Thread Number: 69891  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 3/22/2017
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Post# 928184   3/22/2017 at 04:36 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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I have had and worked on my fair share of Philco washers like this one, but all the ones I have seen were fairly simple and not fancy like this model. They all had the flipper by the late 50's, but most that I encounters had 4 cycles. They had a variable water level and no switch for water temperature because that was determined by the cycle you used. It did make it impossible to manipulate the wash and spin speeds along with the water temp. I always thought that rather odd. If memory serves me correctly, they had a hot cycle and a warm cycle with normal speeds and a warm cycle and cold cycle with slow speeds. I guess that those models must have been a common one that a lot of people bought back in the day at Otasco. I personally have always preferred washers that you could select the water temps and speed independently for flexibility. Philco did a decent job washing the clothes though. They didn't spin out very well though, about like a Kenmore/Whirlpool of the same era.

Post# 928282 , Reply# 1   3/22/2017 at 16:03 by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        
Hi Bruce!

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It would definitely be a different & neat washer to have, I think!
Since I'm not familiar with or have never seen this Philco washer's washing action in person, I do feel kinda questionable about it's washing performance abilities.

Did this style of agitation/washing action have a tendency to tangle up the load of clothes?

Would the movement of the clothes being washed in the Philco washer be compared to the same kind of movement of the clothes in a GM Frigidaire washer?
That's something I've always wondered?
If you can understand my question, without me being able to explain it with my hands?

Post# 928339 , Reply# 2   3/22/2017 at 19:43 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Hi Christina, don't mean to step in front of Bruce. I've used plenty of these over the years and have found the roll-over is not near as aggressive as Frigidaires.
I really preferred the solid tub version of this machine, however the perf tub machines were alright.
I never knew anyone who had one complain about its performance. Never known one to tangle.
A couple of people I know in this area have them and use them often. They are fun to watch. I love the spin drain with the flapper splashing furiously as the water begins to uncover it!

Post# 928347 , Reply# 3   3/22/2017 at 20:19 by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        
Being only 16...

I have never personally seen one, but I have a few questions.

*For how long were the Automagic type models produced?

*How did performance compare to something conventional like a Maytag, Whirlpool, or Speed Queen of the day? How about a Frigidaire Unimatic?

*Finally, what did Consumer Reports think of it at the time?

Thanks in advance! I'm just kind of curious.

Post# 928368 , Reply# 4   3/22/2017 at 21:36 by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        
Check out the videos

Of the Automagic both on this site and on you tube.

Robert did a video if I remember. No matter how much laundry he kept adding, it still kept rolling over.

I just can't picture this machine getting a load of jeans clean, esp not newer stiffer ones..

Post# 928377 , Reply# 5   3/22/2017 at 22:01 by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

Seems like Robert's older model performs better than DADoES's or Jetcone John's models from the 1960s.

Post# 928580 , Reply# 6   3/23/2017 at 20:34 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Shane, new, stiff jeans could be a challenge in any old standard capacity machine, especially if overloaded. Frigidaires and Philcos could roll them over if the weren't stuffed full. Three pair was usually a full load! GE, Maytag, SQ, etc. would usually just thrash stiff denim clean if it couldn't roll them over.

Richard, it may be that Robert's machine is a solid tub version. I don't remember.
Also, once the Flap a Lator began to wear down it had an effect on performance. Since the parts are scarce, and the machines are old, that can be an issue when it comes to roll over.
Just 'sayin.

It's a shame they weren't around more longer than they were. I don't recall an exact date, however, I don't remember them being sold after about 1968 or so.
I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I can tell you. I'm thinking Ford just discontinued the line.

Post# 928591 , Reply# 7   3/23/2017 at 21:47 by Washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        

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And how effective was the lint filter? The way it's built into the agitator reminds of the less-than-impressive lint filter of Maytag agitators...did it work the same way?

Post# 928605 , Reply# 8   3/24/2017 at 05:12 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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As Gyrafoam said, the agitation isn't terribly aggressive, it did seem to wash things fairly well though and didn't tangle the clothes up like the old Frigidaire's did. Consumer reports rated them at the top when they first came out for washability, next to Norge. They had a big rubber fin that rotated up and down that worked on a rocker arm, somewhat like a Kelvinator in a way and somewhat like a Frigidaire in a way. It actually moved the clothes more like a Kevinator did. The lint filter was much like Maytag and water would move through it to catch lint. Not the best washer in the world, but certainly not the worst either. The motor ran in one direction for agitation and there was a tub brake for that direction and it ran the other direction for spin and there was no tub brake, so it agitated till the tub was up to full speed. They weren't that great at water extraction, about like a Whirlpool/Kenmore. They also weren't great at sand disposal either. They had several rubber parts that would wear out and eventually tear that have long since not been available. There were two different designs within the short time they were made. One from the late 50's to early 60's and the other from mid 60's to their final machines. Both washed in the same way. As far as new stiff jeans, I think probably nothing washes them better than an old belt drive Whirlpool washer.

Post# 928628 , Reply# 9   3/24/2017 at 08:00 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
They washed great

But some models had a BAD design flaw, the pump was mounted on TOP of the motor, so if you got a leak, you ruined the motor, I think the top load Westinghouse had this design too.But they washed as good as a Frigidaire I thought, If you want dirty nasty heavy fabrics cleaned well...GIT A NORGE!!!!

Post# 928662 , Reply# 10   3/24/2017 at 13:38 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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The earlier Philco Automagic washers turned over a load much faster than the later large capacity machines. I have a 1959 model, the first year of the Automagic. It has never ever tangled anything, including sheets and it doesn't need any special loading in any way. The Philco solid tub washers can handle a very large load.

The lint filter is relatively effective and has a small basket for collecting the lint, but otherwise works similar to a Maytag helical-drive agitator lint filter.

In 1959 Consumer Reports Rated Frigidaire #1 (as they did in 1958 as well), Norge 2 and the new Philco #3...

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