Thread Number: 73704  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
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Post# 973370   12/13/2017 at 01:52 by johnrk (BP TX)        

Nice ad today! I must confess that I've never actually seen a portable dishwasher in the flesh; though I was born in 1955, either people didn't have one or they had it, like my parents', built under the counter. They got their first one in 1963 when they built a new home.

Did these old portables wash as well as the built-in ones of the time? How hard was it to load from the top? Those old 40's dishwasher videos on YouTube are fascinating and even that one with Bette Davis from the 30's. I hate washing dishes so, if I could've afforded one, I'd have been an early buyer. Were those early dishwashers prone to breakage? By the time my parents bought KitchenAid in 1963, that one certainly got daily usage and wasn't replaced until after I'd grown up and gone to college. And I certainly don't remember anything not getting clean, either. But it loaded from the front, though I don't think it held as much as today's "tall tub" models. But very, very well made.

Post# 973396 , Reply# 1   12/13/2017 at 04:39 by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
Our first dishwasher . . .

. . . was a GE Mobil Maid with the bowtie impeller. I could get everything in it including pots and pans from a meal for four. It cleaned exceedingly well. Our only complaint was that it was very noisy. Everyone had to leave the kitchen and shut the door when it was running.

Loading from the top was easy once we got the idea of loading the bottom first. It held a great deal of dishes and gave trouble-free service for many years. After about 10 years of service, It was replaced with a Maytag Reverse Rack built-in.

My only dislike about a portable was the water hook-up. We learned that when the dishwasher had filled and shut off the water, that meant all of the water pressure was put on the spray nozzle for the kitchen sink causing the hose to break sending hot water all over everything under the sink. That happened only once.

Back then, in the early sixties, kitchen cabinets were built onsite. And to have to rearrange cabinetry to accommodate a built-in was very expensive, so a portable was a great idea.

Jerry Gay

Post# 973404 , Reply# 2   12/13/2017 at 06:00 by westingguelph (Guelph. Ontario Canada)        

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I grew up with a slightly newer version of this model. It performed exceedingly well and was easy to load once you got the hang of it. Plates on the bottom and glasses in the upper racks. Pots upper facing down so you didn't block the spray from below. It was very quiet washing but much noisier dryer as the impeller ran continuously to move the air when drying. Plates needed to be scraped but not rinsed. Bottom rack needed to be loaded in a fan shaped pattern with the soiled areas facing inwards. It lasted 14 years and was replaced when the kitchen was remodeled with a Waste King Universal.

Post# 973416 , Reply# 3   12/13/2017 at 08:04 by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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Our 1960s split-level home was built with an undersink GE spacemaker dishwasher. It looked like a full size but actually the top rack was only half to accommodate the plumbing for the shallow sink above. It was used to maximize cabinet space.

Post# 973427 , Reply# 4   12/13/2017 at 09:10 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

This Westinghouse dishwasher was a one wash two rinse machine with a little round screen cup to hold the detergent.  The power booster for heating the wash water greatly extended the wash time since it only raised the water temperature about a degree a minute While these could wash soil off dishes, Westinghouse used a small intermittent duty motorized pump for draining. It had a strainer so the machine did not dispose of solid soil like the GE bow tie impeller machines with the pump that ground up stuff and pumped it out. We went to look at one of these in 1959 or 60 at Davison's in Atlanta. Only the deluxe model had the switch for the power booster and once my parents were told that the machine did not have a pre-rinse, that was it. Their friends who had dishwashers said to make sure to get a machine that had a pre-rinse before the wash.  Everything we saw in a portable was top loading, but the GE we bought had a generous u-shaped opening in the top rack so that the only times it had to be removed was when we washed the oven racks and bottom or the round grill from the charcoal grill. Even the Revere Ware 6 qt. Dutch Oven fit through the opening to go in a corner of the lower rack.  It also had two power pre-rinses before the main wash. Even though we did not wash mom's precious cast  iron skillets in the dishwasher, she would put them in the sink under the Unicouple and give them a quick swish with the wash water as it drained then a fast rinse and a dry. They never rusted or lost their seasoning and they were the good Wagner (and one Griswold) pans with the glass smooth interiors. The GE washed great, but we supplied it with 160F water and used a commercial chlorinated detergent. About the noise; when the lower rack had lots of plates, they channeled the water up to the insulated lid of the machine. Mom would remark that it was really chugging because the sound was muffled. Mixed loads allowed more water to hit the single thickness tub  and it made more noise with those.


The KitchenAid KD2P portable had insulted tank walls, like this Westinghouse and most of the noise comes from the water hitting the single panel lid so I fold a towel and place it on the lid to reduce noise. One of those heavy old Rubbermaid stove mats would dampen the resonance very well, too.

Post# 973501 , Reply# 5   12/13/2017 at 17:12 by westingguelph (Guelph. Ontario Canada)        

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It's interesting because our machine was double wash and triple rinse just a few years later.

Post# 973503 , Reply# 6   12/13/2017 at 18:18 by Maytagbear (N.E. Ohio)        
Out of my six kitchens,

Three of my dishwashers have been portable/convertibles. If the dishwasher is based on a good platform, they clean excellently.

To my thinking, better a portable/convertible dishwasher than none at all !!


Post# 973577 , Reply# 7   12/14/2017 at 05:00 by mjg0619 (Scranton, Pennsylvania)        

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Lawrence hits the nail on the head. A good portable dishwasher is better than no dishwasher at all!

I haven't a single complaint about my portable GE Potscrubber. It's from March of 2000 and its wash platform is based on the GSD-1200 and higher machines from the late 80s. It's also the TOL of its series, so it has really everything you could ever need or want.

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