Thread Number: 71565  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
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Post# 946970   7/7/2017 at 03:36 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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The 1961 General Electric TOL washer offered something completely new with the mini basket for very small and/or delicate items. The 12 pound tub held a bigger load than previous models too and still had the FF system. This was pretty much the beginning of the capacity race for automatic washers. With the perforated tub, sand and sediment were more easily disposed of too. It was a water hog though and used a great deal of water to fill both the inner and outer tubs. It kept the same basic balancing system, which is the reason it needed so much room between the 2 tubs. The appearance of the 1960 compared to the 1961 model was minimal from the outside. Most of the changes were done to the interior of the machine. I was a good operating machine that washed, rinsed and spun clothes out quite well and had a good servicing record for being reliable too. This same basic design would be used for the next 3 decades and the mini basket became almost as well known as the FF system was for GE.

Post# 946979 , Reply# 1   7/7/2017 at 07:46 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        
The Mini Basket

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was introduced in 1962.  While there were several print advertisements each year for GE washers and dryers, this is the only one I've ever seen for 1962.



Post# 946982 , Reply# 2   7/7/2017 at 08:17 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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This may be a dumb question, but was the mini-basket introduced when GE switched to perf-tub washers?

Post# 946988 , Reply# 3   7/7/2017 at 09:32 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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Nope.  The perforated tubs and the 12-lb capacity were introduced with the 1961 models.  Mini-basket was introduced the next year.



Post# 946999 , Reply# 4   7/7/2017 at 11:03 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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Wow, I am surprised that this same design was used for at least 3 years. I know the 1960 model looked almost identical, but had a solid tub instead of perforated one, so the '62 must have just had that added setting for the load size to be for mini basket.

Post# 947008 , Reply# 5   7/7/2017 at 12:42 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        
Parade o' General Electric

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So I thought it might be fun to assemble a timeline of sorts of GE washers.  One of the first things I discovered was that I was wrong above when I made the comment that additional 1962 washer ads didn't exist - I found at least two.  My bad.


So here is a parade of GE washers from 1954 through 1964, sometimes with companion dryer.  With the exception of the last photo, these represent the TOL model for each year.  The last photo is of the console-that-wouldn't-die that GE introduced in 1964 for the less-expensive models and that they continued in some form until almost the end of the Filter-flo era.  IMHO, these were the exciting years for the development of GE's laundry products, but not the end of innovation.  Later would appear their Versatronic controls, 18-lb capacity machines (with their 'Joe Mama' sized companion dryers), electronic sensors on dryers, and the Dispensal system on the washers.  For this post, I chose to stop at 1964.  I claim to have posted the pictures in chronological order....


Some highlights (primarily features and consoles, references to color are to consoles/controls):

1954 - new cabinet design that lasted 3 years; as with their refrigerators, the appliances featured the GE monogram prominently on the cabinet.

1955 - new markings/colors; introduction of GE's 'mix-n-match' appliance colors.

1956 - introduction of Filter-flo; heavy use of copper trim.

1957 - introduction of 'straight-line styling' and a new console design that would be used for 3 years; only year the timer was on the left; pink was definitely the color of the year based on plastic trim; first year for suds saver option.

1958 - introduction of programmed selections (piano keys); dark blue-green was the color.

1959 - introduction of a 'cold wash' piano key; multi-colors on the timer corresponding to the program selection choices.

1960 - introduction of a new, larger console design that would be used for 4 years; introduction of the 'bleach bucket' (my terminology) on the front of the cabinet; GE featured their 'Golden Value' products along with their anniversary so the colors on the console were browns and yellow/gold.

1961 - introduction of the 12-lb capacity, perforated tub design; introduction of a 3-position rotary water level switch; light blue markings and backgrounds for the console.

1962 - introduction of the Mini-Basket with a fourth water level choice; black-and-white console.

1963 - pretty much the same as 1962 with a switching of the black and white positions on the console.

1964 - introduction of a new console design, featuring a timeline timer configuration that would be used for 3 years.



  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 12         View Full Size
Post# 947011 , Reply# 6   7/7/2017 at 12:58 by RevvinKevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        

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Lawrence, thanks so much for posting this "Parade-O-General Electric" ads and info, very interesting!  One comment (correction?) however.  Photo #11, that is a 1963?  The console design is quite different from the 1962 (photo #10) machines, flush mounted on the top, vs. the elevated-pedestal design.  Was this control panel mounting the same throughout the model line, or only on the TOL model like in the ad?




Post# 947013 , Reply# 7   7/7/2017 at 13:04 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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Photo 9 is the 1962 (in the back of the delivery truck); photo 10 is the 1963 (same console as 1962 except black and white areas are switched); photo 11 is the 1964 (sitting on the washing machine top, no pedestals).  These were the TOL machines.  In 1964, the cheaper machines used the console shown in photo 12.



Post# 947017 , Reply# 8   7/7/2017 at 13:41 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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And if you step back to the very beginning...

1947: First GE Automatic, recirculation system with self-cleaning lint filter, warm rinse water saved in outer tub for re-use in next wash load, soak to wash cycle with automatic detergent injector for wash cycle, separate controls for water temp/wash time/cycle control, 1140rpm final spin for 9 minutes. Motor and transmission in one seal unit like a refrigerator compressor, operating via direct drive with hydraulic clutch, oil cooled. $349 most feature laden, high end and expensive early automatic washer ever produced.

