As a favor to guests, one hotel washes every coin it receives, just like it’s done since 1938.
The practice at the St. Francis hotel in San Francisco is said to have started when hotelier Dan London observed that some coins sullied a woman’s white gloves.
At the time, coins were used for everything from tips to payphones to taxicabs. Back then washing the coins were a full-time job. Now it’s only 10 hours a week, but the practice continues, passed down from one generation to the next.
The coins are first passed from the general cashier to the coin washer who dumps them into a silver burnisher.
Along with the coins, the burnisher is filled with water, buckshot to knock the dirt off, and a healthy pour of 20 Mule Team Borax soap. After three hours of swishing the coins around, Holsen uses a metal ice scoop to pour the loot into a perforated roast pan that sifts out the buckshot.
The wet coins are then spread out on a table beneath heat lamps.
This is where once-rusted copper pennies turn into shimmering bronze coins. Quarters look like sparkling silver bits.
Talk about a customer service throwback, keeping up a practice of customer service that most guests don’t know about or even care if they receive.
Coin washer keeps Westin St. Francis’ change shiny [SFGate] (Thanks to c-side!)