Thread Number: 17646
Difference between Kenmore Rotoswirl and Pentaswirl?
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Post# 288538   7/3/2008 at 20:19 (5,444 days old) by jeffg ()        

If anyone has pics of the Lady Kenmore Rotoswirl and Pentaswirl agitators, could you please post them?

Also, which of the two did Sears use in MOL and TOL Lady K models during the mid-late 1970s?

Thanks in advance.

Post# 288542 , Reply# 1   7/3/2008 at 22:41 (5,444 days old) by 70series ( Connecticut.)        

The link attached is a recently archived thread with photos from Robert's journeys. Picture # 18 is of a Kenmore Penta Swirl agitator, and Picture # 44 is one of a Kenmore Roto Swirl.

The Penta Swirl was featured in the Lady Kenmores, and models immediately follwing in the lineups of 1973 to 1975. In 1976, the Dual Action Agitator (DAA) replaced the Penta Swirl as the agitator for the Lady Kenmore. I believe the Penta Swirl was featured in MOL models until the late 70s or early 80s.

Have a good one,


Post# 288543 , Reply# 2   7/3/2008 at 22:48 (5,444 days old) by 70series ( Connecticut.)        

Here is a link to another archived thread full of Kenmore agitator pictures. This one has most, if not all of the agitator types that have been featured in Kenmores over the years. Quite fun to look at.

Have a good one,


Post# 288545 , Reply# 3   7/3/2008 at 23:39 (5,444 days old) by jeffg ()        

Thanks James. That's exactly the info I was looking for.

What are the chances this RotoSwirl can be made to work in a current model Speed Queen AWS76NW? Slim to none probably. :-)

I have very fond memories of that agitator. It was incredibly effective yet remarkably gentle on clothes. I'd love to see it work with the SQ's 210 degree/68 stroke per minute action.

Post# 288556 , Reply# 4   7/4/2008 at 01:18 (5,444 days old) by 70series ( Connecticut.)        
Slim to None probably

I would have to agree with you on that. However I am no expert when it comes to mechanics, but since I have never seen a Rotoswirl in a Speed Queen, I doubt it would work. But I could be wrong.

Have a good one,

Post# 288566 , Reply# 5   7/4/2008 at 04:33 (5,444 days old) by kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Very interesting subject Jeff and James....

kenmoreguy64's profile picture
I'm trying to think when the last Lady K was made that had a Roto-Swirl. I'm wondering if it was 1964? I know the 65s and 66s had the Roto-Flex, and I know by 1970 or so they'd gone to the Vari-Flex. I don't think I've seen a '67 to '69 Lady, so I don't know about those models.

I do know that the last Standard Capacity Lady was the '72 model with Vari-Flex and that there wasn't specifically a '73 model, as the '72 continued until '74 when the large capacity model debuted with the Penta-Swirl. There wasn't a specific '75 model either (they just kept selling the '74) and the '76 was the new black panel model with the Dual Action just as James said.

So, thinking about it, there may not have been a Roto-Swirl Lady since the mid-60s and there was only one Penta-Swirl Lady. Both surprise me a bit.

James' facts are right on...the Penta-Swirl continued in MOL 60 and 70-series machines until the end of the 1980 models. When the tubs and baskets were redesigned in 1981, the line was simplified to Penta Vanes and Dual Actions in the large machines.

The last Roto-Swirls for home use were the 1980 models too, as these were the last home-use 29-inch standard tub models for Kenmore in belt drive form, though there were some 24-inch for a couple years longer. They went direct drive after that. Kenmore retained the standard tub and Roto-Swirl into the later 80s for coin-op machines, and Whirlpool had standard belt-drives across the board until the end of the line, though they weren't common sellers.

Interesting question Jeff, thanks!

Post# 288569 , Reply# 6   7/4/2008 at 05:17 (5,444 days old) by jeffg ()        

Gordon, thanks for the info. Very helpful!

Post# 288690 , Reply# 7   7/4/2008 at 20:25 (5,443 days old) by 70series ( Connecticut.)        
67 - 69 LKs

If I remember correctly, the 1967 LK featured the Roto-Flex, and was the last to do so as far as the Lady Ks. Starting in 1968, the Vari-Flex became the LK agitator, and continued until the large capacity Penta Swirl models debuted. I believe the last models to feature a Rotoflex were 1968 800 models. It gets a little confusing because there were two models that year that fit into the 800 series category. One had a Rotoflex, and another had a Vari-Flex. I am guessing the Rotoflex versions were Spring/Summer models, and the Vari-Flex versions were from the Fall.

