Thread Number: 74093  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 17/01/2018 - Norge washer, gas dryer & water heater
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Post# 978716   1/17/2018 at 14:57 by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

I think I've seen this picture or a similar one before. I understand Norge were not generally viewed as being of the finest quality? The machines look handsome enough. Any survivors?

Post# 978727 , Reply# 1   1/17/2018 at 16:28 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Dont Believe it

Norge was a good product, Borg Warner Gear corporation never made no junk! The Dryers were known for blowing lint as they aged but really dried well with very little wrinkling, they had a huge drum and a gigantic vacuum cleaner type fan right behind the drum that blew air through the drum, The washers were unequalled in my book, Great ranges and fridges too.The reason Norges didn't last as long as Maytags is they Actually WASHED, they were the choice of country farm women and those who dealy with nasty work clothes, they were noisy, but nothing will beat the dirt out any better.Think of a Norge as a Ram Power Wagon truck with a Hemi and a Maytag a 6 cylinder Chevrolet, that's about the difference.

Post# 978731 , Reply# 2   1/17/2018 at 16:47 by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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Love the beautifully framed in access door for the water heater. Looks like it would be a blast to remove and install a replacement ;)

Post# 978734 , Reply# 3   1/17/2018 at 17:01 by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

Isn't insulting the old centre-dial Maytags around here a capital offence?! I know I've got in hot water (pun intended) for mentioning their weak rollover!

The rest of your references I don't understand... all I know about Borg Warner is just about all the British car manufacturers used their Type 35 and later Type 65 3-speed automatic gearboxes, which tended not to be tremendously strong...

So how does Norge wash performance compare to a Unimatic Frigidaire?

Post# 978742 , Reply# 4   1/17/2018 at 17:27 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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It doesn't tangle clothes... LOL


Seriously, I think the Norge washes better.  It may not look like it's rolling clothes over rapidly, but the Norge really does beat the dirt out of clothes.   Full disclosure: this is based on my totally unscientific laundry tests between a 1951 W065 Frigidaire and a 1956 AW432 Norge Timeline.  

Post# 978745 , Reply# 5   1/17/2018 at 18:12 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

I've been in the NW Iowa countryside and seen a store full of old Maytags the farm folks for miles around flock to. Even the driveway is lined with them. I'm not thinking Maytag would have sold too many machines if they couldn't wash the clothes. Millions of machines. Wringers and automatics. When I was young the country folks in the Deep South loved them. They were all over Atlanta as well.

My personal experience is that I have never used a Maytag that did not do a great job of cleaning my clothes. I have a '64 Highlander that has been a daily driver for a dozen years.

My early '60's Norge is a lot of fun. It holds a small load. However, that small load will get cleaned. Unless it is a load of small items there is little roll over. The agitator is huge and it will thrash the hell out of anything that won't roll over. Even on the slow speed that is very aggressive agitation. I am careful about what I wash in it. It is truly the electric version of beating clothes on a rock.

Post# 978749 , Reply# 6   1/17/2018 at 19:21 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

The only luck I have had out of a Maytag has been BAD, I have had I think 5 of them,they all either slung grease and walked all over, or just walked all over and the washing action is anemic unless very lightly loaded....I'm biased, I HATE LOATHE and DESPISE them if you want the truth, but I grew up with a Frigidaire so I am used to a lot of action.If I had to use a Maytag I would go to a creek and beat my clothes on a rock..LOL, Now if you are talking about wringer washers, THEN Maytag had no or very little competition, they were truly a FINE machine, the square tub made a difference.And of course their Reverse Rack Dishwashers were to my mind as good as anything made.

Post# 978751 , Reply# 7   1/17/2018 at 19:40 by appnut (TX)        

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We had the first of the perforated 15 pound Norges brought out in 1964.  They were very aggressive and washed well.  They took basically the same tub and managed to get 18-20 pound capacities out of them before they ended production. 

Post# 978753 , Reply# 8   1/17/2018 at 19:43 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
And the sound of

That brake...SLAM BANG! LOL

Post# 978754 , Reply# 9   1/17/2018 at 19:46 by appnut (TX)        

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Hans, don't forget as agitation begins and the tub moves around with that initial agitation until it locks in place.  There's a definite thud/clank as it locks.  Ours totally drained and then motor stopped and whatever engaged (sometimes with a thunk and growled as it began ramping up in spin.  And after the modification of the perforated tubs where it would do a partial drain and then would clank or bang as it began spinning while the pump continued pumping out. Our neighbor across the street, hers would begin squeaking/whistling as it began ramping up faster to full spin.

