Thread Number: 41484
research help: why did front loaders drop off from 70s-00s?
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Post# 612465   7/26/2012 at 10:51 (2,249 days old) by kbailey ()        

Hi all,

I am working on a project on the history of washers and came across this website during my desk research. The photos of all of the vintage washers have been a great help.

Something I am wondering (and hopefully someone out there has an answer or speculation) is why front loaders essentially vanish from the main market from ~70s-00s. The early washers had models with top and front loaders. But then front loaders vanish until recent years. Why is this the case? Why the ~30 year disappearance?

This community seems to have a lot of expertise, so that's why I posted this question here. Sorry if its not in the right forum or if this post is out of place.

Any response would be great. Thanks so much!

Post# 612473 , Reply# 1   7/26/2012 at 11:45 (2,249 days old) by coldspot66 (Plymouth, Mass)        

Top loaders had the advantage of not stooping to load and unload. Also you could add items easier with a top loader. Westinghouse/Frigidaire/WCI ALWAYS made front load washers up until the late 90's , when they retooled for the porthole style Frigidaire models. For the size load that these Westy front load washers could hold, I don't think they used that much less water than a top loader. Also Consumer Reports said they did not clean as well.

BTW I grew up in Cambridge, Ma.

Post# 612476 , Reply# 2   7/26/2012 at 11:53 (2,249 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        

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I don't know that front loaders vanished completely during that time, they simply weren't a popular as the "normal" toploader.   I know one manufacturer, Westinghouse / White-Westinghouse continued to build and sell they're front load set which could be used stacked or side by side. 


I'm not sure there were many other options until the later 90's when the Westinghouse FL was replaced by a Frigidaire set.   (I've had one of these Frigidaire FL sets since 1997)   Not long after this Maytag came out with the ill-fated Neptune.


This set in the photo is (I believe) from the early - mid 70's.  Even though they have a "water level switch" I feel they used more water than necessary.     I also have a 1990 version of this Westinghouse set.

Post# 612478 , Reply# 3   7/26/2012 at 12:02 (2,249 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
A few observations

I have an even better observation for you. If not for the apartment & condo market, front loaders would probably have disappeared entirely during that time. It was builders giving a stacked washer and dryer in 27" of space and the replacement market that kept them in production. I don't know that the design with a control panel ever completely disappeared, but by far the majority of the Westinghouse front loading washers sold were the stackable Space Mates with the controls on the front. The lack of a market for low sudsing detergents needed by front loaders became so bad that Sears detergents and powder formula All were the only two widely available low-sudsing detergents for a few years.

Only Bendix and Westinghouse made front loading tumble action washers in this country. Neither were liked by the testing magazines in the early years of automatic washing machines because of several factors, including the washing products available then. Until after WWII, soap was the only laundry cleaning product and it makes lots of suds which are not good in a front loaders because they cushion the drop of the clothes into the water. It is hard to rinse soap suds out of a tumbler washer without leaving soil and scum on the load. Soap is just fine when using a wringer washer because you lift the clothes out of the sudsy water to the wringer and the rinsing tubs. Getting rid of that in the small tub of the Bendix was more difficult so the rinsing was not as good as with a wringer. The water extraction was not very good either. So these were the early judgements of magazines people looked to for information about expensive purchases. Despite those judgements, however, women loved the idea of an automatic washer and formed a ready market. Bendix eventually sold the rights to make their machines to Philco, a company that did not have really wide distribution in the US so the washers did not receive much advertising, virtually a fraction of the advertising for their top loaders. Another factor in the 50s and early 60s was that low sudsing detergents were judged not to clean as well as regular sudsing detergents like Tide and front loaders needed low sudsing detergents. The ironic thing was that there were many owners of front loaders who were very happy with the machines and the results they gave. Neither brand had the dependability record of Maytag, either.

