The Men Who Stare at Laundry

Kate Horowitz
SimonSkafar/E+ via Getty Images

Some people restore classic cars. Others collect stamps, or thimbles, or porcelain babies. Everybody has their thing. For the members of the Washing Machine Collectors Club, it’s laundry.

As you'll see in the above video from Great Big Story, washing machine collector and club founder Jon Charles has been collecting and repairing washing machines for a long, long time. Charles started the club in the 1984 with just a few guys. Today, he’s got 59 washing machines, 22 hooked up and running in his basement, and the club has more than 3000 members, including enthusiasts in Australia, Russia, and Madagascar. 

Earlier this year, the group was featured on CBS Sunday Morning and found themselves holding the double-edged sword of fame. While the laundry men knew the exposure would attract new members, they also worried it would drive up the prices of certain rare washing machines.

But it’s not just about the equipment. It’s about the wash. Charles hosts 3-day Wash-Ins, drawing members from across the United States—and their dirty laundry. They drink, they catch up, and they watch the washing machines with some of the purest glee we’ve ever seen.

[header image from YouTube // Great Big Story]