"automatic coin-operated public laundry," 1946, originally (1942) a proprietary name by Westinghouse for a type of automatic washing machine; from laundry + ending probably suggested by automat. Earlier words for public clothes-washing places in U.S. were washateria (1935), laundrette (1945). Launderette is from 1947. The Westinghouse machine was popular after World War II and was available with coin chutes and timers.
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