Westinghouse, by 1960 had redesigned their washers to perform better and in 1964, Consumer Reports rated the washing ability of the machine as average, but the top capacity was judged to be 8 lbs. when top loaders were claiming capacities almost twice that. Westinghouse did little advertising of the front loader at this time. Once they came out with the top loading agitator automatic, that is what they featured in most ads until the mid to late 70s when they began running ads in national magazines for the front loader featuring Pearl Bailey. This was when all of the manufacturers were striving for larger and larger capacity top loaders. Consumer Reports went about 10 years without testing a WH front loader until in a report of washers, they printed a letter from a reader asking if front loading washers were still being made in the US. This was during the first energy crisis. So they tested a WH washer and reported that it was pretty water efficient and washed pretty well with modern detergents. After that they did include them in more tests, but the nation's eye was on giant capacity top loaders. During the period from 1964 to the late 80s, Westinghouse did not make major changes to improve their machine. They were hanging on, but not spending money on modernizing the washer. Also in that time, the company's ownership changed hands. It is a testament to owner loyalty and to the builder market and replacement market that production continued through that time.

Post# 612491 , Reply# 4   7/26/2012 at 13:19 (2,249 days old) by kbailey ()        
thanks and another question

OK wow, thanks for the responses. If anyone else has more to add, feel free.

Another question I've been thinking about:
So teal / pink appliances were popular in the 50s and avocado green / harvest gold were popular in the 70s. Does anyone out there know why these were the popular colors?

Post# 612493 , Reply# 5   7/26/2012 at 13:35 (2,249 days old) by fido ()        

In UK the opposite happened. Most people didn't have automatic machines until the '70s so before that they were using twintubs, separate washers and spinners or even wringer machines. When autos became popular they were nearly all front loaders because they had to fit in small UK kitchens and a front loader allowed you greater worktop area. I was quite astonished when I saw on here, photos of front loader machines with a control panel at the back of the top. Nobody in UK would have wanted a machine like that as they could not shove it under a worktop.

Post# 612505 , Reply# 6   7/26/2012 at 13:57 (2,249 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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About colors. I don't know exactly why but they switched from the almost pastel colors like turquoise, yellow and pink to more earth tone colors around 1967/68. I guess the tones did fit better with the new kitchen styles often featuring colonial style dark wood tones.  The same also happened (but not as clearly) in the auto industry around the 1968 model year.


See the picture in the link (and comments on the Flickr page) for a style that became popular in the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies.


Post# 612529 , Reply# 7   7/26/2012 at 15:12 (2,249 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
My Late Grandmother Had The Same Set As In RevinKevin's

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Installed when she had her kitchen redone during the mid to late 1970's so yes, front loading washers were always around.

Appliance Colors:

Pink was *HUGE* during the 1950's. In various shades and hues it was everywhere from appliances (small and large), cars, women's fashions, interior design, poodles, hair tint, and so forth. You name it and aside from most men's fashions it came in pink. Many feel this was part of the post war era with it's return to femininity and by extension motherhood and nurturing. Remember the 1950's ideal woman was all about curves (Marilyn Monroe, Mamie Van Doren, Jane Mansfield, etc), and softness.

Post# 612572 , Reply# 8   7/26/2012 at 17:50 (2,248 days old) by machinehead ()        
Gotta love the Poppy!

Frigidaire, that is-- and not the dull brick that I believe was a later design change. That flaming Chinese red wasn't that popular (yes?) but it looks reel good on a 1-18! Like an old vette-- maybe the red hot rod of washers, at least in paint jobs!

Post# 612574 , Reply# 9   7/26/2012 at 18:01 (2,248 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Colors are sorta determined by a color board somewhere that forecasts what will be hot and what is not. They pick colors for homes and home furnishings. I think that after a while people get tired of the same colors and what seemed attractive and or sophisticated begins to look tacky and dated because nothing new is offered in the old colors which makes replacing old appliances in a discontinued color such a party. Some colors have more longevity. Coppertone appliances, in the right setting, don't seem to me to look as immediately of a certain period as do pink or turquoise. In fact, when the world was deep into avocado and harvest, coppertone stayed on and then became coffee. Another color and a neutral brown that still can look good is the GE/Hotpoint color Woodtone Brown.

Post# 612619 , Reply# 10   7/26/2012 at 20:36 (2,248 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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"So teal / pink appliances were popular in the 50s and avocado green / harvest gold were popular in the 70s. Does anyone out there know why these were the popular colors?"

The Harvest/Avocado popularity was an offshoot of the era's interest in things that were "natural." These earthy colors seemed more right for the times than pastels, that's all.

