This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
With an uncertain and variable climate such as ours it would be impossible to keep the ironers supplied with dry articles of clothing, etc., were it not that aid is forthcoming by mechanical means. For effecting a perfect drying it is necessary to have heated air, which takes unto itself the moisture from the clothes and then passes on. Clothes may be dried before an open fire, but this is both dangerous and unsatisfactory; or they may be placed in some room which is heated by steam coils or other system. This separate room is adopted by many laundries, as is also that of draw-out horses, which either run on iron girders at their base or are hung with pulleys on rails above. These horses are made 9, 12, 15, 18, or 22 inches wide, and are of cast-iron fronts and galvanised wrought - iron plate backs, connected together by hollow galvanised iron rods. These horses may be kept together by means of a cast-iron frame, or else built up in a brickwork chamber. Where elaboration is allowed, the fronts of horses may be finished off with mahogany or other panelling, a non-conducting material being placed between this and the metal.
In laundries where hand-power machines are in use, and steam not obtainable, a convenient way of heating the horses is to build up in the centre of them a stove such as that shown in Fig. 150. The heat may be conducted from this furnace to under the horses by means of iron ducts, or simply allowed to make its way out at top or wherever convenient. The stove, which is 4 feet by 2 feet 6 inches in size, may be used for heating flat irons, as shown. Instead of this stove an ordinary coal furnace may be used in the same way, or, if more convenient, may be placed in a pit below. The stove or furnace may be used to heat ordinary brick built chambers, fitted with iron doors and frames. A convenient method, where practicable, is to have a double set of doors to these chambers, one opening into the wash-house where the wet goods enter, and the other into the ironing-room where dry goods will be received. Where steam is used the advantages derived from it should be made use of.
The fresh air may be introduced through a duct (see Fig. 151), whence it travels over steam pipes, becomes heated, rises through the perforated grating which forms the floor of the hot chamber, and makes its way through the articles hanging on the rails of the horses, and so on into a flue at back of chamber, whence it is drawn by natural draught into any chimney which may conveniently serve the purpose. It will here be seen that the effective working depends on the strength of the breeze which indrives the fresh air, or solely on the suction power of the chimney. To improve upon this a revolving extraction is often placed at the outlet, making the action of the circulating air much more regular and dependable. Still more effective is the circulation where the air is drawn into a heater (Fig.
152), which consists of steam-heated tubes. The air being thus warmed is forced, by a belt-driven propeller, into the air-duct (see Fig. 151) and away through the outlet. The heating appliance is placed wherever convenient at that side or back, or even above the drying closet should economy of space so require. The space required for such a heater would be 7 feet long by 4 feet 9 inches wide by 5 feet high. The fan may be driven by a belt or else have a direct-acting steam engine or electric motor affixed thereto. It may be remarked that the heater is often used to draw the air from the heated ironing room, which, after its course over the horses, makes its way, still warm and sufficiently dry, into the wash-house, so effecting an inexpensive mode of ventilation. Curtains, being of an extremely delicate nature, are fixed on a framework, and may be dried in a horizontal box such as that illustrated in Fig. 153, when the heat would be obtained from steam coils. The space required, including draw out, is 35 by 10 feet.