A White-owned “Chinese Laundry” in Kinston, NC.

In Kinston, North Carolina, two white men, an electrician and a printer, both unemployed, opened a laundry on the premises of a Chinese laundry recently abandoned by Tim Sing, a Chinese from Hong Kong or Canton.  The Greensboro Daily News headline on Jan. 6, 1932 on page 4, proclaimed “Chinese Laundry” Run By Whites. The article explained that the white owners planned to operate in the “Chinese style,” and make occasional presents of lily bulbs and tea to patrons. However, no mention was made about whether they would use Chinese style laundry tickets.

One wonders, moreover, where they ever got this impression about how Chinese laundries typically operated. No mention was made about what experience the men had previously in doing laundry work. Hopefully, they knew how to heat those 8 and 1/2 pound irons and not scorch clothes as well as how to spray water to moisten them, Chinese style, of course.

hand-iron

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any record of how successful they were with their unusual business plan for a Chinese laundry.  Prospects would have been dim indeed if many local residents followed the lead of Kinston firemen who in the previous spring installed a washing machine so they could do their own laundry (Greensboro Daily News, March 31, 1931, p. 2).  Wonder if that fact could help explain why the previous laundryman, Tim Sing, abandoned his laundry equipment and his store?

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2 Comments

Filed under Laundry Operations

2 responses to “A White-owned “Chinese Laundry” in Kinston, NC.

  1. Alex Ross

    Very interesting and helpful site
    Astoria Laundry Service

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