Thread Number: 72266  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
First generation of GE Automatics
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Post# 955365   8/30/2017 at 22:25 (292 days old) by Glhturbo2 (Reidsville, NC)        


I keep finding more and more intersting machines in my searches through the threads. I have come up on the GE AW6, how many of these are floating around? I'd love to find one, but probably never will get a chance.

I see that they have an 1140 RPM spin. Was that to compete with GM Frigidaire? I have looked all through the old threads and would love general information about them. The first generation of automatics are very interesting to me, because I never got to see anything like this, not until I discovered this website. Pictures, ADs, storys etc, would be great. It's always great to know more about the amazing machines of the past.


Post# 955392 , Reply# 1   8/31/2017 at 06:06 (292 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Tyler, there are a few of them around. They were very advanced for their era. Would like to think there are some out there covered with dust waiting to be discovered.

Post# 955394 , Reply# 2   8/31/2017 at 06:18 (292 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Tyler, here's a link to a very old thread of Robert's showing his early GE AW6 (not sure if its the '47 or '48) in action.


I believe there are at least a couple within the club and like Steve, I hold on to the hope that there's still a few sitting in the corner of a basement somewhere (preferably in the Northeast... LOL)


I've been lucky enough to see Robert's in person - it is an amazing machine!


CLICK HERE TO GO TO turquoisedude's LINK

This post was last edited 08/31/2017 at 06:50
Post# 955515 , Reply# 3   8/31/2017 at 20:12 (291 days old) by Glhturbo2 (Reidsville, NC)        
Thank you.

For the information, I would love to find one of these, a dream machine to add to my list. Along with a Flat top Unimatic, someday :)

Post# 955768 , Reply# 4   9/2/2017 at 16:27 (289 days old) by MixGuy (St. Martinville, Louisiana)        
Spin Speed, Water Conservation Thoughts

Correct me please if I am wrong.

Only the first Model had the 1140 rpm spin speed. Was this a cause of mechanical failure or wear? Subsequent models having the same styling had slower spin speeds. Did these washers save wash or rinse water? Was this addressed in the archives in the past?

With all the attention given to water conservation, wondering why new washers are not available with a "suds saver" feature. Most homes built today are not planned with the space to accommodate a laundry sink big enough to hold the wash water while the machine completes the wash cycle. Sears used to sell a compact cabinet with a sink that held the wash water of suds saver washer with compact space saving design. When people used wringers and separate spinner washers, the wash water was used to wash more than on load.

Post# 955775 , Reply# 5   9/2/2017 at 17:13 (289 days old) by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

I believe that the original and excellent GE automatic washer design was discontinued due to cost of manufacturing. I believe the same could be said about the original excellent GE combination refrigerators.

Post# 956565 , Reply# 6   9/7/2017 at 19:29 (284 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
Am I wrong?

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Seems to me GM produced a near-perfect washing machine that could almost everything the AW-6 could do (except filter lint--who cares) in 1958 with their Custom Imperial Unimatic. Then everybody started going backward. It looks like the two machines had similar capacities, both spun at almost identical velocities, both had intrinsic suds-saving capability and the Frigidaire was water and energy efficient by even today's standards. What happened?


And was it impossible to design a top loader with a larger capacity that could spin that fast?

Post# 956579 , Reply# 7   9/7/2017 at 21:46 (284 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
First GE Automatic Washers

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The 1948 GE AW6 Automatic Washer was probably the best automatic washer the world had seen up to this point.


It had dual timers a detergent dispenser and it automatically saved the final 100F rinse water for reuse as a presoak for the next load or if you were not doing a presoak you could use the water for a warm wash or set the timer to just send it down the drain.


This washer also had a really effective self-cleaning lint filter and good conventional agitation that did not tangle clothing, along with excellent 1140 RPM spin speed.


GE continued making an AW using this fast spin speed for 4 or 5 years but they soon eliminated the SCF, DD, 2nd timer and the machines ability to save the final rinse water for reuse, I am sure they did this to cut costs as the AW6 was about the most expensive AW on the market.


The FD Unimatic was not nearly as good a washer overall, they always experienced unacceptable tangling of clothing and the suspension left a lot to be desired as well compared to the 1140 RPM GEs which never walked at all.


In the end I am sure that GE eliminated this washer for lower cost to build machines, and FD eliminated the UM because of customer complaints, The UMs were really only good at washing small to medium size cotton items, sheets, table clothes, outer clothing and delicate items while possible to wash in a UM were just too much trouble for most homemakers and the results not that great.


John L.

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