Thread Number: 71729  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 07/20/17
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Post# 949066   7/20/2017 at 06:14 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

It certainly did need all Seven Rinses----especially if she is using the usual high-sudzing detergents of that era. Whirlpool/Kenmore's in those days were very prone to sudz-lock----especially with a load of heavy fabrics such as towels.

I think this was the era that Whirlpool was installing the cool Red Marbleized Bakelite Agitators. IMO they should have continued the practice with the Chrome Caps especially the Imperials with the Surgilator.

Post# 949068 , Reply# 1   7/20/2017 at 06:30 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Having lived with a 1960 Kenmore growing up, I'll second your comment about their propensity to suds-lock. I watched our Model 80 limp through many a first spin at about 100 rpm. Sometimes the machine would just about make it up to full speed only to slow down to a crawl when the spray rinses began during the last two minutes of the first spin. My mom was parsimonious with detergent, but these 1/3-horsepower models just didn't have the power to overcome the sudsy water expelled by a full load of towels.

I noticed far less suds-locking when my stepfather replaced the innards of our Model 80 with those of a low mileage mid-1960s Kenmore that had a 1/2-horsepower motor.

The chrome caps on Surgilators were definitely a classy touch. Looked sharp.

Post# 949074 , Reply# 2   7/20/2017 at 07:03 by Frigidaireguy (Wiston-Salem, NC)        

Were these the first Whirlpool automatics ??? What year would these have been??

Post# 949076 , Reply# 3   7/20/2017 at 07:11 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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They look like 1953-1954 models, but that's my 'best guess'.   Whirlpool's very first automatic was introduced in 1947/48 (a bolt-down).   However,  by the early 1950s they had models with the suspension system that endured into the 1990s.  

Post# 949077 , Reply# 4   7/20/2017 at 07:22 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Yes, the wig wag

belt drive system and suspension stayed in production longer in Canada. US production ended in 1986.

Post# 949087 , Reply# 5   7/20/2017 at 08:47 by lesto (Atlanta)        

The ad is for a 1952 model, the first year with a backsplash. Robert Animatic used to have this model.

Post# 949090 , Reply# 6   7/20/2017 at 09:21 by peteski50 (New York)        

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When I was a kid we had neighbors that had this same exact washer with the red adj
it certainly outlasted our 55 Hotpoint! when they moved in 1965 they left it behind and it was still in running order!

Post# 949094 , Reply# 7   7/20/2017 at 10:34 by HiLoVane (Columbus OH)        

This isn't so much about the product, as it is the advertising.

When I was in college, I came across a book in the library about advertising,
It had coined the term "ad-y," largely to describe the style of advertising used
in postwar times, to sell appliances.

It cited Whirlpool as the most notorious, due, largely in part, to its highly superfluous
descriptions of not only its appliance's features; but, also creating what's referred to as
"lies of value," which were used to create (to varying degrees) an exaggerated sense of
"new found freedom" or "leisure time," or anything that a good copywriter who was also
a master wordsmith, could conjure up, to help sell Whirlpool Home Laundry appliances,
which, in this case, also include dryers and ironers, as well as washers.

Post# 949110 , Reply# 8   7/20/2017 at 12:22 by realvanman (Southern California)        
Germicidal Lamps

In the washer AND the dryer! Interesting. I had never heard of that application for them lol.

I wonder if they really did anything that the soap and water in the washer- and heat in the dryer- didn't already do?


Post# 949117 , Reply# 9   7/20/2017 at 13:12 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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My '56 Whirlpool washer and dryer have them and, to quote Robert, "I haven't had polio once since I've had them..."    

Post# 949120 , Reply# 10   7/20/2017 at 13:39 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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My 1959 Lady Kenmore washer had an ultraviolet 'germicidal' lamp. The best thing about it was how it made the brighteners in modern detergents 'pop.' The brightness of the suds leaped right out at you---a bit like a 1970s blacklight poster.

My guess is lamps didn't do much in the way of killing germs.

Speaking of which, I notice Samsung quietly dropped their infusion of silver into the water of their front-loaders for sanitization purposes. They really touted it for a year or two, then....poof; it was gone. I recall there being some concern about the negative effects of adding silver to the water, which then went into sewer systems.

Post# 949125 , Reply# 11   7/20/2017 at 14:00 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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It would be interesting if we could get someone to test those germicidal lamps for effectiveness. It seems like it wouldn't be that hard to do a rough test--wash a load, and then try to start a bacteria colony on a petri dish. The more revolting the petri dish looks, the less effective the lamp is. This would be--I'm thinking--basic high school biology skill level. The tough part would simply be getting a washer with working lamp.


But...just as speculation...I am guessing that those lamps probably had more psychological value than actual sanitizing value. Also, back when they were standard, they may have been less necessarily--at least for certain loads. That was an era when people used hot water for more critical loads, and I bet hot for many people was truly hot back then--both from the view of water heater setting, plus the fact that "hot" on washer wasn't dumbed down to a level that would be considered luke warm if it were encountered in a swimming pool.

Post# 949130 , Reply# 12   7/20/2017 at 15:04 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        
lol Paul

unimatic1140's profile picture
I haven't had polio once since I've had them...

Yup, it really is true! I haven't had polio once since getting Frigidaire and Kenmore dryers with germicidal lamps. They are an appliance miracle!

Post# 949167 , Reply# 13   7/20/2017 at 21:37 by mrsalvo (New Braunfels Texas)        

Maybe the HE washers & driers could use that germicidal lamp. Maybe it might help.

Post# 949283 , Reply# 14   7/21/2017 at 15:48 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Re Whirlpool /Kenmore washers..

A complicated, hard to work on design...But still one of if not the BEST..IMHO, washer designs ever, they almost never get out of balance, unlike Maytags and Frigidaires,and were easy on clothes, unlike Norges or straight vane Filter Flos, they were fairly quiet, unlike Norges or some others,overall hard to beat.

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