Thomas L. Jennings – The Method of dry cleaning

The modern world thrives on an invention that was made two centuries ago. Today you may be traveling, and unfortunately, on the road, a splash of mud soils your clothe. Thinking of the misfortune and how to handle it becomes a terrifying situation. Maybe in my case, I had to hurry to the office since that morning, a meeting of stakeholders was due, and I had the reports present. Imagine a situation of making a presentation with soiled clothing at the podium with all eyes on you. That can be the craziest thing to do.

Fortunately, I didn’t lose all hopes since I knew that a legend had once lived and made an invention that we had to thrive in. The invention of dry cleaning was done by one African- American known as Thomas L. Jennings in 1821 after securing a patent for his ‘dry scouring,’ a method of removing grease and dirt from clothing. At the age of 29, the young man became famous on March 13, 1821, by successfully inventing a method of dry scouring clothes and woolen fabrics, in general, to keep their original shape and have the appearance of new.

Thomas L. Jennings, born in New York, in 1791 began a career as a tailor in his 20s and later on opened his own dry cleaning business where he discovered dry scouring. It becomes so amazing what Jennings managed to do during this slavery period, where all property or inventions by slaves were considered the property of their master. Given that the courts also held that slaves were not citizens and could not own a right to any invention. The bottom line remains that he achieved it since he presented qualities of a determined entrepreneur with an established business, nothing was ever going to stop him.

The continual requests for cleaning services had inspired him. Through this, he began researching cleaning solutions; he discovered that most of his customers were unhappy when their clothing got soiled. However, the material used in making the clothing could not be solved by conventional methods. Upon inventing the dry cleaning process, he would soar to being the first African-American to receive a patent. His method managed to clean the then clothe materials successfully, making them appear as clean as ironed and new.

Amazing inventions were made during the 1800s, but still, the Jennings invention stands tall. Because Jennings was an African- American and the first to win a patent, in that case, it was undeniable an invention of centuries, establishing a stepping stone to other African- Americans and a foundation to a comfortable life. Other African-Americans later realized the possibility of making inventions even of their own through Jennings’ dry cleaning invention. They were empowered and felt a real sense of belonging, though they believed they could achieve all in chains and cages of oppression.

He became so famous, and people would flock seeking his services of dry cleaning. Getting Jennings in the 1800s was like a hot cake scramble. He was ever business and grew both in wealth and fame. He later became supported by anti-slavery unions by financially supporting them. These acts of his even built him a more superior name. You can picture how the situation was at that time, with an African-American owning a shop where he is the only one capable of providing such services in the entire world. Jennings would rise so soon at a tender age and be mentioned in today’s history as the father of dry cleaning.

Dry scouring entailed cleaning clothes and fabrics by use of a chemical solvent that contains little or no water. It ensures that while cleaning the surface of fabrics, it does not penetrate the fibers like water does in a washing machine. Once the clothing is cleaning it is pressed, so they look as if they are new. It ensures the best has been achieved for your clothes. The dry cleaning method, in essence, negates you from the stress of traveling back into the house to get another new clothing so that you can continue with your journey. In the comfort of your travels, you can stop for a few moments and have you’re soiled clothe cleaned.

The method helps a lot when it comes to expenses; it is a cheap and sustainable process. You are certain of retaining your clothing’s same shape and beauty without any issue as to destruction and lining all sides of your clothing to appear as new as before. You don’t even need to pay for water bills in your house or even purchase soap for cleaning. What is required from you is only the dirty clothing, so that they can clean it. Indeed, Jennings, in a way that he never noticed, impacted the globe with this invention.

Dry cleaning today has transformed the world, with many people providing such services. There is no doubt that even today, people marvel at the art introduced back in the 1800s when they take back home their clothes from a dry cleaner. Dry cleaners try to improvise today’s dry cleaning by introducing other forms of chemicals into the market to match the several clothing materials available.