of
the original sash was replaced by glass blocks during
replacement is quite common in industrial properties
as owners seek to reduce energy costs, increase security,
and cope with aging building components. Despite the
glass-block windows, however, Munsingwear's fenestration
pattern remains essentially unchanged today. The complex
was listed in the National Register in 1983 because
of its significance to commerce, industry, and invention
as one of the nation's largest manufacturers of
underwear. Which, of course, brings us back to the subject