American Industry Overview: Household Laundry Equipment

This classification covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing laundry equipment, such as washing machines, dryers, and ironers, for household use, including coin-operated equipment.

Industry Snapshot

Although mechanical washing contraptions existed before the start of the twentieth century, only since the 1950s has gas and electric-powered laundry equipment achieved widespread use. By the early 1990s, more than 70 percent of all U.S. homes had both a washer and a dryer. In 2008 laundry equipment was the second largest home appliance market, following refrigeration, with $4.1 billion in shipped products. There were 19 establishments operating in this industry as of 2007, and three companies – Whirlpool Corporation, General Electric, and Maytag International, Inc. – led manufacturing and sales.

Organization and Structure

Household laundry equipment represented about 17 percent of the overall U.S. household appliance industry in the 1990s. Although ironers and mangles, or pressing machines, account for a small portion of industry sales, washers and dryers made up the lion's share of production.