The invention of the clothes dryer may very well be the basic point at which we turned from savages to civilised people. Prior to this were were at the mercy of providence and the Meteorological Bureau for enough clean clothes to wear for a week – after this we could structure our lives around art, science, and literature.
Why it took so long is a mystery. The resourceful colonists in Massachusetts and Vermont and such invented cider presses, iron stoves, and gasoline buggies long before they had the good sense to supplement the clothes line. Even before the age of steam there must have been someone who was bright enough to realise that fire makes heat and hot air could dry clothes. It isn’t rocket science.
And what a boon it would have been to the pioneer women, They might have been resigned to spending their days in childbirth and Indian fighting, but they would all have welcomed dry towels to do it with.
If a primitive society could devise a way to distill bourbon they could dry clothes in the winter. I think there must have been a conspiracy way back then. It would make for a good PhD…