Thread Number: 71179  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 6/7/2017
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Post# 942200   6/7/2017 at 04:07 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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This must be about a 1959-60 Kelvinator washer. Absolutely the coolest washing machine ever made! In the practical world, they really are a pretty good washer. They washed, rinsed and spun out quite well and were the most entertaining to watch. Probably on a par with Apex for visual appeal, but they probably did a better job cleaning dirty clothes. They were small on capacity though and did not get rid of sand and sediment. For the time they were a good machine and had no transmission to deal with. Definitely my favorite washer of all time. Hurray for ABC-o-matic, where they originated from!

Post# 942201 , Reply# 1   6/7/2017 at 04:45 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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I'm a fan of Kelvinator's concentric wash action, too. Dealership instructions for promoting the 1960 line is available in the Ephemera section. I purchased it ages ago. Note that the use of Scott paper napkins is mandated for best results. The ketchup-soiled napkin is washed for 5 minutes. For dealers without easy access to water or a drain, a 5-minute film provided in the advertising kit is to be shown to customers.

Post# 942205 , Reply# 2   6/7/2017 at 06:14 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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Amazing that there were once so very many of them along with the Leonard machines Otasco sold around. They are now scarce as hen's teeth as well as many other things of that era.

Post# 942213 , Reply# 3   6/7/2017 at 07:54 by MixGuy (St. Martinville, Louisiana)        
Conflicting Statements

How can the washing action be heavy duty and gentle at the same time. I realize this is advertising jargon, seriously how was this allowed?

CU testing of washers back then using sand, etc. do you all feel the criteria were fair?

What was the most frequent replaced part in a Kelvinator washer?

Post# 942216 , Reply# 4   6/7/2017 at 08:03 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

Love that lampshade on Phyllis Berens' head.

Post# 942228 , Reply# 5   6/7/2017 at 09:25 by lesto (Atlanta)        

The little boy looks like he could kill. If my Mom dressed me like that I'd be pissed too. Merry Mites and Gay Sprites indeed! What does a woman who wears a lampshade on her head know about designing children clothes anyway?

Post# 942243 , Reply# 6   6/7/2017 at 11:07 by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

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I think Miss Beren's chapeau doubles as a salad bowl come dinner time. I'm grateful my mother bought my school clothes at Sears. I don't believe she ever set foot in an I. Magnin store.


No "Gay Sprites" for me, just hand-me-downs from my brother. Dig those "shoplifter's" cuffs. You could hide a toaster in there.

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Post# 942253 , Reply# 7   6/7/2017 at 11:48 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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Kelvinator washers really were delicate on the slow speed setting with a very small load. On the regular speed they could wash with the best of em. They were good washers, but people tended to overload them because they had a fairly small tub which caused undue wear on the machine and clothes. They also tended to tangle clothes, especially when overloaded. The belts were the most common thing that needed to be replaced. By the time I entered the washer repair game new Kevinator machines were a memory. So I never actually saw a brand new Kelvinator or Leonard, just lots and lots of used ones. I remember they had a 5 year guarantee sticker on many of them I came across. If I were able to have any washer & dryer set ever made, one of my choices would be a Kelvinator set. Another would be the TOL Norge set from 1958.

This post was last edited 06/07/2017 at 12:22
Post# 942254 , Reply# 8   6/7/2017 at 11:58 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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I tried to look up information on Ms. Berens and even 'The Merry Mites & Gay Sprites', on The Web, but unfortunately nothing came up on either...



-- Dave

Post# 942263 , Reply# 9   6/7/2017 at 13:23 by peteski50 (New York)        

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They were awesome washers and had great cleaning power. I wish they would have made a 1/18! Does anyone wonder what it would have been like if they were made bigger?

Post# 942271 , Reply# 10   6/7/2017 at 13:43 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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Had the thought to see what those children's clothes would cost in 2017 dollars. Doesn't seem possible. Maybe the inflation calculator is over inflated but here are the results. 726.1% rate of inflation which is more than 8 times as much.  
  1960 dollars                       2017 dollars  

Boys suit         $17.00            $140.44

Girls skirt           5.00                41.30

Girls top              3.50                28.91

Shirt or Blouse   4.50                37.17


Post# 942272 , Reply# 11   6/7/2017 at 13:46 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Unfortunately, I'm wondering what it would have been like if they were more like 1-18 as in Frigidaire & less stock-WCI... (Too bad Kelvinator couldn't have STILL been "Product Of American Motors", if it needed it, as badly as it needed them, much like GM-Frigidaire...) 



-- Dave

Post# 942275 , Reply# 12   6/7/2017 at 13:57 by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        
Oh Joe...

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"Dig those "shoplifter's" cuffs. You could hide a toaster in there."

LMAO !!! Too funny

Post# 942284 , Reply# 13   6/7/2017 at 15:01 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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If they was bigger, they wouldn't a been Kelvinators. That was one of their attributes, small tub, big agitator. What amazes me is that there are just NO MORE of them to be had anymore. They used to be everywhere here!

Post# 942288 , Reply# 14   6/7/2017 at 15:42 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        

Deep and Turbulent! Right and Exact!
After Thursday comes caturday, when the claws come out.

Post# 942298 , Reply# 15   6/7/2017 at 16:35 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Bruce, fortunately, they are in collections. I have one, a friend close by has two, a friend just south of me has a single and a beautiful mid-50's set in pink.

You are right. At one time they were very popular. I enjoyed stepping into someone's house and hearing that soft thump-thump-thump sound in the background.
IMO they are very good at cleaning. As you pointed out, if overloaded, they would tangle. It was so common the large re set switch was usually in a prominent position on top of the machine. So handy.
The spin was about like a Kenmore or Whirlpool.

Considering how water intensive they were, I wonder how many of them ended up in busy households on well water?

Post# 942349 , Reply# 16   6/7/2017 at 20:59 by Glhturbo2 (Greensboro, NC)        
Beautiful Washer!!

One of my all time favorite washers, what a beauty. I hope to find an AMC Kelvinator someday. Does anyone have an example of this washer? If so, would they be willing to share pictures and information? I would greatly appreciate seeing pictures. I first saw this ad last year and I loved the washer so much, I had it as a screen saver at work lol.


Post# 942350 , Reply# 17   6/7/2017 at 21:09 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Tyler, I have an older version of this type of washer - the ABC was, in fact, the first occurance of this machine back in the early 50s.  By about 1955, Kelvinator had acquired the ABC Company and continued to produce ABC and Kelvinator machines until 1960.    Mine's a 57 - here's a link to the thread I posted about its restoration.  Enjoy!



CLICK HERE TO GO TO turquoisedude's LINK

Post# 942563 , Reply# 18   6/8/2017 at 21:38 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        
Phyllis Berens

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"I tried to look up information on Ms. Berens and even 'The Merry Mites & Gay Sprites', on The Web, but unfortunately nothing came up on either..."

Try this.

The short version is she was an employee of Merry Mites and Gay Sprites, which was was being sued unsuccessfully for trademark infringement.

She was quoted in an article in the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal-Star as late as 1975 and Merry Mites and Gay Sprites was still in business then. I suspect not for much longer, unless they changed their name.

Those salad bowl hats were in vogue in the late Fifties.


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