Thread Number: 71449  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 6/27/2017
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Post# 945511   6/27/2017 at 03:55 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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So what about Zenith washers and dryers? I have never seen one myself and know nothing about them. It seems a conflict of interests for me. I DO know about Zenith radios, phonographs and televisions. They made a very famous "cobra matic" record changer and "cobra" cartridge for their phonographs in the 40's and 50's. Wurlitzer jukeboxes even used their needle cartridges in the 40's and 50's.

This post was last edited 06/27/2017 at 04:13

Post# 945515 , Reply# 1   6/27/2017 at 04:55 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Yeah I also have never heard of Zenith washers/dryers.  Did Zenith build them or were they built for them?

Post# 945519 , Reply# 2   6/27/2017 at 05:31 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Looks kind of Apexish.

Post# 945521 , Reply# 3   6/27/2017 at 05:41 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

They were Beam-style machines, solid tub. I felt really cheated when a family on my paper route had a brand new GE that replaced a Zenith. The wife was so effing stupid. She was trying to add bleach to the wash and had stopped the machine and removed the filter pan. I said that she could just pour the diluted bleach into the filter pan while the machine was running, but she said that the instructions said never to add bleach to the filter pan.  I could see that a whole day of explaining to her would not help her to understand so I congratulated them on their new washer and left. This being in the south and a house without a basement, the washer was just inside the kitchen door, where I always went to collect and the Norge gas dryer was in the utility room off the carport where the gas water heater was located.

Post# 945525 , Reply# 4   6/27/2017 at 06:12 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Add me to the list of people who didn't know the Zenith brand reached beyond TV/radio/phonograph. Did they offer major kitchen appliances, as well?

Since you mentioned it, Bruce, I loved the look of the early '60s Cobra-Matic record changers. Not as cool as the Collaro changers used by Magnavox, but the cobra-looking tonearm was pretty awesome. Our friends the Mankeys had this unit in their Zenith console. Sharp!

Post# 945529 , Reply# 5   6/27/2017 at 06:33 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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There was some link between the Zenith washer and that highly unusual Canadian washer I have - the Dominion.  When I was digging through the archives at the Wellington County museum in Fergus, Ontario I found several references to washer parts listing both Dominion and Zenith parts (not just nuts and bolts, but the actual nameplates).  


It turns out that the 58 Dominion washer I have was based on an unusual design that was patented by Easy but in Canada only.  At some point in the 1960s, Easy Canada and Beatty did merge but that only lasted a few years. 


I have yet to see any trace of the Zenith washer in Canada - I can't help but think that the Zenith was made for the US market while the Dominion (and a Beatty version of the same machine) was sold in Canada.  The machines seemed to be made starting in 1957.  The Dominion line was phased out in 1960; Beatty washers were then based on a Blackstone design starting in 1962.  However, I was unable to find any production dates for Zenith washers and dryers...  

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Post# 945555 , Reply# 6   6/27/2017 at 09:56 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Our friend and neighbor had the Cobra-Matic turntable with the two lines of something like little lighted rectangles below the turntable that had to be brought into synchronization to provide the optimum speed for each brand of record. I only saw it once so I might have some of the details wrong.

Post# 945584 , Reply# 7   6/27/2017 at 14:10 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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Yes, a strobe indicator that you adjusted until the line quit moving one way or the other. The Zenith Cobra changer that is pictured is a much later one made in the 60's by VM changers for Zenith with the cobra arm. The original changers were quite different than this one. Zenith made the original changers from the 50's. Most of them did not automatically turn off after the last record played. They just repeated the last one over and over until someone turned them off. They did make one model changer that automatically shut off after the last record toward the end of their production of Zenith changers. It interestingly enough, just went to the end of the last record and shut off without returning to the arm's rest area. They also had a different way the spindle dropped the records too, from the newer ones.

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