Thread Number: 32897
WHY A TOP LOADER?
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|Post# 495394   2/10/2011 at 04:31 (4,674 days old) by mieleforever (SOUTH AFRICA)  || |
Hi, I am fairly new to this forum and have not posted anything on here. I do own a Miele washer and Miele dryer, had a Samsung and Fuchsware before that, what I want to know why one would really buy a toploader washer, as it generally washes not as clean as a Top loader, uses much more water, is much more bulkier and noisier than a front loader. Is it mostly an American thing? Here in South Africa, up until the 90's there really was not that much Top Loaders in use, not that I can remember that is, nowadays there is a myriad of t/l available. So back to my question why would one buy a t/l today?
|Post# 495398 , Reply# 1   2/10/2011 at 06:51 (4,674 days old) by Docker (Cape Town, South Africa)  || |
The Samsung & LG pulsator T/L's are larger capacity & half the price of a comparable front loader. My Samsung T/L washes just as clean as the FL but in less time.
|Post# 495417 , Reply# 2   2/10/2011 at 08:30 (4,674 days old) by 3beltwesty ()  || |
The the USA some folks "just need a washer" and they have little money, or the washer is for a rental house where stuff gets torn up.
On sale last November the lowest priced brand new washer here locally was an Amana made by Whirlpool/Maytag. It as just 249 dollars on sale, marked down from 399. During the same sale the lowest price front load washer was 349.
During no sale's a TL washer is always 100 to 200 dollars cheaper than a FL washer. Sometimes there no super low end FL washers in stock and the lowest price FL washer is 599 dollars and the lowest TL is 349.
One might as well ask why not buy premium gasoline always if money does not matter in purchasing.
In super duper local sales over the last 5 years; the lowest price I have seen for a brand new TL washer at a local store is 218 dollars.
In super duper local sales over the last 5 years; the lowest price I have seen for a brand new FL washer at a local store is 349 dollars.
Post Katrina there were once truckloads of new washers arriving here, once a local store had the token basic TL washer for 199 dollars, this is a rare thing. The 218 price was 2 summers ago and just a normal super sale.
Some folks here really just want a basic TV, basic washer, basic car. Most folks in the USA never used a FL washer until they got "rediscovered/reborn" back in the 1990's. Folks like me whose family used a FL washer(s) since the 1940's are probably less than 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 families.
|Post# 495418 , Reply# 3   2/10/2011 at 08:34 (4,674 days old) by 3beltwesty ()  || |
A Miele washer here in my area is a high end 2 to 3 thousand dollar COMPACT 24" frame washer used on the custom multimillion dollar yachts built at a local shipyard. A Miele washer is also used on a tug boat of oil rig service boat, where space is a premium.
|Post# 495419 , Reply# 4   2/10/2011 at 08:42 (4,674 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)  || |
You see, here in the United States, the wringer washer was invented back in the late 1800s when the tubs were still made out of wood so the agitator in a tub design became the accepted norm. When the automatic washer was invented by Bendix in the late 1930s, it was a tumble action machine. It had a very small tub and there was no synthetic detergent yet made so soap had to be used in them and it really did not give very good results because the high suds softened the washing action normally present in a tumble action washer. Because the electricity standard for the United States was 120 volts and domestic water heaters were being put in newer homes, the machines did not heat the water so the washing period was not extended to heat the water and the top temperature was whatever the water heater would supply, usually about 140F. The wash time was usually a maximum of 10-12 minutes in the Bendix so that the water would not cool too much and redeposit soil on the fabrics. Agitator automatics came on the market after WWII, and, until synthetic detergents started being manufactured, top loaders with agitators worked better with the suds that soap produced. It was actually during the war when fats were needed for explosives that synthetic detergents that did not need fats for their formulas were developed. Front loading tumbler washers continued to get poor ratings for cleaning in the testing machines, although I never saw anyone wearing unclean clothing that had one. We were a country blessed, in most places, with good supplies of fresh water and fairly reasonalbly priced energy sources so the amount of hot water and detergent needed for top loaders was not something most people serviced by municipal water supplies considered when buying a washer. With the right temmperature water and the proper chemicals, an agitator washer can get clothes every bit as clean as the newer front loaders in much less time because the washing action of an agitator washer forces more water through the fabrics in a shorter period of time than does tumble action. Instead of boiling stains out, the practice here has been to use chlorine bleach. Now, even the Miele washers made for sale in the United States are 120 volt machines that do not heat water to 190 like the old ones.
|Post# 495420 , Reply# 5   2/10/2011 at 09:00 (4,674 days old) by mieleforever (SOUTH AFRICA)  || |
Thanks for your replies, I hope I did not offend anybody, and would like to come back here more, because somehow, the tumbling and falling of clothes in a washer seem to hypnotise me and it is wonderful to read all of your ideas and opinions on here.
|Post# 495456 , Reply# 6   2/10/2011 at 11:09 (4,674 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)  || |
Oh, be sure and come back often. I have top loading agitator washers and front loading tumblers and love both kinds. My current front loaders are two Mieles and a Creda. I also like clothes dryers with windows in the door so that I can watch the clothes tumble. I also have to be able to watch my agitator washers so I have rigged ways to bypass the lid switch in all of them.
|Post# 495500 , Reply# 7   2/10/2011 at 14:04 (4,673 days old) by 3beltwesty ()  || |
RE "Front loading tumbler washers continued to get poor ratings for cleaning in the testing machines, although I never saw anyone wearing unclean clothing that had one. "
My dad got his first FL Westinghouse washer in 1947. This machines washed clothes very well. The reason most folks did not buy a FL washer then is they cost a decent amount of money, probably like a 2 to 3 grand machine today.
