Thread Number: 73048  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Bendix Economat staying in Rhode Island
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Post# 964866   10/29/2017 at 18:25 by Kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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A short while ago, a Bendix Economat located in Rhode Island appeared on eBay. It received the opening bid of $100. Fast forward a few weeks after the auction ended. I received an email from the high bidder, and an AW member who told me if I wanted the machine, it was mine. He is located on the west coast and shipping for the machine was extremely expensive. Anyway, I picked it up Saturday. It seems to function okay, although I havenít tried it with water yet.

Anyone have a manual for this machine?

Enjoy the pictures. Iíll post more updates when theyíre available.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size

Post# 964875 , Reply# 1   10/29/2017 at 19:15 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Congratulations On Your [ NEW ] Ecnomat Ron

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I would put a few inches of  fairly hot water and a little detergent [ for lucubrating purposes ] in it and see if it leaks and runs properly.


I have never had a manual for one of these machines, but they are so simple that I dough that  someone with your talents it would do you much good anyway.


Let us know if it works, John L.

Post# 964877 , Reply# 2   10/29/2017 at 19:29 by Kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Thanks for the info, John. Iíll keep you posted.


Post# 964895 , Reply# 3   10/29/2017 at 20:47 by Launderess (Quiet Please, Thereīs a Lady on Stage)        

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Yes, as one learned from recent experience with (not)getting the AEG washer was after, shipping large appliances has become very dear.

To move the AEG from Michigan to NYC the highest was C&F (over $700) and lowest from another commercial mover over $450. Uship was all over the place from $300 to over $400.

Bottom line is if you aren't willing or able to drive and collect in person this hobby is becoming very expensive.

Post# 964900 , Reply# 4   10/29/2017 at 21:06 by coldspot66 (Plymouth, Mass)        

Hey Ron,

Glad you got this...I had one for a while a few years ago. They do agitate well...could not get the tub to totally collapse against the agitator. Mine had the option of one or two rinses.

I see your posts on facebook and know that you are doing well!! So sorry to hear about your dad..hope your mom is ok as well.

John Coldspot66

Post# 964905 , Reply# 5   10/29/2017 at 21:54 by appnut (TX)        

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Congratulations Ron!!!

Post# 965202 , Reply# 6   10/31/2017 at 19:32 by Rberryiii3 (Palm Springs, California)        


Hope you enjoyed the Bendix I would've loved to have it here in sunny Palm Springs but shipping was just a little too much and the store room is getting a little crowded have fun with it.


Post# 965308 , Reply# 7   11/1/2017 at 07:12 by Frigidaireguy (Wiston-Salem, NC)        

Congrats on the Economat - I had thought about bidding on it but the seller had not posted a money shot and I was afraid that the tub was compromised. Question: What is that at the top of the agitator?? I grew up with these machines and always enjoyed that sound they make when washing. Please keep us updated on the progress.

Post# 965344 , Reply# 8   11/1/2017 at 10:18 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
Congratulations & Thanks for Saving This

If it works and if you use it, PLEASE do not try rinsing in cold water in it. Cold water makes the tub too stiff to collapse properly and could cause it to break, given that it is already over 60 years old.

Post# 965465 , Reply# 9   11/1/2017 at 20:44 by Losangeles (Muscle Shoals, AL 35661)        
Bendix Economat

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Congratulations Ron.  My Dad's sister had one of these.  I was totally fascinated by this machine.  I had never seen a machine that did not spin in some way or the other.  The sound it made when washing, the smell of Goodyear rubber and Tide bring back such wonderful memories.  Hers had a two rinse option also.  Can"t wait for a video when you get up and running.

Post# 965525 , Reply# 10   11/2/2017 at 00:16 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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The first automatic washer we had was an Economat. I too can recall the smell of the rubber tub and either Tide,Oxydol or Cheer, Mom rotated detergents, she also used Snowy Bleach.

The washer was in the basement and I used to ride my tricycle around while Mom was washing and hanging he clothes on the lines in the basement. We also had another Economat at our cabin. It was yellow and had been my Grandmaís. When my Dad bought her a new MW Signature FL in 59í, we took the Economat to the cabin.

I remember that there was a white, rubber grid that fit into the center of the agitator, and was removable. What the purpose of this grid was, I'm not sure. But I vaguely recall that there seemed to sometimes be lint stuck on the grid when the lid was opened after the extraction was complete.

Iím sure youíll have lots of fun with this new toy. I hope that the rubber tub has held up OK all these years. If you take some videos Iíll look forward to watching them and your ďnewĒ Economat in action.

Post# 965548 , Reply# 11   11/2/2017 at 06:23 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
Great olfactory memories!

The little plastic grid kept small items from being carried into the agitator by the water that sloshed over the top of the agitator during the dramatic agitation and, possibly, during drain to the point where they would be in danger of going down the agitator and blocking the hole leading to the pump without the grid.


