My clean, dry hands applaud the designers of today's electric hand dryers. In an airport restroom, I had the pleasure of drying my hands in an Air Blade hand dryer. This was memorable for the shocking speed that it whisked water and moisture from my hands. Not only did it dry my hands with evaporation, but it tore through the layer of dripping water with a palpable blade of heated air. As soon as my hands activated the electronic sensors, warmed, twin squeegees of air contracted about my fingers and pulled the moisture away. By the time my fingertips exited the mouth of this device, the motor had stopped and my hands were dry enough to offer an unoffending handshake. At the same time, they were not chapped or scratchy since the entire experience lasted less than five seconds, keeping moisture in deeper skin layers.
My hands look back to a time when they might have grabbed the nearest paper towel instead of waiting for an 'automatic' dryer to do the same job in twice the time. Back in the day, the World Dryer Model A was a wall fixture of my youth. I saw it at schools, stores and restaurants serving both fast food and fancy fare. It was everywhere. This dryer required you to push a circular silver button, and then spend at least half a minute rubbing your hands under a stream of heated air. If the dryer had cooled down since its last use, you would need to wait a while for the heating element to warm up. Even if I was in the middle of its peak-use hours at a busy restaurant, I would usually have to press it at one extra time to get the job done.
And each Model A would be vandalized in the same way. On the front panel between the downward nozzle and silver button, a metal instruction plaque sported the World Dryer logo, contact information and the following instructions:
1. Push Button
2. Rub hands under warm air
3. Stops automatically
More often than not, I would find a version edited with the nearest sharp object:
1. Push Butt
2. Rub hands under
3. Stops auto
An illustration demonstrating how to use the Model A also showed hands positioned under a nozzle ejecting warm air, which would usually be annotated with legs to suggest hands reaching up into a crotch, or sometimes a face sucking an impossibly bent dick.
Well, the Model A still gets at least one thumbs up for being more fun to vandalize and adapted for other uses. A clever builder kluged several Model A's as hair dryers in a YMCA locker room, mounting them above head level to direct the air streams towards wet heads. The original designers might have contemplated this use, but for some reason, the nozzles were prevented from swiveling entirely around to be inverted. On models where the nozzle could swivel to direct air at different downward angles, there were stops on either sides that prevented complete rotation. What exactly did this prevent? Was this intended to prevent some kind of hand-dryer abuse? Or possibly prevent objects like jewelry or liquids from falling into the air intake? Maybe the designers imagined less-than-casual vandals pouring water or pissing into upturned nozzles.
I wave goodbye to the Model A, as it's become rarer as new models take over. These efficient, curvaceous dryers offer no illustrations to anthropomorphize into sexual forms or directions to recast as tales of cars parked in side streets. World Dryer still manufactures the Model A and its variants, the A5, XA5, DA5, DXA5, RA5, XRA5 and DXRA5. You'll still find refurbished or used models for resale online. It seems that the Model A has lost its edge and handed the baton to the next generation.
======= Links ========