Thread Number: 71025  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 5-26-17 Easy Combination Washer-Dryer
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Post# 940301   5/26/2017 at 06:28 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Sure sounds great, doesn't it? It seems that they over overcame the laws of physics, but they are inviolable. Motion has to go somewhere and while they tried, they could not overcome the laws of motion in a horizontal axis cylinder spinning at high speed. Putting the two motors at the top of the tub and tipping the cylinder down at the back to encourage the distribution of the fabrics for the spin to fall under the heaviest part of the machine which was under the two motors was a brilliant attempt, but not the most successful.


The sad thing about every combination washer dryer other than the Bendix was that they could not spin adequately. AVCO, owner of Bendix tied up not only the patents for the "old way" with a suspended mechanism, they also patented the IDEA of one machine that washed and dried, the intellectual property, as it were. So not only could no other manufacturer use a suspended mechanism within the cabinet to achieve good water extraction, they had to pay AVCO a royalty on every combination they produced. Because of this, and the disappointing performance and therefore sales of the combination units, only Whirlpool, because of the wealth generated by their sales through Sears, was able to afford to re-engineer their combination unit to approach the performance of the Bendix unit in water extraction. It took, with the electromechanical components of the time, over 1600 parts to do it. John & Jeff's brother Jerry, who was then and is still a VW aficianado, counted the parts from the combo's parts diagrams and pages and came up with the total which was the same total as a VW bug of the day.  The machine was far more complex than the Bendix, naturally, and took several in-field revisions and in-factory redesigns to approach a dependable and less trouble-free design than the original 29 inch machines.


I have seen the Easy operate. The rinsing is less than adequate, in spite of using lots of water during the long spray spin. The water extraction is poor. The Murray Corporation, the same company that made Murray Bicycles which so many  of us and our friends had, was the same corporation that owned Easy. Later they sold to the Hupp Corporation or maybe that is reversed. Nobody invested more of their marketing hopes into combos than Easy and they lost big time. I remember the washers and dryers they made for AMC in the mid 60s and they were primitive compared to GE and Norge. It was a sad demise, BUT Easy was the first to make a TL washing machine with a motor, transmission and pump in a direct drive component similar to what Whirlpool did with the Design 2000 drive decades later.

This post was last edited 05/26/2017 at 09:03

Post# 940302 , Reply# 1   5/26/2017 at 06:42 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

brucelucenta's profile picture
You have a VERY impressive knowledge of this machine and history of combo machines.

Post# 940306 , Reply# 2   5/26/2017 at 08:14 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Thank you. I am old. I remember sitting on the living room sofa while a friend of my mother who was a fellow home economist tried to sell her a Duomatic. She was not, however, too anxious to share information and pictures with me at somewhere under 4 years of age. Oh, how I wish reading had been taught earlier when I was too young for school.  We, here, have taught each other with shared knowledge, but many of us were the kids pouring through old Consumer Reports and Consumers' Research Bulletins anywhere we could find them so that, at least if we could not explore the machines in person, we could read about them.

Post# 940369 , Reply# 3   5/26/2017 at 17:38 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

This was the combo with the surge/spin type thing where the tub was repeatedly accelerated so the vibration was just for a few seconds on each surge...right? ISTR an earlier depiction (did someone have this unit?) discussing this.

Post# 940440 , Reply# 4   5/26/2017 at 22:04 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

There is a working one in the Belchville museum and, yes, it does have the surge-spins and we have discussed this before.

Post# 940455 , Reply# 5   5/26/2017 at 23:01 by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

Another question to the expert, how well did the surge spin concept work? I personally imagine that it would put much stress on the motor and make quite a racket while running likely not extract very well.

Post# 940487 , Reply# 6   5/27/2017 at 07:28 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

In the Easy, there were two motors, one that ran all the time for tumbling  and to run the blower and a special accelux(sp?) motor that only pulsed on for the spin.  The report mentioned that this surging spin caused the machine to sometimes creep sideways on the floor, so special cups that were screwed to the floor were used to hold it in place. GE combos could have their feet put in similar shoes. Would that restaurants had them for children of stupid parents. All of these machines were noisy, although the Maytag was quieter, because the mechanism, motor and everything was connected to the base of the machine and the belt and speed-changer technology was pretty primitive, with the exception of the Bendix and then Philco, Duomatics which were the only machines that had a suspension system to isolate the noise and vibration. In the Bendix-designed combinations, the motor was mounted to the tub which was suspended, like in a Westinghouse or Bendix front loading washer with a suspended mechanism. The only parts of a Duomatic that were mounted to the base of the machine were the fill valve and the gas burner in the gas drying models. If you remember that obnoxious loud and harsh music that started the TV show Roseanne,  that always reminded me of the way the noise from most combos running went right down through the floor and in most houses it was a wooden floor so it really resonated. Most were as noisy during drying as washing because all of that machinery was running during both phases. Vented models, and some condenser models as well, also had a fan running and in the WP-made models, it ran through the whole cycle because of the gas burner operating to heat the water.


Easy had the largest selection, along with Philco, of models and features in their combinations. Both offered vented and condenser drying and gas and electric models.


Given the constraints under which manufacturers designed and built the combinations, they were miracles of their day. I am reminded of a remark by Samuel Johnson about a woman preaching found in Boswell's Life of Dr.Johnson, volume 1, page 287:

"Sir, a woman preaching is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."



Post# 941271 , Reply# 7   6/1/2017 at 10:00 by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

I do believe Jerry (Moparwash) and I (among a few others) used the machine last August in Beltsville. I don't recall noticing any rinse-related issues but DO recall the poor water extraction and resultant extended drying times. IIRC a few combos could be used for wash only for technical reasons that escape me at the moment. If that was the case for the Easy, the dryers used would've affected our perceptions. Perhaps Jerry or someone else with better recall could elaborate?

Sorry for the lack of details but I spent most of that day flip-flopping between standing shell-shocked and running around like a kid in a candy store. It was all overwhelming in a really, really good way:-)

I do see why companies spent so much time and energy on combos. I wouldn't be surprised if both R&D and marketing depts. were stuck on the idea of "If we can just get it right we'll sell millions!" The concept of throwing dirty clothes into a machine, walking away, and coming back later to clean clothes ready to fold or iron could be irresistible for a person whose work day was primarily in & around the home. I know if I were a stay-at-home parent with a large family I'd want TWO plus a separate dryer to improve through-put when needed!

Thanks for the Johnson quote. Useful for situations when a result is poor over all but surprisingly good given the situation.

Kids pouring over magazines and catalogues. ... Yup, I was one of them! Looking back I wonder if one of the reasons my grandfather started teaching me to read at 4 was so I could investigate things on my own without bugging the adults, lol.


Post# 941274 , Reply# 8   6/1/2017 at 10:26 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

The Easy combo did dry, at least when we received it. I believe the person who sold it to us had used it some and was impressed.  It was one of the vented combinations.


When I had my Duomatic in Greenbelt and heated water electrically, I usually saved the warm rinse water and dryer condensing water in top loading washers for washing other loads of laundry. The condenser water came out nicely warmed, a sign of an efficient condenser.

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