I thought it almost magical how the machine filled from under the agitator. Once the machine was started, water just began appearing from under the agitator and pooling around it in the tub. This required a sophisticated air break in the fill line in the machine because the inlet was in the perfect place to siphon water back into the water lines, but it also required a valve beyond the air break to prevent air from being sucked through the fill opening during the sucking phases of the cycle.


The reason this machine could do what it did to extract water from laundry was that the pump could suck air as well as water. Once all of the water was sucked away, the pump kept sucking air to pull a vacuum to hold the tub tight against the fabrics pressed against the agitator.  Because the pump could suck air as well as water meant that it was self-priming which was why it was also used in the early WP-designed combinations where the lint filter was above the bottom of the sump where the drain opening was located. Each time the machine started to fill, the pump had to suck air to pull the water up through the hose to the filter and then down to the pump. Later models of the 33" combos had a different filter chamber with a curved filter that went down into it so that it was not above the water in the sump which allowed a more traditional pump to be used.



The big church downtown that allowed the MCC to meet in it had a Kenmore combo in the kitchen for dish towels and such, clearly from brighter days in the church's financial history. I had heard from people for many years about this machine. One day an organist friend took me down to the church to hear the sanctuary organ, but it was closed for painting. As we crossed into the adjoining building, I looked over the stair railing and a couple of stories below sat the combo! It was taken out of service because of a leak and I made a $100 contribution to the church for the privilege of hauling it away with Jeff and Bob Wirth.  John looked at it and figured out that the pump seal from a 16 or 17 series KA would be the right thing to stop  the leak in the newer style pump that did not have to suck air and he was right.  Sears would only have tried to replace the pump which was probably NLA which is why you need people with DEEP knowledge across the brands in the history of appliances to keep the old ones running.

Post# 965602 , Reply# 12   11/2/2017 at 13:02 by Losangeles (Muscle Shoals, AL 35661)        
Great olfactory memories

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First thank you for the details on just how the washing machine actually worked.  I was always amazed me how the clothes ended up against the agitator and not up against the tub like a traditional washer.  My Aunt always reminded me to shut the lid when it paused from washing and before it began its magic extraction,  And definitely DO NOT OPEN THE LID till it stopped.  Hers had some sort of pressure switch on the other side of the rubber tub that sensed the water level.  But WOW when it started to agitate she would let me put the clothes in.  It would literally snatch clothing out of your hand.  It had a very strong undertow of circulating water.  Ahh, such memories.

Post# 965612 , Reply# 13   11/2/2017 at 13:37 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

The undertow action was so strong that the user's manual said that to determine if you were using enough detergent which should produce a two inch thick head of foam on the wash water, you should unplug the machine to turn it off (Bendix timers were not big on having on/off switches in them) and watch the suds rise to the surface to see if it was the proper thickness. The thickness of the suds could not be determined during agitation because a lot of the foam was pulled underwater. While the agitator was the same shape as the Maytag Gyrator, the width of the tub and the way it flexed with the water currents greatly amplified the action of the agitator on the water. Actually, I think I remember something in the instructions for a Maytag conventional washer about stopping the agitation to let the suds rise to see if you were using enough product so those wide tubs did a lot more with the same agitator than the automatics.


You are right, there was a switch on the frame which supported the sides of the tub and as the tub filled, it pressed against the bands of the frame. When it was full enough the pressure tripped the switch and shut off the water.

Post# 965746 , Reply# 14   11/3/2017 at 09:14 by kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Thank you all for the well wishes on acquiring this machine. Also, many thanks for the info you're supplying.

Work has me very busy right now, but I'm going to try to do a water test on the machine this weekend.

The model that I acquired, I believe, is a manual fill machine. It then washes and extracts and then you refill it and run it through the cycle again for rinse.

Again, if anyone happens to have an instruction booklet for this machine, it would be deeply appreciated.

I'll keep you posted.


Post# 965749 , Reply# 15   11/3/2017 at 09:19 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Oh, then what you have is the "Dial-A-Mat."

Post# 965757 , Reply# 16   11/3/2017 at 09:48 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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I thought that the controls looked different that the two Economats we owned in the 50ís. Yours appears to just have a blank plate on the right side where ours had a control dial knob on the right and left. Maybe the right dial was for water temp?

Post# 965762 , Reply# 17   11/3/2017 at 10:13 by kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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If you look at the picture, it does say "Economat" on my machine.


Post# 965767 , Reply# 18   11/3/2017 at 10:42 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        


Post# 965772 , Reply# 19   11/3/2017 at 10:50 by Frigidaireguy (Wiston-Salem, NC)        


The dial on the right side was to select either 1 rinse or 2 rinses. The temperature setting was part of the timer.

Post# 965783 , Reply# 20   11/3/2017 at 11:38 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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Thanks for the clarification Bob. I havenít seen one of these machines in person since 1963, so Iím just going from childhood memories

Post# 965936 , Reply# 21   11/4/2017 at 08:03 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Have you found a model number yet? We might be able to determine her age and why a semi-automatic is badged an Economat.

