Thread Number: 71476  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 6/29/2017
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Post# 945812   6/29/2017 at 04:24 (297 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

While I have not ever seen a Whirlpool dry cleaning machine, they did have them obviously and Whirlpool got in on the coin op dry cleaning business with others. The machine looks somewhat like the combo washer/dryer from what I can see of it. At that time the machines used a solution known as "perc", which is not flammable but has since been considered a hazardous substance and is highly regulated now by the government. The laundromats that were most common in the 60's and 70's were Speed Queen and Maytag. Speed Queen had their own version of dry cleaning machines, but Maytag did not to my knowledge have one.

Post# 945817 , Reply# 1   6/29/2017 at 05:15 (297 days old) by henene4 (Germany)        

Imagine the amount of abuse these would get today. No way there would be any chance of remakeing something like that today...

Post# 945821 , Reply# 2   6/29/2017 at 06:03 (297 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

The drycleaning machines were locked and an attendant had to be there to assist users. The perchlorethylene served not only as the cleaning fluid, but also as the refrigerant for the dry cycle where the vaporizing fumes were condensed and returned to the reservoir for the next use.  What you saw out front was the smallest part of a big piece of machinery.


The lady in aqua checking her coiffure on the left had her hair done just to come to this high class gathering place.  It sort of looks like the way people used to dress to fly or to go downtown shopping before malls allowed people to just roll out of bed and go to the store. 


Similar to the dry cleaner based on the combo was the Whirlpool Wash-a-Lot which was the combo, but just for washing. I have no idea what they did for good water extraction because there was no way in hell that the combo was made to withstand the forces of even moderate speed spin speeds, even bolted down. I tried to use one in a decrepit coin laundry in the late 60s in Decatur, but the machine did not work. The owner seemed sadly surprised. "It was just working," he said. That breakdown might have been the straw that broke the camel's back. I had to take the throw rugs to another place to wash them. I guess that was better than if I had tried to wash them there and been responsible for killing this machine, the only one of three without an "OUT OF ORDER" sign attached to it.

Post# 945828 , Reply# 3   6/29/2017 at 06:33 (297 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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College: A coin-op Whirlpool washer was in the laundry room on our floor in the dorm. This would have been the late '70s. I missed the GE Filter-Flo in my freshman dorm and felt it was typical that I couldn't seem to get away from Whirlpool-made belt drives, having grown up with a 1960 Kenmore.

Was surprised there was no kick-out function for unbalanced loads. I would step off the elevator and see a couple of guys staring at the cabinet-banging racket, not knowing what to do about it or why it was happening, LOL.

Coin-op dry cleaning: Did Westinghouse have them? Three coin-op machines were in the local laundromat when I was growing up, but never saw them used. Didn't pay much attention to them, really. It was a Westinghouse-filled 'mat, so I wonder if the dry-cleaning machines were Westys, too?

Love the 'high-class' look of the ad as part of the message Whirlpool was trying to push. Don't recall seeing anyone dressed up at a laundromat when I was a kid.

Post# 945838 , Reply# 4   6/29/2017 at 07:32 (297 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Several laundromats had coin-op dry cleaners here, but don't remember al of the brands. The Norge VIllage had three that we went in to use once but I was far more fascinated with the roaring and banging top load washers than the dry cleaners. We never used the dry cleaning machines again, I don't think mom was happy with the results vs. the drop off dry cleaners. (i was in Norge heaven though!)

Post# 945841 , Reply# 5   6/29/2017 at 07:52 (297 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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"The lady in aqua checking her coiffure on the left had her hair done just to come to this high class gathering place. It sort of looks like the way people used to dress to fly or to go downtown shopping before malls allowed people to just roll out of bed and go to the store. "

It is amazing if you did grow up in that time when people did get dressed to go shopping, out to dinner, or Church and what you see now in stores, restaurants, etc.

I couldn't leave the house with out shining my shoes. My Dad would have a fit !!!

Kiwi Paste Polish, brush them, and then buff them with a cloth until they shined like the top of the Chrysler Building.

Post# 945851 , Reply# 6   6/29/2017 at 08:32 (297 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Same here, Eddie. Always dressed up to go out shopping, etc. My mom, who came here from Italy in 1946, insisted that I change out of play clothes and into a nice shirt for dinner. Always a tablecloth and linen napkins. She never left the house without getting dressed up a bit.

It was a different time. Remember having to wear a hat? I flew with my Dad for work a few times in the 1960s and we'd both wear a jacket and tie. He'd say, "People dress up when they fly so they look sharp if the plane goes down." I miss his dry English humor.

I play in brass groups at churches occasionally and it's primarily the 55-and-older bracket that still get dressed up in their Sunday best.

Post# 945854 , Reply# 7   6/29/2017 at 08:43 (297 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Westinghouse did, indeed, have the drycleaners. The styling was based on the model with the trapezoidal door window.

Post# 945855 , Reply# 8   6/29/2017 at 08:50 (297 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

frigilux's profile picture
Thanks for confirming that Westy coin-op dry cleaners did exist, Tom.

Post# 945860 , Reply# 9   6/29/2017 at 10:03 (297 days old) by RevvinKevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        
Coin-op dry cleaning

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I can't remember how old I was, fairly young I assume, but I remember going into a local "Norge Village" one time and seeing these large front load "washers" with a small window door.   There was a small-ish round button next to the door and I of course pressed it.  The solenoid clicked and the door unlocked.  I opened the door and looked inside, but the smell was horrible!  I now know that was the dry cleaning fluid "perc".  At that point someone, either the attendant or one of my parents (don't remember) whisked me away from the machine and out the front door. 


Here are a couple coin-op dry cleaning ads for Norge and Westinghouse. I hope these are not in the POD rotation, if so I apologize Robert, please remove them.



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