Post# 978755 , Reply# 10   1/17/2018 at 19:47 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Borg Warner

Made transmissions for all kinds of vehicles, manual and automatic,American Motors and Ford come to mind,The Borg Warner 4 speed was used in many high performance cars of the 60s, great company.

Post# 978756 , Reply# 11   1/17/2018 at 19:51 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Norge, Snorge!

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Well stated, Steve!


You just don't see 30, 40, or even 50-year-old Norges showing up on CL, ebay, or other classified sites -- working or (more than likely) not.  If someone loved buying new washers every few years, Norge would have been their brand of choice -- and I had the set of masochistic parents, loyal Montgomery Ward shoppers, to prove it.   I might add that simulating the beating of clothing on a rock doesn't exactly sound like advanced washing technology.   And the rock would be quieter.


On the other hand, Maytags in that same age range and even older are out there still quietly washing clothes and not budging a millimeter in the process, and on any given day can usually be found for sale on line -- by sellers who don't know any better.


It's not even a contest.

Post# 978768 , Reply# 12   1/17/2018 at 21:05 by glhturbo2 (Reidsville, NC)        
Opinions will differ...

The Norge machines are great, they wash the hell out of clothes. I have used Steve's Norge and I am thoroughly impressed with its wash action. Speaking of that machine, here is a video I made of it a few months back:

Comparing a Norge to a GM Frigidaire, now that is tough. Both machines are respectable in their own way. The Frigidaire has a unique washing action unlike no other and the Norge has a giant agitator with a small tub. Both machines rinse well, both wash well. Though the Frigidaire spins like no other either! I would take the Unimatic over all others, using one of those, you can never go back lol. They are great towel washers and will wash just about anything you can fit in them. (Though not much by today's standards). The Unimatic is still a very coveted washer and there seem to be more Frigidaires around than Norges'.

Both machines are neat and I would love to own either, though I would prefer the Unimatic. ;-)


Post# 978772 , Reply# 13   1/17/2018 at 21:25 by peteski50 (New York)        
Norge vs Frigidaire!

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I like the norge and it is a real powerhouse, but I would still always take the Frigidaire over it because it is gentler but more through washing jetaction! I think the norge had the longest overflow rinse of all solid tub washers. can someone verify that?

Post# 978777 , Reply# 14   1/17/2018 at 21:55 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

I think the '63 WCI must have a four or five minute rinse.

Post# 978836 , Reply# 15   1/18/2018 at 11:01 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

The B/W model 35 3-speed aluminum case automatic transmission was a fine unit.  It was designed for small engines and did not waste as much horsepower as other transmissions.  I've had quite a few T-35s in Rambler Americans over the years and found them to be quite durable with the smaller six cylinder engines.  I believe the reason the trans has a poor reputation is that automakers would sometimes put more horsepower in front of it than it was made for.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO kenwashesmonday's LINK

Post# 978838 , Reply# 16   1/18/2018 at 11:23 by estesguy (kansas)        
Norge fridge

My parents had a bottom freezer 1963 Norge refrigerator. The freezer door lowered like a drawbridge gate, and you pulled out the basket onto the door. The most unusual feature on it, was it defrosted using reverse hot gas bypass, instead of heating coils. To my knowledge, I can't think of any other refrigerator that operated this way.

Post# 978847 , Reply# 17   1/18/2018 at 12:39 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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GE refrigerators used the hot gas defrost system starting in 1959 and into the mid-60s.   It's interesting that Norge followed suit, and also copied the swing-out shelving system from GE, although I think the drop down freezer door may have briefly been a Frigidaire or Coldspot feature.


I think Norge produced decent appliances outside of their washers.  You still see refrigerators, freezers, stoves and dryers from Norge coming up for sale once in a while, but their vintage washers have long since been refashioned into Yugos.

Post# 978869 , Reply# 18   1/18/2018 at 16:50 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I think I remember that Norge was one of the top rated washers by CU in the 1958 test and was one of the 4 brands retested for 1959 along with the Frigidaire, which had undergone the transmission change, and the Maytag. I think the SNorge was in the group, but not positive, but the reason I think it was included was because I was surprised by it. The solid tub machines with the huge agitators really washed up a storm. The most vulnerable part of the early Norges was the pot metal water pump. They did not last long and when the second one went, people usually got rid of the machine.

Post# 978878 , Reply# 19   1/18/2018 at 17:23 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I only knew one person that had a Norge washer, and that was my dad's cousin Mary. It was a mid 60's model, purchased when they moved into that house.

For whatever reason, Norge just wasn't a very popular brand in the Cincinnati area. I remember them being sold at Swallen's and also at Kash Amburgy's Big Bargain Barn in S. Lebanon, OH (Save Cash with Kash).

