Thread Number: 71896  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 8/2/2017
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Post# 951206   8/2/2017 at 04:03 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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I have always been amazed at the first series of Maytag automatics. They held a relatively small load, were kind of inconvenient to load and unload because of the small heavy lid and narrow opening and didn't do the greatest job cleaning your clothes. I also thought it kind of ridiculous that they had a perforated tub within a solid one and spun the water out over the top of the outer tub. Anything that was trapped under the perforated one was just stuck there unless it spun over the top of the outer tub. Not the best design in the beginning. They did seem to last a relatively long time if you could put up with their shortcomings. They actually paled in comparison to a Whirlpool/Kenmore of the same vintage. All of that changed though in the late 50's with the new reversing motor automatic Maytag with a larger capacity. Maytag used that same basic design until the end of the century and they made, in my opinion, the best automatic washer ever produced. There are still many Maytags like that still in service today.

Post# 951216 , Reply# 1   8/2/2017 at 05:48 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Yup. Small loads do come out clean from my machine. It is a bit noisy for a Maytag with the cavitating pump going, kind of a personality trait of this era. Funny how people used to stuff them full and I never heard a complaint about performance. I guess the inability of seeing the machine in operation with the lid opened kept consumers from realizing that too much laundry was choking the machine!
I NEVER met anyone that HATED one of these and I can't say that for some of the other brands.

Post# 951226 , Reply# 2   8/2/2017 at 06:41 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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I've never liked the Maytags that had the water level control in the thick lid. No particular reason, they just turned me off. One of these models was in the parsonage of the Catholic church when I was a kid. It certainly lasted a long time. The local Maytag dealer/servicer was also Catholic, so repairs were probably made free of charge.

My favorite Maytags are from the 1959 to 1963-ish period. After that, it would be the large capacity, very flexible 806; all with suds-savers, of course.😃

Post# 951228 , Reply# 3   8/2/2017 at 07:17 by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Maytag researched their first automatic washer tubs exhaustively, trying thirty some versions before settling on this one. They attempted to overcome the problem with a long, powerful spin- spray rinse but it wasn't enough.The consumer mags dinged them pretty hard for debris retention, even going as far as removing the liner to show the small private beach they'd amassed between the tubs during testing.

While it held about the same as other automatics of it's time, it was thought that the transition from a wringer would be easier if the capacity was the about the same load you would have washed in your conventional washer. It would be interesting to see the sales figures for the Maytag automatics and conventionals during the early years and if they did any analysis of the numbers of conventional buyers that were flipped to automatics, etc. I have a booklet that Maytag printed for dealers that explains the research and testing and their theories of design that culminated into the first AM/AMP washer. Very interesting, even if parts of read more like a defendant's closing argument in court rather than sales propaganda :-)

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Post# 951249 , Reply# 4   8/2/2017 at 08:46 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Maytag's ads for the AMP noted that there was one tub for the clothes and one tub for the dirt. Unfortunately, heavier than water soil tended to stay in the tub for dirt. I don't remember if it was CU or CR that said that the estimated capacity was 5 lbs of dry fabric weight. Maytag got around the capacity and washing performance between the conventional machines and the AMP by not letting it operate with the lid up. Users of conventional washers, as exemplified by my mother when we visited grandparents, maintained a strict "LID CLOSED" policy once the machine was loaded to keep the water hot for successive loads. What I would not have given for a small powerful flashlight with which I could have watched the wash action through a slightly raised edge of the lid. They loaded the conventional machines with the agitator going and knew how much they would hold before the agitation dragged down. The automatic was loaded with dry clothes and then started so they never got to see the poorer agitation in the automatic, except in the A4MP, I think, with timed fill and the narrow post Gyrator.  

Post# 951263 , Reply# 5   8/2/2017 at 10:13 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        
Heres a few pics

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of the A4MP I got in 2015. The A4MP was the last model of this series. It eliminated the fill switch in the underside of the lid and instead had a time fill. It had a redesigned hole pattern on the inner basket with some attention to better sediment removal. It used a skinny style agitator like the wringer washer used as opposed to the earlier models that had the agitator with the center float shaft that activated the fill switch.

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Post# 951355 , Reply# 6   8/2/2017 at 21:38 by Washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        
Out of Sequence?

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I know I have seen today's POD before, but it seems that the illustration for the rinse and final spin are reversed..?

Post# 951381 , Reply# 7   8/3/2017 at 03:56 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I think it has been fixed because you are right, it was out of sequence before.

Post# 951390 , Reply# 8   8/3/2017 at 05:59 by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
The Maytag AMP . . .

. . . was the first automatic washer we had after our Thor. I never understood why my parents got rid of the Thor.

The AMP was a great machine that lasted 16 years in a family of five. It also lasted through the tinkering done to it by the son (me).

I learned that by removing two screws in the lid, it would easily come apart. Inside the lid there were three small glass tubes, each containing an electrical connection and a blob of mercury.

With the lid closed, the mercury in one of the tubes made connection with the two electrical wires, thus allowing the machine to operate. The other two glass tubes also containing electrical connections and a blob of mercury, sat side by side. When the float in the agitator rose and pushed on the button in the center of the lid, this tilted the tubes so that the one tube for the water inlet became disconnected thus turning off the water, and the other tube tilted and made the electrical connection starting the motor which started the agitation. Then the timer took over telling the mechanism whether to agitate or spin.

My parents nearly passed out when they discovered that I had learned to take apart the lid so that I could watch the action in the tub.

It was a good machine, and a bunch of them were sold.

Jerry Gay

Post# 951424 , Reply# 9   8/3/2017 at 11:24 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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Which only goes to show, even then Maytag made very durable machines. Only thing bad I heard about one from someone who still loved their Maytag was that sometimes on sheets, it would pinch a spot out and make a hole. I realized that it had to have been when the sheet bubbled up in washing and it spun a little too close to the top of the tub and rubbed a spot into a hole while spinning which of course made it look like the machine had pinched a big hole in the sheet.

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