The Henry Ford of Carwash

Dan Hanna Sr. passes away

Published in CSP Daily News

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Following a battle with cancer, carwash industry icon Dan Hanna Sr. has died. As the founder of Hanna Car Wash Systems and operator of several car washes, he was the leading innovator of the professional car wash industry, said the International Carwash Association (ICA).

"I used to call him the Henry Ford of the car wash industry," said Bud Abraham, close friend and former colleague. "The innovations Dan brought to the car wash industry are like what Henry Ford brought to the automotive industry. He had the original patents for so many of the innovations [image-nocss] that we now take for granted."

He added, "Dan was the most committed person to all of his business ventures. He would spend five days a week running his company and then would visit his car washes during the weekend. Although he ran such a successful business, he never lost his roots as a carwash operator, and his business always remained solid and true to its core purpose."

According to the Hanna website, Hanna opened his first Rub-A-Dub car wash in Milwaukie, Ore., in 1953. This led to the creation of Hanna Enterprises. Two years later, he opened his second wash and eventually had 31 Rub-A-Dubs operating in the Portland area.

As his business grew, Hanna recognized the need for faster and more efficient car wash equipment, so he invented it. In 1959, Hanna tinkered with and tested his wash rack until he had a working model of the first mechanized car washing system. Word spread about Hanna's machine, and he began to put them in other people's car washes.

By the mid-1960s, Hanna Enterprises had established itself as a major innovator and manufacturer of carwash equipment. Hanna made and patented several inventions, including Wraparound Brush, Roller-On-Demand Conveyor, Soft Cloth Friction Wash, Triple Approach to Tire Washing and Recirculating Water System. In 1968, Hanna Enterprises became Hanna Industries and began an acquisition effort, acquiring Lark, Reuter Sons Manufacturing and Flaming Equipment Co. Also, Hanna expanded its distribution capabilities in a contract with Country Club Carwash Inc.

Hanna Industries made two important inventions in 1975the automatic wheel cleaner and a polish 'n wax application.

By the 1980s, as the numbers of cars and car washes grew, Hanna Industries began franchising.

In 1993, a Texas venture capital group brought about the merger of Hanna Industries and Sherman Carwash Co. The merged companies became Hanna-Sherman International Inc. and had a large focus on international markets.

In 2001, a group of investors purchased the assets of Hanna-Sherman and formed today's Hanna Car Wash Systems International LLC. Jim Coleman Co, Houston, purchased the Hanna brand in February 2005.


Details on the funeral arrangements were not available by press time. CSP Daily News sends condolences to his family, his friends and his colleagues.