Thread Number: 73088  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
Would you consider D&M machines legendary?
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Post# 965310   11/1/2017 at 07:14 by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

When I first discovered this forum when I was 15, some twelve years ago, the front loading dishwashers everyone talked about were Kitchen-Aids, Maytag, Whirlpool, and GE. These machines I built up to be true collectors items and therefore legendary. Everyone always talked about how good these were (aside from the plastisol GEs)

In my most recent thread I said that the reverse rack was one of two legendary machines with fan assisted drying. The other being KA. Phil said "there are other machines from this era with fan assisted drying." And that got me thinking.

In comes D&M.

Over the last twelve years under various usernames and deep searching of this forum, the feeling I get is mixed towards D&M, and its not a strong feeling like the other brands regardless of those who boost/dislike them. Some people think D&M are not good, they're cheap, rusty, troublesome and to top it off will deposit a fine dusting of goo on your plates due to the lack of filtering. Others love their style, they're a Lady after all, their features, and their fun.

I can't decide as the only D&M machine I have is the last plastic-fantastic one that Nate reviewed.

So, is this machine worthy of being legendary? Have they left a positive impression on this community? Should I find one and give you some entertainment?

Post# 965319 , Reply# 1   11/1/2017 at 08:11 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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I have a few D&M built dishwashers and while they may not perform as well as other vintage dishwahers, I think they deserve a 'legendary' status for one reason - they brought automatic dishwashing to so many homes and led to the development of machines that could clean just about anything (the latter because dishwasher owners no doubt got more demanding).

My 2 cents, live from India where I have yet to see one dishwasher... LOL 

Post# 965328 , Reply# 2   11/1/2017 at 08:47 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        

because they landed the Sears supply chain account. That gave them many many Sears buyers with a revolving credit card account who would otherwise might not have bought a dishwasher. They were still considered a luxury appliance, not a necessity. While you did see plenty of Hobart Kitchen Aids in middle class homes, more had Kenmore dishwashers by far. Followed by GE, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, Preway,
Westinghouse. Those were mainly seen in new build tract homes, while a Kenmore was found in homes built minus a dishwasher. Many more portables sold than the competitors.

Post# 965342 , Reply# 3   11/1/2017 at 10:12 by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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Many homes in my suburban Pittsburgh neighborhood were built in the 1960s and were offered dishwashers. Since many of these homes would be considered starter homes with small kitchen they all had GE spacemaker dishwashers under the sink.

My mom years later replaced her GE with a regular Caloric (dm) (kitchen modification) to accommodate a full size dishwasher. She regretted it and hated the performance of the Caloric.

Post# 965343 , Reply# 4   11/1/2017 at 10:13 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Legendary, infamous or just easy? They certainly had a storied history and would build and badge a machine for just about anybody. They could produce clean dishes and the Roto-Rack pretty much guaranteed foolproof upper rack cleaning.  Things have declined to the point where if push came to shove, I would sooner have an older D&M than most new machines; at least they rinsed and dried adequately.

Post# 965358 , Reply# 5   11/1/2017 at 10:57 by johnrk (Houston)        
Okay, I'll Ask...

what are D&M dishwashers?

Post# 965364 , Reply# 6   11/1/2017 at 11:17 by agiflow2 (iselin, nj)        

Design and manufacture

Post# 965371 , Reply# 7   11/1/2017 at 11:42 by appnut (TX)        

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D&M dishwashers were produced for a number of brands from the 1950s through the 1980s.  The brands were Kenmore, Gassers & Sattler, Tappan (at times); Caloric, Magic Chef; Moderen Maid.  Cheap, porcelain coated tubs and racks.  No filter system.  But washed well with numerous water changes.  Sears/Kenmore was probably their largest customer and brand label.   

Post# 965373 , Reply# 8   11/1/2017 at 12:02 by brucelucenta (xyz)        

In my opinion, the D & M dishwasher that deserves legendary status would be the models they made one year which introduced the top roto rack with spray under it, but still had the impeller for the bottom dishes. That is a very rare bird indeed.

Post# 965378 , Reply# 9   11/1/2017 at 12:23 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

There is a portable like that in the museum.


Other brands they built were American Kitchens, Admiral, Crosley and some early, ugly Youngstown top loading portables which had baby caca color vinyl gaskets around the top of the tank and around the lid, but otherwise looked just like the Frigidaire portables that had gray vinyl gaskets and the Whirlpool portables that had sort of deep blue-green vinyl gaskets. Like a cheap whore, if a brand held up a few bucks, D&M would assume the position and pop out a dishwasher for them, especially those portables in the 50s and early 60s.


American Kitchens was actually an outgrowth of AVCO (Aviation Corporation), so there is a little known lineage connecting D&M with Bendix since both were parts of AVCO. AVCO bought Bendix to get the Bendix Radio Division technology for airplanes. While they owned Bendix, they were the sugar daddy for the engineers and inventors at Bendix.