I would like to gently and with all loving kindness correct something. The color you refer to as "teal" was not ever referred to by that name in its day. It was called turquoise, and it was hugely popular at the time. My cousin Betty Ann had a full set of Westy majors in turquoise in her kitchen, plus an early-60's Lady K laundry pair in the same color. The washer and dryer were not nearly as reliable as a politician's promise, but that's another post. Our family had turquoise countertops in the kitchen, plus a turquoise '56 Chevy in the driveway, and my bedroom was painted that color.

Post# 612644 , Reply# 11   7/26/2012 at 22:48 (2,248 days old) by pdub (Portland, Oregon)        
Question re: color and times

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This relates more to kitchen but also some to laundry appliances.

I know white has always been considered a "standard" no frill color that has always been available and remains today.

The 50's to mid 60's were known for the pastels. Then mid 60's to late 70's were the earth tones. Then the 80's brought about almond and what some called the black mirror finish. Almond and white seemed to go into the 90's with black still an option.

Then we were hit in the mid 90's with stainless steel being all the rage. I keep waiting for it to die out and be replaced by something else or revert back to some of the retro shades but for the kitchen, it seems like stainless is still going strong.

Any opinions as to why? Have the design trend setters run out of ideas or is the American public tired of replacing based on colors of the times?

Just wondering!

Post# 612646 , Reply# 12   7/26/2012 at 23:00 (2,248 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I seem to recall reading that pink was popular in the '50s due to Mamie Eisenhower's love for the color.  I recall that there was a lot of pink in the White House at that time.

Post# 612649 , Reply# 13   7/26/2012 at 23:13 (2,248 days old) by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
Regional Differences

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Coming of age during the 60's and checking out the washers in the basements of virtually every person known to me, just as many other members here have done, I can only report sightings of 3 front loaders out of about 50-odd machines observed. The Balls, the Conleys, and the Meegans had them, a Westinghouse with maroon dials, a Westinghouse programmed washer matching moparwash's dryer, and a Bendix Combination, respectively. A very fertile time for automatics, I saw almost every brand and most models manufactured at the time.


Citing other writers in the thread, the front loaders' lack of popularity was threefold: stooping to load, small capacity, and weak spinning, or so the urban myth went.


When I was about 15, I went to my Great Uncle Frank's BF's house for the first time. Immediately in the basement, I was soothed by the distinct aroma of Fels Naptha Bar Soap, and there on the line, were the bell-bottom jeans, a boatneck summer shirt, over-the-calf socks, and a pair of underwear that he had worn the day before and washed that morning,


Over in the corner was a very small old Bendix, which I now can identify as the first year run, When I asked him why he washed by hand when he had such a cool-looking little washer available, he said: "Oh, I like washing by hand, and that machine is more bother than it's worth. I have to wring the clothes by hand anyway." I thought he was crazy not to want to use that weird little beast.


Fast forward to 1995 when my brothers and sisters rented a cottage that had a stacked Westy pair. It didn't do a great job: loud shaky spinning, small capacity, oversudsing (our fault). Of course I loved it anyway, but would never want to do the family wash in one forever.


Rewind to 1963, the Westinghouse Laundromat in southern Ontario had round slant fronts that were fabulous, interesting machines; they even worked with the door open. Heavenly. Small capacity, but that meant more machines to fill and play with. Not one of the other Laundromats around the Buffalo, NY area were Westinghouse.

In the Northeast, front-loaders never caught on. In hindsight, peer pressure, of the "keeping-up-with-the-Jonses-" vintage may well have been a factor. Even now, manufacturers are bending over backwards to refine top-loaders to meet the requirements. One way or another top loaders are here to stay. Around here no one wants a front loader. But, then again, I mainly only know old people, and what do we know?Laughing


K, what are you doing this research for, a course, work, what? Love to know, and glad to help.

Post# 612661 , Reply# 14   7/27/2012 at 00:48 (2,248 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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I want my 1973 Panasonic compact twintub back. I like to DO laundry.

My 1998 FL is a 2nd choice. I grew up with slant Westys. Today's quarter-fill toploaders? You couldn't give me one.

In the era under study, US makers of frontloaders (Bendix, Westinghouse) found themselves in an awkward position. They were underrepresented at dealerships and in advertising, and their low sales volume didn't justify updating their production facilities. Which fell behind making them even less competitive. Whirlpool, Maytag, and GE held 90% of the market. Of the remaining 10%, they either just gave up or got acquired by White.

There is some rounding off in that last paragraph, but it's the big picture.

I think economics unsold US frontloaders, rather than the design itself doing it.

