Thread Number: 70941  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 5/19/2017
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Post# 939325   5/19/2017 at 05:14 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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I personally have never seen one this old. I understand that Bendix were the first automatics in the USA, but have seen very few of them. I think by the time I was aware of automatic washers, they were mostly top loading machines. It would only stand to reason that a washer like this one would not do that great a job of washing as a wringer washer would and the extraction was probably on a par with using a wringer washer too. It did cut down a lot on the trouble of doing laundry with a wringer washer and kept your hands out of the water though.

Post# 939337 , Reply# 1   5/19/2017 at 07:25 by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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The extraction (using the term loosely) was worse than a wringer. The '47 bolt-down I had was a miserable performer by most any standard. You could still wring a bit of water from clothes by hand when the cycle was over. The small drum didn't allow much tumble space for a large load of clothes and the poor extraction made for terrible rinsing. Anecdotal accounts of being able to spot the "Bendix wash" on lines in neighborhoods for the gray and dingy color was the most telling. Bendix attempted to alleviate this by advising users to hang the washing in bright sunshine for the natural bleaching action. Nice.

Despite all of this, Bendix sold millions of them for exactly the reasons you point out, fully automatic, less intensive labor and no chapped hands, wet laundry rooms, etc.

Bruce, we saw there were some big storms around Tulsa, hope all is well with you :-)

Post# 939349 , Reply# 2   5/19/2017 at 10:23 by Mrsalvo (New Braunfels Texas)        

Bruce, yes, we hope you survived the storms that moved through the area yesterday with no problems. Down here in Texas we were under sever weather watches all day yesterday.

I never saw a Bendex washer. That was back before my time.

Post# 939386 , Reply# 3   5/19/2017 at 15:06 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I seriously wonder if this model was ever produced or if it were an artist's concept of the machine.


Funny how the Bendix bolt-down machine was so terrible at water extraction while their Duomatic was much better at water extraction than everyone else's combos. Bendix knew how to kill a machine's performance: no suspension allows very little spinning which allows little water extraction. Those drums were about the size of a canner.

Post# 939481 , Reply# 4   5/20/2017 at 06:58 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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It has stormed here for the last two nights and we were under a severe weather watch. I made it through with no problems so far. I did see a home where someone must have had a bolt down Bendix because of what was left in the garage. There was a built up cement slab that had the remains of bolts that were cut off. As far as actually seeing someone using a Bendix, it was really before my time too. I understand they were in laundromats at some point too. The first front load machines I ever saw in a laundromat were the Westinghouse slant front bolt down machines. Those seemed to be fairly common for laundromats.

Post# 939482 , Reply# 5   5/20/2017 at 07:01 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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For all its faults, can you imagine how exciting it must have been to own the first automatic washer? The ability to put dry laundry into the machine, walk away, and come back to a (very) damp-dried load ready to hang on the line must have been mind-blowing.

This 1936 Bendix was a game-changer in the world of laundry.

Post# 939507 , Reply# 6   5/20/2017 at 10:55 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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I am very curious about how well front loaders in Europe worked and how well they performed. I know that in Europe and most other countries, top loaders were not popular. I know that the front loaders of today are really terrific by any standard in every way, but I don't know if Europe had front loaders or top loading H axis washers that were significantly better than what we had here. I know the Westinghouse front loaders weren't bad, even with rotating in one direction. I also find it interesting that in some countries where there were top load machines, they were not at all like traditional top loaders with an agitator. They were top loading, but had the rotating tub like the front loading machines and operated similar to front loaders. I wonder how well they actually worked. The only one similar to that here was the Launderal that I am aware of and it had to be bolted down. It did rotate in both directions, but didn't do a good job of cleaning from what I understand.

Post# 939520 , Reply# 7   5/20/2017 at 13:27 by foraloysius (Groningen, the Netherlands)        

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The first automatic washers in Europe were American machines, some years before the European machines came on the market here. The very first one was a Bendix frontloader that entered the country in 1947 and that was installed in a house in Rotterdam. I know of several families that had a GE toploader washer and sometimes a GE dryer. And I've seen ads for Westinghouse washing machines.

Constructa is considered the first manufacturer who brought out a European frontloader. here's a video of an early model from 1953. IIRC, the first one came out in 1951.

The machine would have been bolted down under normal circumstances.

Post# 939522 , Reply# 8   5/20/2017 at 13:37 by foraloysius (Groningen, the Netherlands)        

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The first fully automatic (H-axis) toploader came a few years later on the market in Switzerland. It was a V-Zug Unimatic, a beast of a machine. H-axis toploaders were more popular in Europe than the V-axis machines, except for the UK in those years.

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Post# 939524 , Reply# 9   5/20/2017 at 14:18 by foraloysius (Groningen, the Netherlands)        

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In the first few years that the European automatic washing machines were on the market, they were very expensive. The machine that made automatic washing affordable was the AEG Turnamat especially in the Netherlands and I think also in Germany. It was an H-axis twintub. Two drums, a washing and rinsing drum on the left and the spinner on the right. Washing and rinsing (5 or 6 rinses, depending on the brand) were done fully automatic. No spinning between rinses, therefor lots of water was used. After that you only had to put the wet laundry in the spinner. The Turnamat and similar machines from other brands were relatively cheap. And soon huge trade in sums were paid for old wringer washers and the not so very popular V-axis twintub. It made an automatic affordable, around 1960 they were not much more expensive than a non-automatic twintub like the Hoovermatic. Although machines like the Hoovermatic were very popular in the UK, they didn't appeal to the customers on the continent. On the other hand, the Turnamat never really caught on in the UK. Perhaps that has something to do with the bigger size of the Turnamat. In the UK a lot of people have the washing machine in the kitchen, a Turnamat wouldn't really fit in a kitchen, but that is only a guess. Here's a commercial for a Turnamat (in Dutch).

Post# 939635 , Reply# 10   5/21/2017 at 08:22 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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Thank you, that bit of history is quite interesting. I always thought it interesting that different types of washers were popular in some places, but not others.

Post# 939747 , Reply# 11   5/22/2017 at 09:44 by foraloysius (Groningen, the Netherlands)        

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You're welcome Bruce. The European market was very different from the American market. Every country had it's own manufacturers and therefor it's own preferenced type of machine. France was a typical H-axis toploader country like this VEDETTE 834 Super:

In Italy however frontloaders were more popular.

But to go back to the first Bendix machines and the first Constructa's, they were totally different. The Constructa was hooked up to cold water only and had a huge built in heater. Most early European frontloaders ran on 380V. Lots of power there to heat water up to boiling point or just below that.

The Constructa was also different that it had a soak, prewash and main wash cycle and I think it spins a bit faster too. On the other side the Bendix was most likely more affordable than the more complicated Constructa.

Now if you have any questions, just ask.

Post# 940761 , Reply# 12   5/29/2017 at 05:49 by deconstruction (WEESP, The Netherlands)        
AEG Turna S: drain-pump

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Does anyone have technical information (e.g. technical parts drawing) of the drain-pump used in the AEG Turna S? *
My faithful Turna S has started to cry, it seems through the impeller and I don't want to pull it apart before I know how it is constructed.

* which is a Turnamat S but without the centrifuge unit.

Post# 940772 , Reply# 13   5/29/2017 at 08:44 by foraloysius (Groningen, the Netherlands)        

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Hi to another Dutch member.

I think it is best to start a new topic for this.

Post# 940777 , Reply# 14   5/29/2017 at 09:09 by deconstruction (WEESP, The Netherlands)        
AEG Turna S

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Sure, I will do that  laughing


(new thread 71071 started)


foraloysius, gegroet!  

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