Thread Number: 32237
What about JC PENNEY Appliances? --And WESTERN AUTO, too?
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Post# 486229   1/3/2011 at 23:01 (2,727 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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So what about the line of JC Penney appliances made by the Hotpoint division of GE? (Although I'm sure their gas ranges are by another manufacturer & their side x side refrigerators w/o Hotpoint's ice chute (& later ice chute & water disp.) I think were made by Westinghouse...) They started off as PENNCREST, too...

But from what year to what year were they named/made?

I've seen a few old magazine ads featuring them... Rarely to never have I seen any in person, though... Were they not as successful as Ward's or Sears?

Even LESS frequently have I ever seen Western Auto's WIZARD CITATION appliances (most likely a part of the appliance would be shown in CONSUMER REPORTS, such as a drum or a tub)... Who manufactured them, & little that I know about the company, when WAS "the W/A era"?

-- Dave

Post# 486270 , Reply# 1   1/4/2011 at 06:19 (2,727 days old) by joelippard (Hickory, NC)        
My mother

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was an employee of JCPenny in the late 60's. When she and dad married in 1970 she bought a 69 Frigidaire Rollermatic and a 70 Penncrest (GE) dryer. The Penncrest is still running to this day and has never had any sort of service done to it.

Post# 486285 , Reply# 2   1/4/2011 at 09:25 (2,727 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Companies like Sears, J C Penny, Western Auto, Radio Shack market products, but usually do not build anything.

Sears's part number before the "dot" is a key to the OEM vender.

J C Penny once rebranded Westinghouse washers and others too.

A Radio Shack CB radio is often made by Uniden.

A Home Depot Ryobi drill is made by the same plant as Sear Craftsman electric drills.

A J C Penny circular saw I bought about 1979 is made by Skill, every part inside is the same.

With the electric dril, the motor might be the same but the molding different.

A Sears Kenmore washer, refrigerator is often made by Whirlpool if big; maybe Sanyo, Samsung, or LG if "dorm sized".

A 1946 Montgomery Wards "Sea King" 1.5 HP outboard here is made by Gale. A Sears dumpy survey level is often made by Berger /CST. Old David White made the J C Penny Penncrest survey level here. A Layafette Radio TV antenna preamp I have here from 1971 that still works was made by Winegard.

Who made what is often in the part number key, or can be hidden too. The offical parts for the house brand can be long "no longer available" but the OEM part still around for another few decades. Thus a repair shop might know that your 1976 Sears Washer is really a GE; but sears shows all parts are NLA.

Post# 486339 , Reply# 3   1/4/2011 at 14:10 (2,726 days old) by nurdlinger (Tucson AZ)        
I bought a JC Penney washer in 1978

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and gave it away 2005 when I got the Fridgemore F/L.  In all that time the only repair was replacement of a seized pump.  I walked into the appliance parts place with the pump in my hand, and before I reached the counter the guy behind it had a new one up and ready.  That's how ubiquitous the GE/Hotpoint design had become.

Post# 486348 , Reply# 4   1/4/2011 at 15:14 (2,726 days old) by macboy91si (Frankfort, KY)        
Sears Portable Automatic Laundry

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Sears Portable laundry was a product of Whirlpool, and still is to this day. The current portable is a World Washer and the dryer is the same design used since the 60's. There was a Japanese twin-tub on the market in the 70's, but I am unsure of the maker (Panasonic or Hitachi). Also, early on (1940's-1950's) there were other companies that made small portable washers and dryers (non-automatic), I think Silex/Chicago Electric. The Handy-Hot, which was originally a CE product, was badged as Kenmore among many other lables.


Post# 486404 , Reply# 5   1/4/2011 at 18:32 (2,726 days old) by yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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One thing I always liked about Kenmore products, is with the owners manuals, they included a detail parts list and description, plus a breakdown of the whole machine.....I don't know of any other manufacturer that did that...

Post# 486513 , Reply# 6   1/5/2011 at 10:17 (2,726 days old) by rollermatic (cincinnati)        
in 1969 my neighbors had

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a western auto dishwasher that was the same as the hotpoint portables of that era.

Post# 487159 , Reply# 7   1/7/2011 at 21:53 (2,723 days old) by tcox6912 ()        
Who made it???

In about 1984-85 Sears sold a compact front load washer with no matching dryer. Does anyone remember this or am I losing my mind?

Post# 487394 , Reply# 8   1/8/2011 at 19:18 (2,722 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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I do remember that washer I even did a minor service call on one, it was the only one I ever saw out in the field. I don't know who made it but it was labeled as being made in Japan, A number of appliances that Sears sold in the 1980s { including my 1987 induction cooktop, it has never had a problem ] were made by Sanyo.

Post# 487403 , Reply# 9   1/8/2011 at 20:06 (2,722 days old) by yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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I have the brochure here somewhere....if I find it I will scan it in.....but Kenmore had Frigidaires/W-Westinghouses FL set that stacked....but in the store I seen only the washer, with the window painted over in white....I got my Lady K in 1985 just as the change over to 1988 I got my Limited Edition set....between this they were promoting the FL stackable set and was trying to sell that one to me...

Post# 487478 , Reply# 10   1/9/2011 at 07:58 (2,722 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

JC Penney in 1957 or so decided to make the move to shopping malls (prior to that they were in downtown shopping districts, or, starting right after the war, moving into suburban strip shopping centers. There's a Harvard Business School (I think) case on JCP in the 50s. Anyway, they were putting up these shiny 200k sqft stores and needed more to put into them than just clothes and dry goods (which filled up 50k sqft strip center stores...the store at Hampton Village, Missouri near St. Louis was their prototype). Anyway, they needed to get a full line into these stores (plus provide a place for men to shop) so they moved into tools and white/brown goods. Interestingly, though, they did this in a relatively focused manner into the suburban areas of the 50 largest metro areas, leaving their small town base untouched (which provided them the cash to do the switch). Also, they set up a credit card business (again, to allow them to complete with the other full-line department stores.