Post# 966226 , Reply# 22   11/5/2017 at 16:43 by Kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Hey guys,

A couple of updates on the Economat. I did a water test on it today and the good news is everything works fine and no leaks!

I took a couple of videos of the machine in action, but canít get them uploaded to the site. What am I doing wrong?

According to the info on the back of the machine, the model number is N602 and the serial number is 57N 919 and it also had the number H50 below the serial number.


Post# 966228 , Reply# 23   11/5/2017 at 16:57 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

WOW! Your machine is a 1951-1952 Dialamatic, but I can't explain it being labeled an Economat. What a find that it is that old and still works. You are a lucky collector! Have fun!

Onen thing I will warn you about that killed many of these machines is water leaking into the transmission so if you start seeing drops of oil under the machine you are going to have to find some replacement seals. Let's pray that does not happen.

Post# 966302 , Reply# 24   11/5/2017 at 21:38 by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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Kenmore58:† I took a couple of videos of the machine in action, but canít get them uploaded to the site. What am I doing wrong?
Videos cannot be uploaded directly into a post.† They must be placed online via some other hosting service, typically YouTube, then linked into your post.† The site coding automatically recognizes YouTube links and handles them properly -- view your video via YouTube as anyone would after it uploads there and finishes processing, copy the URL from your browser and paste it into the body of your post.† The clip will appear in the preview before committing the post, the URL is wrong if it does not.

Post# 966335 , Reply# 25   11/6/2017 at 03:28 by Kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Thanks DADoES for the info. Iíll try to get those up on YouTube today.

Post# 966561 , Reply# 26   11/7/2017 at 09:52 by kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Okay, so thanks to everyone's help, I was able to figure out how to upload videos to youtube.  However, something seems to be getting "stuck" at the end of the process.  It brings me through all the steps.  Then says it's uploading to Youtube and then just seems to do nothing.  When I go into Youtube, there's no video. 


Help. I'm anxious to show you guys my Economat in action!




Post# 966575 , Reply# 27   11/7/2017 at 10:38 by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        

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Hi Ron, I can't wait to see these. It can take quite a while for Youtube to upload, especially if your vid is 10 or 15 minutes. I once waited hours for even a three minute one. As it uploads you may see a fine red horizontal line on your phone screen showing the per cent of upload that can fluctuate comically. Now you're 42% uploaded, then suddenly only 33%. What the fudge?

If you are uploading 2 or 3 vids simultaneously, it can take many, many hours. And then there's Youtube traffic to consider which is heavy on weekends. When I uploaded my Blackstone Hydractor videos, one of them took an overnight ! "Holy cow, Homer" ~ Bart Simpson.

Great Anticipation, and what a wonderful find!

Post# 966582 , Reply# 28   11/7/2017 at 10:53 by kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Hey Mike,

Thanks for the info. I've been told that I have the patience of a boiling tea kettle!

I'll try it once again and see what happens.


Post# 966591 , Reply# 29   11/7/2017 at 11:32 by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        

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Just disable the whistle.......... wheeeeeeeeeeeee

Post# 966613 , Reply# 30   11/7/2017 at 14:00 by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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Videos are LARGE files, and higher resolution = bigger file.† Best not to do uploading via a phone IMO unless an unlimited data plan is involved.† The upload process will advise when it's complete, don't close the YouTube session until then or it probably will abort and you'd have to start over.

Post# 967002 , Reply# 31   11/9/2017 at 10:02 by kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Hello, again, Guys.

I have tried several times to upload these files to Youtube, without success. The last file (35 seconds long) I waited almost 2 days before canceling the upload.

I'm stumped. Any suggestions would be helpful.


PS: I really am anxious to showoff this recent acquisition.

Post# 967010 , Reply# 32   11/9/2017 at 11:01 by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
Hello. Whistler

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You can tell us step by step what you're doing to upload and whether from camera or phone, and one of the wunderkind here can troubleshoot. But if you have a younger person in your orbit, let him or her do it. That's the easiest and quickest way. Just off the top of my head, your Youtube username has to be spot on and active. The anticipation is growing and exciting.

Post# 967019 , Reply# 33   11/9/2017 at 12:02 by henene4 (Germany)        
Which video format

I think YT prefers a streamable format, can't remember if they preffered MP4 or wmv.

Post# 967021 , Reply# 34   11/9/2017 at 12:19 by kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Okay, Guys,


Let's give this a try. 



Post# 967022 , Reply# 35   11/9/2017 at 12:23 by kenmore58 (Rhode Island)

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Here's a video after the machine has completed the extraction process (without clothes in the tub)


Post# 967023 , Reply# 36   11/9/2017 at 12:23 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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Good job Ron! Boy it sure does thrash around doesnít it! Thanks for the video.

Post# 967052 , Reply# 37   11/9/2017 at 17:12 by Kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Hope everyone enjoys the videos. I will try to get a longer video posted with actual clothes in the machine so you can see the extraction process in all itís glory.


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