FL washers actually washed better than TL washers, they used less water and tore up clothes less. A FL washer in 1947 was a very high end item that cost a lot of money.
That 1947 machine was built so well it lasted until 1976 when my dad bought another Westy. 29 years on a machine is decent, the machine was moved 4 times into 4 different houses. The current house I live in that was built in the 1970's has its laundry room designed around the old 1947 westy washer and dryer which were about 30 to 31" wide.
For kids who grew up in the 1950's, the high end westy would pump out the sand and small pebbles from clothes that a TL machine would leave in the tub.
Those of us who have used FL washers for over 50 years designed out houses so the water heater is very close to the clothes washer, thus one got the hot water the machine needed.
Westinghouse Front load washers in the usa were marketed to save water for over 50 years. Even the 1976 FL westy machine's PRIME thrust was it is a New Generation washer that saved one money. There are two pages of spread sheets in the brochure to figure ones savings. One had inputs of cold, warm and hot water. Inputs of whether one used gas or electric hot water heating. Inputs of ones water cost. Inputs of number of loads of wash per week.
Like old 1960's giant Detroit Whale cars that got 8 MPG, many older TL washers used a lot water, but it did not matter to most folks.
My own experience is exactly opposite of Tomturbomatic's comment. When in college the TL washers they had were shreaders compared to my folks FL westy's. I always thought they were total garbage machines at my college. There was always some crud in the machines leftover from somebody elses wash.
The 2 westys I used had a short total wash time. The 1976 model I still have is 42 minutes max with a 15 minutes wash. For stuff not too dirty just a 5 to 10 minute wash works well. One can start washing and have one's stuff all dried in less than on hour.
|Post# 495503 , Reply# 8   2/10/2011 at 14:11 (4,673 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)  || |
Plus most people don't really care as much about laundry as we do here on this website.
If you put in clothes and they look reasonably clean and don't stink anymore when they come out, well that's all about 80% of Americans want. They don't care about the rest.
|Post# 495507 , Reply# 9   2/10/2011 at 14:29 (4,673 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)  || |
|Post# 495647 , Reply# 10   2/11/2011 at 08:29 (4,673 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)  || |
I personally said nothing against front loaders. We had two Westinghouse washers. I like front loaders very much and use mine a lot. I loved using my Bendix Duomatic and my LK combo, although unlike the early tumbler washers, both of them were rated high in cleaning ability. In fact, when the two testing magazines tested washer-dryer combinations, they stated that the larger drums made for better cleaning.
I was trying to explain to someone who does not live in this country why our country went the agitator washer route instead of the tumbler route. I might add that AVCO, owner of Bendix, tied up so many patents on the tumbler washer that Westinghouse had a hell of a lot of trouble and expense designing their tumbler. Jon Charles made mention of how much Westinghouse had to pay Bendix for a feature, so it's not like there was the possibility of other manufacturers wasting time and money designing a front loader. I stated that it was Consumer Reports and Consumers' Research magazines who rated them poor at cleaning and the early machines used with soap delivered cleaning results that were inferior to the best wringer washers, but women loved the convenience of an automatic and they sold well. I did not say that I found them poor at cleaning. By the time we bought our first one with the side swing door, the cleaning ability was rated average. We never had cleaning problems with ours. We used quality controlled sudsing detergents. I said that the people that I knew that had them liked them. From the get go, the tumbler machines have been rated well at sand disposal; even the testing magazines conceded that and we have seen the ads where Westinghouse added a cup of sand to a load of clothes and had them emerge sand-free
You are not the only one who knows about and likes front loaders. You saw some negative points about the earliest Bendix machines, which appeared in print about 70 years ago and come roaring up like a dog that's had its ass painted with turpentine. (For the record, I so not believe in cruelty to animals.) They were worth mentioning because they influenced public opinion, and hence acceptance into the future, of tumbler washers. You don't even say if you ever used one of the first Bendix machines. Maybe you need to learn to differentiate between what a writer is reporting and what a writer is stating as personal opinion. I was trying to be fair. I thought I covered the advantages well. What should I have said, that we were a terrible country because we went with agitator washers? I did not mention, and I certainly could have, the reliability ratings of Westinghouse washers as reported in Consumer Reports from owner surveys because ours was relatively trouble free.
Have a wonderful day.
|Post# 495650 , Reply# 11   2/11/2011 at 08:52 (4,673 days old) by 3beltwesty ()  || |
My bias( differnet take than yours) is because here my family has used FL washers since 1947.
