Words at Play : Top 10 Words from Trademarks, Vol. 2

#10: Laundromat 

When George Edward Pendray coined the word Laundromat, he was naming what his employer, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, called "the first automatic washing machine that can be wall-mounted."

For years Laundromat could refer – somewhat confusingly – either to a single washing machine or to a self-service laundry containing such machines.

Westinghouse finally allowed the trademark to expire in 1993. These days, laundromat only refers to the place that contains the machines.

(In England that place goes by a different name, as in the movie title "My Beautiful Laundrette.")

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