Thread Number: 60870  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Philco bendix duomatic
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Post# 834900   8/2/2015 at 23:34 (1,055 days old) by Sheldon27 (delta)        

Can anyone tell me about this? We found it still in the box in the basement of an old building we bought

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Post# 834905 , Reply# 1   8/3/2015 at 00:20 (1,055 days old) by washdaddy (Baltimore)        

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you have found yourself a combination washer /dryer. You can consider yourself very lucky to find such a machine. I don't know all the specifics on your little gem but be patient. Others on here who are more familiar with it will soon be chiming in to give you the scoop on the machine.

Post# 834906 , Reply# 2   8/3/2015 at 00:27 (1,055 days old) by Stricklybojack (San Diego, CA)        

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machine looks very cool, and to find it NIB? Fantastic!

Post# 834917 , Reply# 3   8/3/2015 at 05:16 (1,054 days old) by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
The finder Gods are with you . . .

. . . you have found yourself a 1959 or 1960 Philco/Bendix Duomatic meaning it is a washer and a dryer all in one unit. And if you mean "in the box" and never used . . . were it me, I would need smelling salts.

I have the 1959 model and it works like a charm. It does exactly what it's supposed to do -- set the controls and it washes and dries. The dial on the left you set for the wash cycle. The dial on the right you set for the dry cycle.

The machine will go through a fairly short "soak" cycle and stop. Then you turn the dial to the "wash" cycle and it will wash, spin, rinse, spin, rinse, spin, then go into the dry cycle. (After the wash cycle, there is a drain/rinse cycle where fresh water runs into the tub while the system is still draining. This is kind of a suds break to make sure there is not a suds lock when it goes into the spin.)

It will hold about an 8 or 9 pound load.

The dryer mechanism is a condenser type mechanism wherein the Duomatic will tumble and heat while running cold water across a metal plate inside the mechanism. The heat on the wet clothes creates steam. The steam touches the cold, wet metal plate and condenses. The condensed water is then pumped down the drain.

The small door on top of the machine is for adding detergent and/or bleach during the wash cycle. This door must remain closed so that the steam does not escape into the room during the dry cycle.

There are all kinds of clicks and noises the Duomatic will make that simply adds to the drama of doing laundry.

A small amount of low sudsing (HE) detergent should be used.

Bendix originated the automatic washer. Then in 1953 or so, they originated the washer/dryer combination. They were the only company that had a fast (600 rpm) spin to extract water before drying in their combination units. This was possible because they held the patent on shock absorbers to absorb the vibration from the fast spin thereby needing less time for the dry cycle.

You've got yourself a jewel. Let us know how it works out. Of course, it requires a 220 volt electrical hookup. Also, in order for the dryer mechanism to work, the cold water must be on. This allows the condensing mechanism to work.


Jerry Gay

Post# 834929 , Reply# 4   8/3/2015 at 08:27 (1,054 days old) by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
I should add . . .

. . . that if this machine is in fact "in the box" and never used, there are probably shipping brackets attached to the inner mechanism to keep the innards steady in transit. These shipping brackets should be removed before the machine is used.

If not, the noise would be deafening and the machine would probably try to "walk" across the floor.

Mine has just finished a load this morning. It is fascinating to watch.


Jerry Gay

Post# 834930 , Reply# 5   8/3/2015 at 08:30 (1,054 days old) by Sheldon27 (delta)        

Wow! Thanks jerry, so are these old machines pretty popular still? What would one like this be worth? It's pretty much in like new condition, I don't think it's ever had a load of laundry run through it

Post# 834943 , Reply# 6   8/3/2015 at 12:09 (1,054 days old) by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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Truly an amazing find to find anything that is 60 years old and un-used.

There are people that are indeed interested in restoring/collecting/using these machines today, although you could likely could most all those people on your fingers. So unlike finding something like an un-used 1959 Corvette you will likely find the market to be a lot more limited in this case.

Another thing to bear in mind is that even if this machine was never used, it is entirely possible that it has problems just due to age. Rubber can dry rot and perhaps parts could even be frozen due to time passed. Parts availability is near nill today so some ingenuity may be needed with an antique like this.

It is a piece of history and should be treated as such. My hunch is that you aren't interested in keeping the unit yourself? If that is the case I hope you manage to find someone that will curate and protect it as well as enjoy using it.

Post# 834977 , Reply# 7   8/3/2015 at 16:58 (1,054 days old) by PeterH770 (Marietta, GA)        

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Great find!!! Must be a model year off from mine or a MOL model, as it has pushbuttons instead of the many knobs and the automatic bleach/softener dispenser...

Post# 835011 , Reply# 8   8/3/2015 at 21:10 (1,054 days old) by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
Sorry, Sheldon . . .

. . . these units are not popular today. Their main problem is that they take about 1.5 to 2 hours to do a load of laundry. At the time they came out, housewives were used to doing a week's worth of laundry in one day -- wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, etc. It was hard for them to get out of this habit, therefore doing several loads of laundry in a day took all day long.

Today, however, people wash clothes several times a week, and these machines might be more popular now than when they were first introduced.

Combinations were made by Whirlpool (Kenmore), GE, Easy, Norge, Speed Queen and several others none of which are made today unless you could buy a Sears Kenmore through the Sears catalogue.

I can't help you with the value of this machine. I'm not good at bargaining. I see something I want bad enough, I buy it. But I doubt that you'll get rich by selling this Duomatic. I just hope that whoever gets it is interested enough to use it and keep it in good condition. Mine is a 1959 model and I've used it for several years with no major problems. It's not my daily driver, but it gets its share of use along with my 1944 Baby Bendix (one of the ones that has to be bolted to the floor or it would walk).

Best of luck to you with the Duomatic. If you have any other questions I could answer, I'd be happy to.

Jerry Gay

Post# 930912 , Reply# 9   4/6/2017 at 18:39 (442 days old) by scoots (Chattanooga TN)        
Does anybody know what happened to this machine?

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Any word on what happened to this machine?

This is a sad pattern, somebody finds an rare washer only to discover that rare does not always mean valuable... and then radio silence.

"American Pickers" has just made it worse....

Post# 930917 , Reply# 10   4/6/2017 at 19:00 (442 days old) by Stricklybojack (San Diego, CA)        

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What was on American Pickers?

Dangling, unresolved, or left unanswered, discussion threads abound.

Post# 930987 , Reply# 11   4/7/2017 at 02:16 (442 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
"Any word on what happened to this machine?"

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Two main options really.

Seller decided to keep the thing. Or, as often is the case when rare NIB items are "announced" on this forum, then things go quiet, an offline side deal was done. Thus the machine will join others that have disappeared into a private collection never to be heard about again. That is unless something goes wrong and the new owner is forced by circumstances to reveal himself by appealing to this forum for assistance.

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