Post# 965461 , Reply# 10   11/1/2017 at 20:08 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I thought

The Roto Racks WASHED and RINSED ok, but as stated above,they were NOT of the quality of a Kitchen Aid or Whirlpool, or Westinghouse or GE, My cousin had a built in Lady Kenmore and it was great at cleaning but didn't last but about 8 years, She replaced it with a reverse rack Maytag and it was far superior the Maytag ran for the next 15 or so years until they sold the house and it never required a service call.

Post# 965472 , Reply# 11   11/1/2017 at 21:03 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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top it off will deposit a fine dusting of goo on your plates due to the lack of filtering

I have a 1965 Lady Kenmore D&M as my daily driver and don't find that an issue at all and I never pre-rinse. The built-in grinder is excellent at removing food particles as it has 6 full fills for R-W-R-W-R-R. Build quality I agree is questionable, but I have found cleaning ability excellent.

Post# 965497 , Reply# 12   11/1/2017 at 22:17 by peteski50 (New York)        
D&M Dishwashers!

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My experiences with them were good! I have a friend that had this late 60s or early 70s caloric! This was my 1st real experiences operating a DW! I liked the fact it didn't have a tower and it held a lot of dishes! No it didn't wash like a KA, whirlpool or Maytag, but it did a good job cleaning dirty greasy dishes! And of course cleaned quickly! Everything always sparkled after the fact! The model my friend had was builtin but is was like this one exactly!

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Post# 965505 , Reply# 13   11/1/2017 at 22:27 by peteski50 (New York)        
KENMORE Dishwasher!

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This one a friend had and I operated many times with excellent results! Theirs was builtin and I always had fun :) helping clean up after the parties!

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Post# 965508 , Reply# 14   11/1/2017 at 22:36 by peteski50 (New York)        
Bad D&M Dishwashers

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In the late 70's their initial design except for Kenmore and modern maid to my knowledge was changed to this interior design. It seemed they were trying to be like maytag with a RR! This capacity was cut and they became a POS design! Made no sense! I think this was the beginning of their demise! Almost as bad as what WCI did to Frigidaire!

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Post# 965518 , Reply# 15   11/1/2017 at 23:40 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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My mother had a Kenmore in the 80's that never left anything on the dishes!  She was so happy with it over her old KDS17A.  It was still going when it was replaced with her KUDI23.

Post# 965562 , Reply# 16   11/2/2017 at 09:14 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
They did include

a chopper blade later on, and the pump was so strong, it flushed anything out.
The motor of course was bi-directional for drain, unlike Kitchen Aid. A filter was not needed. Even the light wash had 2 rinses, and sani. rinse could be selected on that cycle on ours. I did most of the unloading, and don't recall ever a dirty item.
Our kitchen then was small, so by the time I began to work, I wanted a microwave oven because I usually worked from after school until 9, 10, or 1100 p.m. and missed supper. The portable D/W gave extra work space with a butcher block top, so My dad got a new shorter 13 cubic ft. Coldspot to match in gold, and I bought a Kenmore by Litton microwave we put on top of it.

Post# 965598 , Reply# 17   11/2/2017 at 12:56 by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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I have a D&M mobile dishwasher in my kitchen, it doesn't have a fan-assisted drying and I don't use it very often but it does work fine.

My other D&M dishwasher (pictures 1 to 4) is an impeller machine and the impeller does turn during the drying cycle. It doesn't extract air from outside the machine but it does move air around the small heating element that glows red!
One might think having the Bakelite impeller turn during the drying cycle avoids that it catches fire!

Probably not as the wash arm D&M (pictures 5-6) seems to have a very similar heating element and it didn't melt anything around it including the plastic wash arm just above it!

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Post# 965671 , Reply# 18   11/2/2017 at 20:00 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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Hi Mike, All D&M DWs with wash arms had a chopper blade, and All DWs work better with a filter, out first DW [ disaster] was a 1966 KM by D&M and yes it generally produced pretty clean dishes, BUT there were many times that a lot of crap was left on the bottoms of glasses and any other dead areas that was recirculated by by the pump that should have been filtered out of the wash stream.


John L.

Post# 966022 , Reply# 19   11/4/2017 at 17:49 by seedub (South Texas Hill Country)        

This is very similar to the Modern Maid our builder installed when we constructed our dream home in 1977. Ours was black also, but had no rocker switch to control the dry mode (apparently using one of the cycle buttons on the left to accomplish this, I suppose.) My aunt owned a portable 1975 avocado MOL KM with roto-rack and illuminated control panel.

It was fun to listen to D&M machines drain: sounded like a jet plane taking off.

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Post# 966052 , Reply# 20   11/4/2017 at 21:06 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Beautiful Frigidaire portables! Thanks for the pictures.

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