Laundries were once ubiquitous in British and American cities—products of the same historical process that created steel mills and railroads. Unlike the more familiar examples of industrialization, these cleanliness factories remained powerfully identified with domesticity. In Steam Laundries, Arwen Mohun explores broader issues of how gender has shaped how everyday work gets done, who does the work, and how the work is valued. The British-American comparison further reveals differences owing to culture, regulation, and social structure as well as the unexpected transatlantic character of this seemingly localized business.
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