Thread Number: 73323  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Washer/Dryer Styling
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Post# 968605   11/17/2017 at 19:19 by johnrk (Houston)        

I've bought several dozen brochures and manuals that are fortunately offered on this website. As one who's always been interested in industrial design, it's fascinating how, in some ways, washer/dryer styling paralleled our auto styling.

The art deco design of the original Bendix, followed by others in the forties, screams the era from whence they came. And the 'sheer' look by GM and others beginning in the late fifties, signaled the beginning our obsession with space.

For me, the whole 'Americana' move in the seventies, with GE even naming some of our machines with it, was a low point. I still have a slow cooker with the Liberty Bell painted, dozens of times, on the body!

Looking at a 1974 Frigidaire brochure with simulated woodgrain covering the cabinet is a monument in bad taste. Was there ever a worse place to have wood than around hot, soapy water?

Yes, for me, the decade or so from the mid 70's to the mid 80's was the nadir of washer/dryer styling. Other opinions?

Post# 968614 , Reply# 1   11/17/2017 at 20:39 by Washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        

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Having been born in 1964, I have a certain fondness for the earth tones and wood grain of appliances of the 70s. I feel that the "nadir" began in the 90s when everything started looking the same -- no imagination to appliance styling at all.

Post# 968625 , Reply# 2   11/17/2017 at 21:46 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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well of course they would resemble cars to an extent....

the same guys designing and building automobiles, we the same one who were building washing machines.....


to name a few.......

men wanted flashy shiny cars with lots of chrome.....

women wanted appliances with the same look.....

Post# 968626 , Reply# 3   11/17/2017 at 21:57 by agiflow2 ()        

I was born in 67 so I can and do appreciate the styling of the 60s and 70s appliances..when manufacturers still put panel lights on washers and dryers and ranges.

Skipping to the nineties though I think the most distinctive washers were the electronic DD Lady Kenmores. Also liked the GE XL 44 gas ranges that originally came out in I think 1990.

The state of appliance manufacturing now seems terrible. All you have to do is go to any store and see the quality is not there no more. Things are made as cheap as possible and work to the bare minimum required.

I honestly don't think it will improve much or if at all. We are not 'progressing" from what i see in the aisles of Sears or Lowes. On the whole things seem like they are sliding into the toilet. Sorry to be so bleak.

Post# 968671 , Reply# 4   11/18/2017 at 08:47 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

I like the early all white appliance look that came in the late 1980s, which seemed sleek and cool at the time. But now, that's all you have, and appliances today don't have the chrome trim or contrasting pinstripes that older ones did.

It's just gray lettering that wears off on white paint or black on stainless or white on black.

Appliances today seem rather minimalistic and cut as many corners and make assembly and production as fast as possible, which is smart in a business sense but makes everything look basically the same.

I suppose some of the higher end models and brands have some styling to them, but the longevity doesn't seem to be there.

Post# 968682 , Reply# 5   11/18/2017 at 09:12 by johnrk (Houston)        

Our cars are the same. Inside as well as outside. Take off the brand ID and try to decide brands for the average cars. Pitiful.

I can remember when you could pick out a Maytag, certainly, from even a distance 'cause it had the dial in the middle, at least for a long time. GE finally got a style around 1970 that it stuck with, as did some of the others. Before then, there were changes almost like annual car changes.

I've always liked simplicity in washer control. They got ridiculous around 1960, a little before and after. They're back like that now, only with electronic gimmicks.

Post# 968755 , Reply# 6   11/18/2017 at 15:52 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

It's a reflection of what has happened in residential architecture in general. There is no style these days -- "traditional" is a cloying mishmash of pseudo-19th-century and earlier vernaculars, and it seems like the most important thing is to be trendy, whatever the trend happens to be at the moment. The latest thing in interiors is all white, and I do mean ALL white -- white walls, white furniture, white fabrics, white fixtures, white cabinets, white everything. The only thing that isn't white is the floor, and they'd probably make that white too if someone could figure out a way to keep it from getting marred up. And we all know about the huge all-stainless-steel ranges often found in the houses of upper-middle-class people who don't cook. Anything that is from any earlier coherent style, whether it be Victorian or Mid-Century or Modenism or whatever is immediately pronounced "dated" and ripped out. "Open concept" means interior walls get removed whether it makes any sense to do so or not. The only thing that matters is that it look BIG BIG BIG!

The same sort of thing happened at the beginning of the 20th century. As Victorian/Eastlake and Queen Anne went out, there was a polyglot of earlier-century styles that got revived and crudely fitted together, ranging from Empire and Roman to Colonial and Federal. Fortunately for those of us that grew up in the 20th century, Art Neuveau / Art Deco soon came along and blew this out of the water, and that led to the whole series of 20th-century styles that we know and love now. I wonder when some new style, one with a coherent philosophy, will come along and consign "traditional" to the dustbin of history where it belongs.

Post# 968776 , Reply# 7   11/18/2017 at 16:53 by johnrk (Houston)        
'open concept'

I think in part this is directly tied to the number of big fat people out there compared to the past.

It's funny, I saw a YouTube video, filmed in your typical American mall in the mid 80's. Of course the clothes were different, lots of moussed-up hair and mullets. But what was most striking was how few fat people you saw! Oh, there were some chunky ones, but not globby, morbidly obese men and women waddling around as we see in every store now. I still think it's the chemicals in our processed foods that are doing us in along with the rest of the 'developed' world. At least where I grew up in the fifties and sixties, my parents weren't fat, they smoked, they certainly didn't exercise; and neither did any of their friends or relatives. I had one fat aunt, and looking at a photo of her today people wouldn't think of 'fat' as a descriptive word for her.

'Open concept' means there's more room to shove all that avoirdupois around without running into walls and furniture. Rather like the proverbial bull in a china closet. And yes, I certainly fight with my waistline...

Post# 968859 , Reply# 8   11/19/2017 at 02:11 by Norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I don't fight with my waistline

I don't drink have never been drunk and have never smoked anything. I am fat and durned if I'm going to give up food. Lol.

Post# 968860 , Reply# 9   11/19/2017 at 02:11 by Norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I don't fight with my waistline

I don't drink have never been drunk and have never smoked anything. I am fat and durned if I'm going to give up food. Lol.

Post# 968861 , Reply# 10   11/19/2017 at 02:18 by Norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Re style

To me there is no style today except ugly and cheap. No fluorescent lights. Outlets on ranges chrome on all appliances and on and on. No substance or style I mean who on earth thought up cheap textured handles on ranges and refrigerators. Junk

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