DryCleanBaltimore.Com by Schroedl has been family owned and operated since 1861, making us the oldest fabric care firm in Baltimore and one of the oldest in the nation. Our natural solvent processing, experience, and level of quality insure your fabrics, upholstery, and rugs will retain their texture and shape while being restored to pre-loss condition.
In 1861, a young immigrant from Germany named Stephen Schroedl founded the Schroedl Dye Works at 287 East Baltimore Street. By 1873, the business had expanded to three locations with the main plant located on Patterson Park Avenue.
The limitations of fabric care in the 19th century required garments to be dyed when they became too soiled or faded. This work was done painstakingly by hand. The process involved taking apart each garment at the seams, scouring (brushing the fabric with soap and alkalis to remove fatty soils which might not accept the new dye), dye bath, sizing, brushing, and reassembly.
Garments not requiring redyeing could be dry cleaned by a process which was called then, “French” cleaning. Four steps were involved:
- Dusting – The unpaved roads of the time made clothes much more dusty than today. Dust had to be beaten out by being spun in slatted wooden cylinders.
- Brushing – As with dye working, this step was done by hand to remove more dust and dirt.
- Benzene Wash – This colorless, volatile, flammable fluid distilled from coal-tar would dissolve fats, resins, and oily substances and wash them out. The original wooden barrels and wooden sticks used for the benzene wash were replaced by Stephen Schroedl with an enclosed dry cleaner, greatly improving safety at the plant. Benzene was discarded as a cleaning solvent when petroleum products came into use.
- Drying – Benzene evaporated from the clothes when placed in sunlight on the roof of the Schroedl plant.
Stephen Schroedl returned to Germany for the latest equipment which ran on steam power. To stay competitive in the booming dyeing and scouring business, Schroedl Custom Cleaners relied on its delivery wagon, which served the city from their own livery stable at 19 South Patterson Park Ave.
Stephen’s son, Othello, entered the business after earning a chemistry degree from Johns Hopkins University. He developed formulas for dyeing and cleaning which became exclusive Schroedl Custom Cleaners secrets.
In 1904, the Schroedl plant was spared in the Great Fire that swept through downtown Baltimore. Their survival allowed them to help others recover from the disaster by restoring damaged fabrics. Now, over 155 years later, Schroedl’s is still dedicated to fire restoration.
Through the many years, we have continuously provided the finest services in the fabricare, cleaning, and related services. Schroedl’s plant does it all – complete garment care, including custom processing for delicate items, drapery cleaning, wedding gown preservation, flame proofing, and disaster restoration.
Over 155 years later, DryCleanBaltimore.Com by Schroedl continues to be a family owned and operated business. The Gallon family assures our clients only the best quality and personal attention.