These FL washers cost a lot more than a TL washer, thus few folks bought them. It was like buying a BMW versus a VW. The 1976 westy here was rated by Consumer Reports in 1978 as washing very well, with short cycle time and the lowest water consumption of any washer at that time.
The average buyer in the USA in the 1950's saw the zillion Westinghouse Betty Furness adverts on washers. At that time a westy cost more than a top loader, thus few bought them.
As far as Bendix FL washers, I have seen only one in my life and probably 50 to 100 westy FL washers. Westy FL mnachines were in laundromats in some places, ie a commercial version with coin shoot was made too.
Thus from my view a Bendix FL really had about zero impact on the average American buyer. ie more like a Yugo. Westy FL machines were under Sears, J C Penny, Gibson, Frididaire, Kelvinator and Westinghouse brands. The last time I saw a Bendix in usage at somebodys house was in the late 1950's.
If one went shopping for washers at stores in the 1950's to 1980's, about the only FL washer was a Westy type machine. It cost more than a top loader thus few folks bought them. PRICE matters to most folks and the "saving water" really did not matter to many either. The house I live in did not even have a water meter until 1976.
Thus my view is that the reason folks did not buy many FL washers in the USA before 1992 is they cost a lot more than a top loader.
|Post# 495655 , Reply# 12   2/11/2011 at 09:18 (4,673 days old) by 3beltwesty ()  || |
The average buyer of a washer in the USA just wants to wash clothes. There are gobs of folks that really just want a low cost model. These have always been top loaders.
In this area a Nomadic Air Force family may know that they are only going to be here only 3 to 5 years. They might buy a house to save on taxes and buy a token washer and PLAN on selling it *with the house* when they move.
Thus the whole purchase is driven by the PRICE, and thus they buy that Top Load Amana washer last November for 229 or 249 dollars and have it delivered and set up for free.
They are not interested in buying a 599 buck FL washer on sale like I did, they know they are Nomads and seek "just a washer" since the house they bought has none. The "long term life" of the washer really doesnt matter either, since that is the next home owners problem.
New Spec Houses that are value based here that come with a new washer and dryer always have a top loader due to cost.
|Post# 495862 , Reply# 13   2/12/2011 at 04:05 (4,672 days old) by rapunzel (Sydney)  || |
I don't know about anywhere else, but here in Australia consumer testing agencies find very little difference between the cleaning abilities of front and top loaders. In fact, most top loaders rate better at rinsing than front loaders and, hence, provide better overall results.
|Post# 496026 , Reply# 14   2/12/2011 at 17:47 (4,671 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)  || |
First, all manner and sorts of washing machines existed prior to WWII, on both sides of the Atlantic. What differed is that while Europe and GB were being destroyed by war, the United States remained *quiet*.
Appliance makers had limits on production, but were allowed to go ahead with R&D, which most did, the results of which came out in the post war boom as the US market was flooded with new products.
It is important to remember the first H-Axis washing machines, both commercial and domestic use required bolting down. This was no problem for "steam laundries", but not every homeowner wanted nor could do this. Even after front loaders for domestic use with suspension systems came along, Bendix the inventor held all patents. This meant anyone else either had to pay royalties or find other ways around.
The makers of top loading machines mainly chose the later of the two choices.
H-Axis washers that tumble in only one direction have a nasty habit of tangling laundry into a jumbled mass. This was exploited in advertisements and sales, even going so far as to nickname a popular front loading washer the "rope maker", complete with advertisments showing a housewife pulling a long tangled "rope" of laundry from the washer.
There are two ways to clean clothing. Move water though the cloth, or move the cloth through the water. To this add the (frequently mentioned by moi) four factors of washing textiles. Time, *water* temperature, chemicals, and mechanical action. As I've stated over and over, if you increase or decrease one factor, the others must be adjusted as well.
Because top loading machines with central "beaters" offer a more aggressive method of cleaning than the tumble action of front loaders, the wash times of the former can be shortened.
Wringer washing machines suited the logical progression of how American housewives had done laundry for ages. What changed was the machine provided first the mechanical action (no more scrub boards, brushes, beaters, etc), then wringers (first hand cranked, then power driven), meant an end to hand wringing of soping wet laundry.
More importantly top loading washing machines suited the soaking and washing with near or at boiling water American housewives favoured, especially for whites. Even better one could save that hot water (and soap/detergent) for use in subsequent loads. This was important on two levels. Not every home had vast supplies of indoor water, much less piped hot water.
As the mechanics and materials improved, pumps, motors and suspension systems allowed the change to fully automatic top loaders, the next logical progression from wringers. This was welcomed as it seemed most everyone had a story about some harm befalling a woman or child from use (or misuse) of a "mangle" or washing machine's wringer.
Regarding hot water, early hot water heaters promoted and delivered water at temps of 180F. As it was the custom to install laundry applinaces near the water heater (kitchen, basement, ultility room, etc..), depending upon several factors am willing to bet wash temps were still at or better than 160F when "hot" was selected.
Believe it or not, there is a booming business in exporting of American top loading washing machines, including wringers (though they are now made only in Saudi Arabia) to places like the Middle East and Israel. Why? Well large automatic top loaders are well suited to big families (all those children), with great amount of washing to be done without spending all day about it.