Jolly-Bellin, Jean-Baptiste

fl. c.1850 France
French pioneer in dry-cleaning.
Until the mid-nineteenth century, washing with soap and water was the only way to clean clothes; with woollen fabrics in particular, it was more common to dye them to a darker colour to conceal the dirt. In about 1850, Jean-Baptiste Jolly-Bellin, a Paris tailor, spilt some camphene, a kind of turpentine, on an article belonging to his wife and found that the area stained by the spirit was cleaner than the rest. He opened up a business for "Nettoyage à sec", the first dry-cleaning business. The garments had to be unstitched before being brushed with camphene and were then sewn together again.
Further Reading
I.McNeil (ed.), 1990, An Encyclopaedia of the History of Technology, London: Routledge (provides an account of the development of methods of cleaning garments).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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