Yes, as you said, the Rotoswirls were not featured in Lady Kenmores since 1964. They became the agitator for 800 - 70 series models for the following three years. In 1968, they were only seen in 700 and 70 series machines. However in 1969 they resumed their position in 800 models as well, and continued being the MOL agitator until the Penta Swirls were introduced.

Have a good one,

Post# 288705 , Reply# 8   7/5/2008 at 00:07 (5,443 days old) by sears9000 (Pensacola, Florida.)        
The Rotoflex was in the 800 model machines.

When my parents bought their new 800 series alphabet washer,it had a golden Rotoflex agitator with a scrubber,and measuring cup on top.It was avacado,with a floresent light within the top of the console panel.It was similar to the one Dick has in his collection,photo #10.However,it was a 3 speed machine.The knob to the right of the timer was the speed control,you had Auto,slow,and x-slow agitation.It only had 2 spin selection.It had an infinite water level slide switch behind the lid.This makes me think that either it was a late 68,or early 69 machine.
The Rotoflex agitator was sometimes known for pulling a button off,if you misjudged your water level.Easy fix,I usually use the highest setting.Eventually,I ended up putting a Rotoswirl in it,and that rejuvenated the machine until the timer completely died in 93,and you couldn't get a new one for it,and I didn't have a computer back then.Oh well,it had a good and long life,but if it was around today,I bet it could humiliate the direct drive machines of today. Even with the original Rotoflex. Have a nice day.

Post# 288819 , Reply# 9   7/5/2008 at 19:30 (5,442 days old) by whitekingd ()        

I've been reading this thread and looking at the pictures. Very Fun! Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't the "fat" black agitator with swirled vanes called the "Roto Swirl", and the subsequent "thin" agitators with swirled vanes and raised ridges called the "Super Roto Swirl"? Both were Great!!

Post# 288905 , Reply# 10   7/6/2008 at 00:52 (5,442 days old) by 70series ( Connecticut.)        

I am a little unclear on the naming of the Roto Swirls. You may be right that the name Super was applied to the thinner version with the ridges. However it may have been a name also given to the fatter ones.

I do know that the fatter ones are referred to as "Pregnant (Super) Roto Swirls". I am not sure whether the word "pregnant" was a formal name, or a colloquial term for it. You are right. Both were great. My favorites are the thin gold versions with the cone-ish caps.

I hope everybody had a nice 4th of July.

Have a good one,

Post# 288947 , Reply# 11   7/6/2008 at 09:31 (5,441 days old) by kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Roto-swirls indeed

kenmoreguy64's profile picture
I think the term "pregnant" is simply one of those many fantastic creations, at least it's not a WP official term.

Recently I was scavenging parts from sales and repair guy who has been in his location for over 30 years. I saw a dusty old black roto-swirl and I said "Oh it's been a long while since I saw a pregnant roto-swirl at a parts shop!" He said "WHAT?!?!, you know, there are a lot of parts I'd rather have to multiply here than a dern agitator!". From there I had to explain the name....

In case of the two Roto-Swirls, the originals were called just that, and the newer slim version was indeed the "Super". This was even molded into the bottom of the agitator along the outer rim. When the agitator was changed from drive-block bakelite to splined polypropylene, the name remained on the outer rim.

I'd have to guess that the Super Roto-Swirl was one of the longest lived agitators out there...used in production machines from 1963 to 1987 unchanged other than in color. I haven't witnessed a 'pregnant' version in operation since 1974, though I worked on many machines in the 90s with the super. For a while when I was a little kid, my mom's '61 Kenmore was the only machine I knew of that had the "fat" version - three or four friend's moms has the supers and I was sure they had cleaner laundry than we did!

I'm currently looking for a white Super version. If anyone knows where I can put my hands on one, please let me know! Have a great Sunday everyone!


Post# 291432 , Reply# 12   7/18/2008 at 11:59 (5,429 days old) by 7080swashertalk ()        

Wow, love the picture collage Robert.

Maybe a "rummage sale memories" button on the main page. Those Are GREAT!

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