They also bought a catalog company in the early 60s as well (they weren't in the catalog business before that). Apparently that catalog company was quite advanced/computerized in comparison to Sears/Wards/Spiegel. It was more a soft-goods catalog, though (they didn't put as much of the hardlines in as Sears/Wards did), but they did roll it out nationwide (it wasn't much of a leap for the small dry-goods stores to put in a catalog desk.

So you had new buildings, a credit business, and a need to fill those stores...which launched their white/brown goods program. They had to find partners for each line of appliance/TV/radio, and probably had a tough time of it (think of the options for laundry alone around 1960...Whirlpool...spoken for. Westinghouse...weird and already working with Wards. Maytag...too premium to be a full-line provider in competition with Sears/Wards. Frigidaire---too weird and unique. Beam et al...spoken for (Western Auto/Gambles/AMC). Kelvinator---too weird. Blackstone...too premium and provincial (remember, they needed to get the entire country covered). So hat in hand they went to GE---appropriate scale, had 2 lines so could mix and match parts to create a unique offering, good locationally (Louisville/Chicago/Milwaukee)...

So JCP cobbled together a full-line of white/brown goods which they sold for about 23 years until they got out of the business. They rode the business for about as long as they wanted to (they had better geographic coverage than Wards, and were better financed, but they came at being a nationwide retailer differently than Sears (Sears started with hard goods everywhere and added softlines where warranted--JCP did the reverse.

We had a neighbor who had an avocado JC Penney washing machine.

(I saw a cute youtube recently for an 89 year old woman who has a 1962 Mercury Comet with about a million miles on it...she bought a JCPenney battery in 1980 or so with a lifetime warranty and keeps getting a new battery (now from Firestone) every several years).

Each of the catalogue houses/buying groups had a similar calculation to make...which manufacturer of white/brown goods gives us the best coverage of our store/customer base.

Post# 487705 , Reply# 11   1/9/2011 at 19:27 (2,721 days old) by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

jamiel, interesting story... when did JCP start moving their smaller-town stores to the malls? The one here moved in 1966. The mall store had the sign with the Greek-looking font that said "Penney's" instead of "J. C. Penney". The store had pretty much everything, including a garden center, an auto service center, and a big candy counter. I loved the chocolate stars.

Post# 487754 , Reply# 12   1/9/2011 at 21:19 (2,721 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

1960 or 1961 would be the first of the builds, I think. There were lots and lots of those stores with the stylized JCP around.

Post# 487784 , Reply# 13   1/9/2011 at 22:37 (2,721 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Only knew of two Penney's stores near me when I was a kid. The closest was in Milford, OH and the other was located on the lower floors of the Terrace Hilton hotel in downtown Cincinnati. Don't remember large appliances in either, but we rarely went to the downtown store. The first time I recall seeing major appliances in one of their stores was at Dayton Mall, and that would have been in the late 70's. I quickly identified the laundry machines as being Hotpoint. By this time they were almost the same as GE, with the washer lid opening to the side instead of the back.

Post# 487849 , Reply# 14   1/10/2011 at 05:48 (2,721 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Yeah, Cincinnati was a definite gap in JCP's coverage...I noticed that when I was there for college in 1985..they had a store in Florence, KY but none at the big Ohio malls. That's since been fixed as the department store business consolidated (Cincinnati had 4 department stores as late as 1987...Shillito Rikes/Lazarus, L.S. Ayres, McAlpins and Elder-Beerman.)

Post# 487941 , Reply# 15   1/10/2011 at 14:03 (2,720 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

I know Penncrest also had console stereos and television sets.
I wonder who made those for JCP?

Post# 487953 , Reply# 16   1/10/2011 at 14:54 (2,720 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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I was told some years ago that the MCS series of stereo components were made by RCA.

Post# 487956 , Reply# 17   1/10/2011 at 14:55 (2,720 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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I would suspect GE might made JCP's electronics (or more likely a Japanese mfr.)

There was also AMCREST (of which a friend of mine had a stereo set, but nothing on the back about "JC Penney"; looked up the name & Amcrest is an electronics division of AMC...

Post# 488011 , Reply# 18   1/10/2011 at 17:24 (2,720 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

AMC was Associated Merchandising...a combination of several of the larger local non-competitive department stores to create a brand to go against Sears/Wards/JCP/...

Post# 488012 , Reply# 19   1/10/2011 at 17:27 (2,720 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

AMC was Associated Merchandising...a combination of several of the larger local non-competitive department stores to create a brand to go against Sears/Wards/JCP/...

I think Hudsons was an AMC affiliate in the 50s-60s. No particular connection with American Motors.

May Department Stores in St. Louis had Duracrest as their analogous line.

Post# 488055 , Reply# 20   1/10/2011 at 20:07 (2,720 days old) by yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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Heres the brochure page from Kenmore......printed 1990....basically frigidaires, with a KM badge....I also thougt they had one with a round door....somewhere in the early 90's

Post# 488060 , Reply# 21   1/10/2011 at 20:11 (2,720 days old) by yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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Also, a SUDSSAVER...or in their terms WaterMiser.....somewhat a manual saves suds from every load, no selector switch, just pull the drain plug if you don't want to save the water....a little odd

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