Thread Number: 73576  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Favorite Vintage Appliance Designs?
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Post# 971549   12/4/2017 at 19:07 (198 days old) by joemac (Thurmont Maryland)        

Hello, first post here, but I am curious: what are some of your favorite designs for appliances you've collected or used over the years? Are there any that stand out above all others? What features and options or finishes made them unique?

Post# 971552 , Reply# 1   12/4/2017 at 19:17 (198 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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Hobart-made KitchenAid dishwashers are *the* classic for dishwashers.

Post# 971562 , Reply# 2   12/4/2017 at 19:56 (198 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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bit of a cliche, but Maytag center dials. I just love the style, look and above all the mind blowing longevity.

Post# 971565 , Reply# 3   12/4/2017 at 20:18 (198 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        
For most elegant...

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Despite my general ambivalence to old Kenmores I have to admit that the 1960s TOL machines were some of the most elegantly styled washers ever made.

Chetlaham I kind of agree with you about center dial Maytags though, they kind of have that old-money, not too extravagant, but classy look to them and reliability to boot. An 806 set with lighted controls says it all.

Post# 971572 , Reply# 4   12/4/2017 at 20:38 (198 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
I Agree

Hobart KA dishwashers just always seemed more 'solid' than my GE's. And they were beautiful to look at.

Post# 971574 , Reply# 5   12/4/2017 at 20:46 (198 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
Though It's Before My Time

I've always loved the look and feel of postwar refrigerators, up to the time of the 'sheer' look of the mid to late 50's. My granny had a little Frigidaire in her home, bought in 1950 when she first got electricity out in the country. It had that little freezer in the top that really didn't hold much but ice cubes. Compared to the huge mid-50's GE refrigerator that my parents had--the mid 50's model with the rotating shelves and bottom freezer--it seemed almost like a little Christmas package! I used to love to go visit, she never had soft drinks, but always kept ice-cold water in a glass pitcher in there.

While I love the look of the Space Age coming in to our appliance design in the late 50's, there was something much friendlier looking to those rounded fridges, stoves, and washer/dryer pairs of the 40's and 50's as Art Deco died out. Rather like the difference between women dressing in the New Look and the resurgence of huge shoulder pads...

Post# 971601 , Reply# 6   12/4/2017 at 22:57 (198 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Standouts, IMO

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GE refrigerators from the 1920s into the mid '60s.  The monitor tops were remarkably overbuilt and have a distinctive, iconic design that's easily recognized.  Many of them are still out there with their original cooling units purring quietly along as they close in on 90 years old!


Postwar GE refrigerators were also well built and TOL models offered a true zero degree freezer with separate door.  Scads of them are still humming along today.  The bottom freezer "Frost Guard" GEs that debuted in 1959 were the epitome of luxurious refrigeration with elegant swing-out shelves at eye level, a semi-automatic ice maker, and freezer that opened like a drawer.  To me, they are the ultra-civilized standard by which all of their contemporaries should be judged, and an impressive number of them are still going strong nearly 60 years later.


The Maytag center dial washers, particularly those manufactured from the mid '60s through '70s, have a timeless design, simple mechanics that are incredibly durable and quiet during operation, and are absolute tanks as anyone who has ever had to move one knows.  These machines are all business and built to process a family's laundry from diapers to doctorates and beyond.  Ladies they are not.  They're incredible hulks.


Finally, any Hobart residential appliance ever produced.  Period.

Post# 971620 , Reply# 7   12/5/2017 at 00:54 (198 days old) by mjg0619 (Scranton, Pennsylvania)        
Another vote to the center dial Maytag...

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Ralph has already said everything that I would want to about the timeless and iconic design of the center dial Maytag washing machine. Simple, reliable, and built to last several lifetimes. Scads of them still washing load after load to this very day with a few minor or no repairs. My Maytag is considerably later than the center dial models and has the newer style transmission, but there's no questioning who built it. It weighs a TON and you can't hear it running through the laundry room door. Hundreds of loads washed in its lifetime and hundreds more to come.

Another standout favorite design of mine is also from Maytag, but in the form of the reverse-rack JetClean dishwashers. Certainly a unique way of loading but once you get the knack those machines will clean damn near anything you could throw at them to a sparkling finish.

So many other vintage designs were truly unique to their brands, unlike today where everything is made by one of three or four companies. Norge had their burping agitators, GE had the Filter-Flo, Hotpoint had the Rim-Flo, Whirlpool had the Surgilator, etc.

No matter where you look in the realm of vintage appliances, you will see unique traits and, for the most part, impeccable quality that we are not likely to ever see again. When you look at the majority of these appliances, you can see the pride that was put into making them, the countless hours of R&D before releasing them to their assembly lines, the care and attention to detail in their controls and in their marketing.

It is so hard, if not impossible, to nail down just a few favorite designs. They are all worth remembering in their own special ways.

Post# 971660 , Reply# 8   12/5/2017 at 06:51 (197 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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I always thought the Westinghouse Slant-Front washer and dryer sets were iconic but it's not just me - so many non-collecting folks conjure up an image of them when they asked what a typical 1950s automatic laundry would look like.  

