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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Air Blast  
  An air dryer for personal use.  

I wonder if he invented this one; another failure to file patent. You can see how you might think of it; anyone familiar with machine shops or labs with compressed air know that compressed air is often used to dry materials.

It was not Dave's idea of a refreshing chamber, but he managed to take a sketchy shower in spite of the slimy floor. Then he discovered that there was no air blast installed, and he was forced to dry himself unsatisfactorily with his handkerchief. He had no choice in clothes. He must put back on the ones he had taken off, or go naked. He recalled that he had seen no nudity anywhere in Coventry, even at sports- a difference in customs, no doubt.
From Coventry, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Not Known in 1940
Additional resources -

According to Denis Gagnon, president of Exel Dryer, "the basic hand dryer was invented in 1948 and has gone virtually unchanged ever since." It may have been patented by someone in 1948, but Robert Heinlein wrote about it in 1940.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Coventry
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Coventry
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Air Blast-related news articles:
  - High Speed Hand Dryer
  - Airblade From Dyson Airblast From Heinlein

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