As for Maytag, it was a very big seller, along with Kenmore, Whirlpool, and of course GE and Hotpoint due to GE having their aircraft engine facility in Cincinnati, and Frigidaire because of them being made in Dayton.

In the Summer of '77 I worked at a store that sold both Maytag and Frigidaire, and Maytag laundry equipment outsold the Frigidaire at least four times over. The store had sold Maytag for many years at that time, and I remember helping to deliver at least three wringer washers during that time.

Post# 978895 , Reply# 20   1/18/2018 at 19:34 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Most people

Have great luck with Maytags, I just never did, but then, I'm no fan of GM cars either, I like old Chrysler products!

Post# 978964 , Reply# 21   1/19/2018 at 11:35 by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
Not just 1958

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Norge was a high-rated machine in CR's 1969 Washer report and was cited as one of the best cleaners overall. And their dryers rank up there with Whirlpool and GE.  I loved my Wards/Norge machine and used it as a daily driver until it stopped working. It spinned (spun?) but wouldn't agitate.

Powerful machine and yes, was the machine for people with really soiled laundry. I'd love to get my hands on one of those HQ Norges from the mid-60's.


Aferim for standing up for your brand! Maytags IMO are works of ID art, but they were not the be-all and end-all that their reputation promoted.

  View Full Size
Post# 979064 , Reply# 22   1/19/2018 at 20:17 by appnut (TX)        

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I wish I could read the copy of that ad. 


That's the short-lived, or never-made-it-to-market version of their first perforated tub washer with it having the "filter-flo" type filter.  That was the TOL DispensoMat model.  Ours had graduated to 15 pound capacity and filter was a basket hug off the back area of the tub and filter stream pointed down through the basket.  Ours also looked exactly like that except the dark area around the timer display (metallic blue) was extended fully from edge to edge of that console. The smaller cycle segment on the display was the soak cycle.  The suds return area was between the end of the cycle and the beginning of the soak cycle :-)


Post# 979068 , Reply# 23   1/19/2018 at 21:26 by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

Bob, I've had a damn good go at reading the small print and got more than halfway down, with a bit of guesswork and shape recognition to fill in the gaps, before it became wholly illegible...

"Do 10 full-size sheets in one load or just a small handful of wash… with only the water you need. Designed for women who want all the capacity they can get and complete flexibility, too… so dependable, it’s backed by a 2-year Service Policy.

You ladies told us what you wanted most is an automatic washer. Then we designed the Norge 14. Inside, even big loads have room to roll and tumble, while the extra-large agitator gently removes every bit of ground-on dirt from clothes.
But you wanted more than big capacity. You wanted flexibility. With Norge, its “Flexi-Load” control handles any size wash from 2 to 14lbs, with just the water and detergent you need. With “Flexi-Load”, you don’t need extra expensive attachments to do the small loads of hand washables.
Bigger dials and easily-read controls makes it quick and simple to set the exact wash cycle that’s required."

I hope that's helpful, and if an AW member owns that advert, perhaps they'd be kind enough to provide a high-resolution photo or scan...

Post# 979072 , Reply# 24   1/19/2018 at 22:36 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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My stab at it ...
Do 10 full-size sheets in one load or just a small handful of wash ... with only the water you need.  Designed for women who want all the capacity they can get and complete flexibility, too ... so dependable, it's backed by a 2-Year Service Policy.

You ladies told us what you wanted most in an automatic washer.  Then we designed the Norge 14.  Inside, even big loads have room to roll and tumble so your detergent can clean (its best), while the extra-large agitator gently removes every bit of ground-in dirt from clothes.

But you wanted even more than big capacity.  You wanted flexibility, too.  Norge 14's "Flexi-Load" control handles any size wash from 2 to 14 lbs. with just the water and detergent you need.  With "Flexi-Load" you don't need extra, expensive attachments to do the small loads of hand washables.

Bigger dials and easy-to-read controls make it quick and simple to set the exact wash-rinse cycle required. A big new light illuminates the entire tub so stray socks can't escape you. There's a big lint filter, automatic bleach and fabric softener dispensers - and all the other features you said you wanted. And the new Norge 14 works so well it carries the famous 2-Year Service Policy on parts and labor.

See the new Norge 14 and matching Norge 14 Dryer. We think you'll agree the Norge 14 is so good it just had to be developed by a woman.

The biggest thing to happen to washday since washing went automatic.

Post# 979172 , Reply# 25   1/20/2018 at 15:01 by appnut (TX)        

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Richard and Glenn, thank you both for the painstaking effort to transcribe the ad copy for me.  Means more than you know.  And it's nice to know the text given this was Norge's first perforated tub washer. 

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