The Evolution of Hand Dryers

The Evolution of Hand Dryers


We all see hand dryers in bathrooms wherever we go, but have you ever wondered how they actually came about?

The 1920’s Onwards


As far back as 1921, the Airdry Corporation made the first attempt in designing an electric dryer in New York. The Corporation were the first to patent an apparatus for delivering a blast of heated air. The intended use being to dry the hands or hair or to be used for drying jewellery, glassware, or other items. They are not normally given credit for their device however as most people believe it was invented by George Clemens in 1949. George Clemens can be said to be the person who popularised the hand dryer, and he did invent the first electric toothbrush. Clemens eventually through a lot of hard work founded his company World Dryer. This company became one that was renowned for making quality hand dryers for many years. All the same, the company did not innovate and keep up the pace of innovation and so was ultimately replaced by its nearest competitors.

Initially, hand dryers were much louder than we are now used to and were fairly inefficient. The earliest hand dryers were obviously manual and the design included a simple fan, a lightweight motor, a heating element, and a push button. They would take a few minutes to dry a person’s hands so usually, this would mean people would not want to wait around for them to work and used paper towels instead. Right up until the 1990’s this issue still existed until the company Mitsubishi reinvented the hand dryer. They created a hand-dip design which had the aim of blowing the water off a person’s hands. This differed in that it stopped trying to evaporate any water particles and the Mitsubishi Jet Towel was born. Although, it took well over 10 years to become a worldwide seller and reach all international markets.

Evolution of Manual Dryers


Manual dryers eventually came to be thought about in a slightly negative manner in health terms as they blow hot air, thought to have helped with the growth in bacteria. Also, as manual hand dryers need to blow out hot air, then environmental concerns became prominent too as more electrical power is needed to work them. The push button on older types also brings forward the issues of micro bacteria and disease transfers from touching the unit. This is when more modern hand dryers were designed to alleviate these problems. Automatic touchless hand dryers were invented to be healthier. Sensor-activated hand dryers eliminate the need for buttons, and so instantly reduce disease transfer. Many newer models of touchless hand dryers were made to force out air as an alternative to blowing the hot air out slowly, which has eliminated bacterial growth.

Today hand dryers are fashioned to reduce hand drying time. They are ergonomically designed, more user friendly and have greater considerations towards being more environmentally friendly. They now achieve optimum results in hand drying time and lead to savings as they use less power and energy to function. Since its invention, hand dryers have undoubtedly undergone a huge technological evolution.

UK based Blow Motion released their Ninja ‘Hands in’ Hand dryer in 2016. The Ninja has made use of all of the very latest advances in technology such as duel jet drying meaning that the users hands are blasted with air from both sides at the same time almost halving drying time down to a very respectable 8 seconds! They have also introduced a HEPPA filter to eliminate airborne germs and bacteria as it is sucked through the dryer. On top of this they have also added a blue plasma light that shines onto the users hands and kills all germs and bacteria from the surface of the skin.

It is safe to say that hand dryers have come a long way since the 1920’s, and you’ll find the very best at Blow Motion.