1948/1949: Same as 1947 except with combined timer and wash time control, new vacuum breaker in fill system to comply with plumbing codes.

1950: Same as 48/49, but tub is redesigned, recirculation and lint filter system is removed. Saving final rinse water in outer tub is also gone due to no recirculation.

1951: Changed to new separate motor and belt drive transmission, spin speed is lowered to 650rpm. Dual belt drive, one for activation and one for spin.

1952: Back panel control panel introduced.

My 1947 GE, before and after my restoration...

Post# 947020 , Reply# 9   7/7/2017 at 13:56 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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1948 (right), 1961 (center) and 1958 (left) GE Automatic Washers

Post# 947024 , Reply# 10   7/7/2017 at 14:08 by realvanman (Southern California)        
Lots of questions!

I keep reading about suds saver and whatnot. Does this pump the water into the adjacent laundry basin (with plug in drain!), and then pump it back in for the next load?

Why would they lower the spin speed? Wouldn't you always want the clothes to come out as dry as possible before going in the dryer or on the line? The higher speed would seem to merely press them more against the basket, but cause no harm.

These old machines are SO CLASSY! In total contrast to today's silly looking melted plastic abominations lol.


Post# 947028 , Reply# 11   7/7/2017 at 14:34 by RevvinKevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        

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Thank you for the correction.  I was assuming each year listed correlated to a photo.




Post# 947029 , Reply# 12   7/7/2017 at 14:34 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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Thank you for filling in the earlier years.  My technical knowledge isn't as vast as yours and others - my info is mostly bells and whistles and looks; yours is definitely more nitty-gritty!   I'm glad to see that your GE collection has survived all downsizing to date.  Those ARE my favorites.   Question about your early models - do you have both a '47 and a '48?  The first pair of photos reference a 1947 model, the last photo includes a 1948.  You have/had both?   lawrence

Post# 947032 , Reply# 13   7/7/2017 at 14:47 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Hi Lawrence, Yes I do have both the 1947 Very First GE and the 2nd model the 1948 that I found at an estate sale about 7 years ago.

The rinse water is saved in the outer tub in these machines so no second sink with a plug is needed. The recirculation system pumps it back up from the outer tub in the next wash-load, or you can select "Empty" and get a fresh load of water.

The self-cleaning filter screen system in these early GE machines are by far the best I have ever seen. The water level is slightly above the filter screens so the lint floats above the screens and does not get clumped together, so the lint is even distributed around the rim of the tub. It cleans by a water sprayed-flush at 1140rpm. When it auto-cleans it goes down the drain in tiny pieces as opposed to one big clump.

The spin speed was lowered in 1951 by GE not because of any clothing damage issues, but simply as a cost savings with a cheaper to produce transmission.

Post# 947033 , Reply# 14   7/7/2017 at 14:52 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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Who would have thought? Pretty innovative for 1947. Early in my washer adventures, I did see a 1940 something GE at a resale appliance place. Thought it too old to be of any interest at the time. Makes me sick to think of the TOL set I once had of 1960 models. I turned loose of them like all the other sets that ran through my fingers.

This post was last edited 07/07/2017 at 15:09
Post# 947034 , Reply# 15   7/7/2017 at 14:55 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        
See Robert demonstrate

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the 1947 GE here. 4th one down the list.


Post# 947037 , Reply# 16   7/7/2017 at 15:28 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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In my original "Parade" post above, I inserted the incorrect photo for the 1955 model.  What is shown is actually a 1956 laundry pair.  Here is the correct 1955's.  Very similar to 1956, but not quite as much copper, black background on timer and dryer door, and no foot pedal for the dryer door.



  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 947049 , Reply# 17   7/7/2017 at 17:14 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Fascinating! Thanks for the facts/info and photos, everyone. Lawrence, the ads were great. That circa 1960 console is a beauty.

I peered into the bottomless pit of a new impeller-based HE GE today at the local dealer. I swear you'd have to have Michael Phelps's arms to reach to the bottom of it. Quite different than the cute little tub in the '47. That first model really was astonishing, wasn't it?

Post# 947115 , Reply# 18   7/8/2017 at 09:57 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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When did GE start calling their machine a V14 and then a V16? I am impressed with your knowledge.

Post# 947183 , Reply# 19   7/8/2017 at 15:25 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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The V-14 badge appeared with the 1965 models.  I know the 1966 models used the same designation, and by 1968 they were V-16s, but I think they started that designation with the 1967 models.  They didn't advertise that as much as the earlier claims - I suspect that the public was dubious of that one.  I mean, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there wasn't that much difference in the tubs and only 6 years earlier they told everyone that those tubs were 12-lb capacity machines.  Smoke and mirrors?


I have a "GE Concepts" insert from a Winter 1969/1970 magazine that still did not reference 18-lb machines.  So maybe the 18-lb models (with the companion 31" wide dryers) debuted sometime later in 1970.


I'm not a mechanic, just an avid reader and consumer of advertising BS and Sweets Catalog inserts.



Post# 947234 , Reply# 20   7/8/2017 at 21:58 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        
31" Dryers

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I will tell you something interesting about the 31" GE dryers. I actually had a Hotpoint dryer that was exactly the same as the 31" GE dryer. Only difference is that the console was that of a Hotpoint back when they made the solid tub models. So figure that one out???? I never quite understood it, since the solid tub Hotpoint washers were never that large of a capacity. The console was that of the very last Hotpoint washer models before changing to the GE mechanism.

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