Disrupting Laundry

Silicon Valley Guy

Marathon was founded by Glenn Reid, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and engineer. Glenn spent hundreds of hours with Steve Jobs at Apple, developing the revolutionary iMovie and iPhoto. It takes somebody like that to disrupt Big Laundry, which hasn't innovated since the dryer was introduced in 1938. We're here to get rid of the dryer.

It takes Silicon Valley thinking to disrupt old industry: Tesla (electric cars). Uber (ride sharing). AirBNB (guest lodging). Adobe (printing). Marathon (laundry).

You can wait a hundred years for an industry to disrup itself. It's already been 100 years. We're not waiting any longer.

Glenn Reid

How it Started

One day, Glenn noticed a photo like the one below, and realized he couldn't tell which machine was the washer and which was the dryer. (Can you?)

Why do you have two identical machines, each of which does HALF the job? And you have to move your stuff from one machine to the other. You don't have a dishwasher and a dishdryer, do you?

Washer & Dryer

Do you really need two machines?

After some research and protyping in the garage with a washing machine, a hair dryer, and a shop vac, Glenn proved that sure enough, you can wash and dry clothes in the same machine.

Standard Washer Dryer
Prototype 1
Prototype 2
Prototype 3

Why hasn't this been done?

Your next question is to wonder why nobody has done this yet. Glenn wondered the same thing. A little more research led to two insights:

  • It has been done, in Europe and Asia. But the machines are tiny (24 inches), and your clothes take forever to dry because they're ventless condensing dryers. Even a hair dryer and a shop vac work better than that.
  • Big Laundry make all their money on the dryer, which is really just a tin can and a rubber band. Imagine when some VP at ApplianceCo pipes up in a meeting and excitedly says, "hey, I know how we can make a lot less money next year — let's get rid of the dryer!".

Have you noticed how washers and dryers are sold in pairs by Big Laundry? And how they change the look of them every year or two so you don't just replace one machine when it breaks? They do that on purpose. They really need you to buy a dryer.

Kill Your Dryer

The dryer only exists because of an accident of history — electric washing machines were possible much earlier than electric dryers, because dryers require a lot of electrical power, which was more available in the 1940's than it had been in the 1920's.

Glenn realized that the world needs to get rid of the dryer. It's not a small thing to create an appliance company, but "This is such a great idea — somebody needs to do this..." Followed a year or two later by, "I guess it's going to be me."

So Glenn started in the garage, grew into small R&D spaces, hired some great people, and did a lot of serious product development and testing to make a manufacturable, reliable machine.

We Are Here

It's done. It's shipping. It's real. The first new appliance company in many decades, and definitely the most innovative laundry product ever.

A few years and 177,117 lines of code later, Marathon is a reality.

Made in America — in Milwaukee, an amazing gem of the American Midwest.

Standard Washer Dryer

One day soon, the dryer
will be just a footnote in history.