‘Innovative’ Germans finally discover Victorian drying rack

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Jörg Luyken - [email protected]
‘Innovative’ Germans finally discover Victorian drying rack
The humble drying rack. Screenshot: Youtube

No one beats the Germans when it comes to invention and innovation - or so the cliché goes. But a Munich startup’s new project shows they’re not always first to the party.


Step into many an English country kitchen and you’ll be greeted by an AGA range cooker oozing its warmth into the furthest crevices of the room.

A scruffy dog will be snoozing on the floor and clothes will be drying on a hanging rack near the ceiling. Unless something is terribly amiss, a pot of tea will be on the go.

This is how, for a certain type of British person, life was meant to be. It is humankind living in perfect balance with its surroundings - and most of it dates back to the 19th Century.

The hanging drying rack - wooden slats attached to a pulley system which can be winched up to the ceiling - was invented in Victorian times when Brits discovered that the warm air at the top of the room provided optimal drying conditions.

But, poor old Germans haven’t yet cottoned onto this concept 150 years later.

Still tied to terra firma, they are cluttering their apartments with folding clothes racks, meaning their garments take ages to dry and flatmates have endless arguments about where to put the damn thing.

Luckily for them, a start-up in Munich is at last taking action.

Hangbird founder Samuel Kutter says he came up with the idea when he needed to de-clutter his flat due to the impending arrival of his first child.

Inspired by his time living in England as a student, when he first came across hanging clothes lines, he developed one of his own.

But the company spokeswoman, Jamie Johnston, told The Local that improvements including a design that allows it to nestle closer to the ceiling, more stability provided by four ropes, and a customizable design make it an improvement on the classic British model.

And that's not all.

As far as one can tell from the promotional video, hanging your wet clothes up by the ceiling could even be the solution to Germany’s miserable birth rate, as couples spend less time bickering and more time enjoying the full possibilities of their homes.

You never know, give them a few more centuries and they might have discovered heated stoves too.

Hangbird at any rate are looking for further inspiration from Blighty.

“I´m sure there are other products [from the UK] that can be improved aesthetically and in practicality. Hangbird will definitely work on discovering them in the near future,” said Johnston.




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