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Tumble Dryer

The earliest clothes dryers were made in England and France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Known as “ventilators,” they were large metal drums with ventilation holes, powered by hand cranks and used over open fires which resulted in the clothes always smelling of smoke, often being covered in soot and sometimes catching fire!

Gas burner tumble dryers are much more cost effective than electric and are becoming more popular for use in the home, but are normally found in laundries.

Physicist Davis MacKay weighed his laundry and discovered that a typical 4kg load of dry washing emerged 2.2kg heavier, even after vigorous spinning in a modern washing machine. It’s not surprising it takes so much energy in a tumble drier to remove all that water!