Post# 971675 , Reply# 9   12/5/2017 at 08:00 (197 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
'57 Frigidaire

control tower washers and dryers, and Flair ovens, curved front panels, consoles, and round corners, which have made a style come back since last decade. '63 Kenmore and Lady K consoles, through 1975.
Also like the new colors of slate, monochrome ice white, and black stainless.

Post# 971682 , Reply# 10   12/5/2017 at 09:14 (197 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, Iowa)        
Iconic design, timeless reliability

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One hundred percent agree with Ralph, to a T.  GE had the best refrigeration products (and ranges IMO) starting with the monitor tops from the 20's, to the post war units from the late 40's/early 50's, and through to the best of the industry Frost Guard through the early 70's; Maytag hit their pinnacle from 1966 through 1974 for laundry; and Hobart made KitchenAid products for the kitchen - perfected by the 18 series.  KA Coffee mill and compactor, included.



This post was last edited 12/05/2017 at 11:17
Post# 971690 , Reply# 11   12/5/2017 at 09:59 (197 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
were talking aesthetic design, right?

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Welcome Thurmont Joe! We're from Taneytown/Westminster many years, origianlly Towson.

Ranges: late '50s GE electric 40" with "floating panel", late 50s FD 40", and FD Flair '62-ish Caloric Heritage slant panel gas range. DW: series 14 KA. Fridges: late 50s early 60s FDs bottom freezer with filagree decor all over the lower door.
GE Americana and GE '56-61 wall fridge. W/D: control tower FD, and early 60s "clamshell" panel.

All of the above in pink, turquoise, pale yellow, or coppertone of course... anything but white!

Post# 972032 , Reply# 12   12/6/2017 at 20:04 (196 days old) by wishwash (Illinois)        

My favorite would definitely have to be the belt drive Whirlpools. The curvy surgilator with the splashy wash action and classic woo-woo sound were all very exciting as a youngster. While I know that a vintage Maytag would probably be a more reliable daily machine I still want a Whirlpool.

Post# 972037 , Reply# 13   12/6/2017 at 20:23 (196 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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My favorite vintage appliance design would have to be the Westinghouse Slant Front Washers and Dryers from 1949 thru 1955. To me they have the beauty of simpilcity. It was my Auntís 55í Westy Slant front set that got me solidly hooked on my obsession with appliances.

I would also have to give mention to Maytag Wringer Washers and center dial automatic Washers and Dryers, Bendix Front Load Washers from post war say 46í thru the late 50ís.

Really just about all appliances from the late 20ís thru the late 60ís seem to hold a special place for me. They are the appliances Iíve known from the beginning of my interest in appliances and they are the appliances I grew up with and were in the many different apts. and homes I rented before 87í.

One of the reasons I love AW is because I get to learn things I didnít know before about vintage appliances, share with other members and view the many different vintage appliances of others and in the vintage advertisments

Post# 972046 , Reply# 14   12/6/2017 at 21:37 (196 days old) by Washlogic (virginia)        
Frigidaire Flair

The hallmark of space-age design for electric ranges

  View Full Size
Post# 972069 , Reply# 15   12/7/2017 at 02:03 (196 days old) by Superocd (PNW)        
I think the best looking washer and dryer is a Kenmore

...from the late '80s to early '90s. You know, the ubiquitous black control paneled ones with the fake wood on top. Second would be the GE FilterFlo from the late '70s up until the late '80s when they did away with the "classic" control panel they used since the '70s. Same with Whirlpool. I liked their design (the slanted control panel) until they went modern around 1998-ish or so.

Refrigerators all kind of looked very similar across makes through the years. To me, something like a 1980s GE wasn't much different looking to a 1980s Whirlpool, whether it was a SxS or top freezer. That's still the case today. My 2014 Whirlpool French door could be mistakened for a Frigidaire, an LG or so on unless you are paying close attention to the handles. But, if commercial fridges count, I love the old McCall and Koch fridges and freezers, if you know what those are. Beautiful stainless beasts, easily distinguished by their diffuser panel up on top. Traulsens look good too.

I don't know what vintage range design I like the most. Maybe GE/Hotpoint?

Dishwashers would definitely be the Hobart KitchenAids and the GE Potscrubbers from the 1980s.

I like the old Eureka F&G uprights. I have a "modern" one, an SC886 Sanitaire.

Post# 973802 , Reply# 16   12/15/2017 at 13:28 (187 days old) by gregingotham (New York)        
Frigidaire 1-18

is my favorite. I love the jet-age branding...the jet cone agitator, jet flow lint filter and jet action of the machine. I think the jet cone is very modern looking, even today. Also like the look of the consoles of the early 1-18..very sleek, lots of chrome, etc

Post# 974375 , Reply# 17   12/18/2017 at 03:02 (185 days old) by toploadloyalist (San Luis Obispo, CA)        

Pre-1976 Kenmores, especially the 1966-74 Kenmore "piano keyboard" panel. One of the most elaborate of cycle option assortments.

Post# 974377 , Reply# 18   12/18/2017 at 04:36 (184 days old) by westingguelph ()        

IMHO Canadian Westinghouse late 60's early 70's electric ranges with the lighted glass panel behind the control knobs and the full black glass oven doors were really something. Simple yet elegant design. I think they were one of the best ranges to cook on. When White took over Westinghouse in 1974 CAMCO (Canada) used the same design and branded them Hotpoint for a while.

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