Post# 612684 , Reply# 15   7/27/2012 at 06:46 (2,248 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Westinghouse did not initially offer turquoise, but more of an aqua green color that was lighter and less blue than turquoise. I don't know when they made the transition to turquoise and do not remember seeing turquoise WH appliances except in sales brochures.

Post# 612718 , Reply# 16   7/27/2012 at 08:35 (2,248 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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House my parents built in 1964 had orange Formica countertops in the kitchen, turquoise wall oven, cooktop, range hood (all Martha Washington brand), and porcelain sink.  Refrigerator was a white Philco bottom-freezer.  One side of the Hollywood bath had a lilac sink & toilet, and the bathtub was lilac.

Post# 612724 , Reply# 17   7/27/2012 at 09:18 (2,248 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
DaveAMKrayoGuy is doing Research, too!

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My research is based on Charles Klamkin's recommended appliances in his book, HOW TO BUY MAJOR HOME APPLIANCES, in which he recommends WESTINGHOUSE FRONT LOADING WASHERS, as "Best Made, regardless of price"... (Maytag is best top loader, and there is a GE, which I would guess as a reg. cap. T/L and a Whirlpool, which according to CONSUMER REPORTS is a lg. cap. T/L, but he cites it as a 14-pound mach, & the GE as an 18 lb., as well as a Sears Kenmore w/ the same features as the Whirlpool, recommended...

The book was published in 1972 and I would guess W/H made only a few front loaders by then! (One reg. cap. and maybe two lg., one designed like the W/H TOL top loader, except for the front-loading door & dispensers for det. bleach & soft. on top to make use of space there & compete w/ what ever other makes were offering that in their 'Best' machines!

I really should have bought the Daily Doctrine Dispenser w/ the 1966 Westy machines, but there were a whole lot of different models & might have made my research too complex, (at least if my memory serves!) & the 1969 Westy one only featured top loaders, so that's why I dismissed both...

I did purchase/download both Norge washer & dryer ones (the large & reg./Stow Away models) since only one model Norge dryer was listed under both electric & gas configurations, while Maytag made 'Best regardless of price'...

The whole point of my research is to see if it's possible for a household (from 8 to 16 to 24, actually) to each have a: Refrigerator, Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher, Separate Freezer & Stove (or B/I cook top & wall oven) in each of the four colors offered at the time; and I think the more knowledge I would gain from what I learn here, the more I would "unlock the Zen"--just for fun! (And at least ONE of those households would get the one compact refrigerator--a SANYO! While as for garbage disposals, only a GE made the list (they're both under "Compact Appliances & Garbage Disposals" chapter) but there is the ISE Badger, and a few "off brands" to fill in the cracks, as there would be Amana, Litton & a few of the Japanese makes if any oor all of those households had Microwaves!)...

-- Dave

Post# 612812 , Reply# 18   7/27/2012 at 16:32 (2,247 days old) by kbailey ()        
now what about laundry spaces?

--> noted about the word turquoise used in the 50s instead of teal, thanks

I like the cultural reasoning behind the color trends: return to femininity in the 50s (pastels) and the desire of things natural in the 70s (earth tones).

Also thanks for the info on the vintage front loaders. All of your information has been a great help.

Another question that I've been pondering is where the laundry was done in each decade. I know it's hard to generalize, but if anyone wants to take a stab at general trends, feel free. I know these days the trend in new homes is to have a laundry room or nook on the second floor near the bedrooms. Some vintage ads from the 60s and 70s sometimes show the washer and dryer in or next to the kitchen and I was wondering if this was the actual case. That might just have been for ease of advertising all of the company's appliances in one go and not actually what consumers did.

Thoughts on the location of the washer and dryer, reasoning behind the colors of the machines, and front vs. top loaders are all welcome.

Thanks for the help everyone.

Post# 612817 , Reply# 19   7/27/2012 at 17:15 (2,247 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
Laundry Locations:

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Not many houses I have been in, at any age, have had laundries in their kitchens. I think your theory about showing off all of an appliance maker's lineup in one shot is a likely reason the arrangement is so often seen in ad photos.

Basements are a usual location, and they have one huge advantage: If the washer leaks, little harm is done, because the floor is concrete. There is also no expense incurred for concealing pipes and connections - it's a basement, who cares? In the South, where I grew up, many slab-foundation or crawl-space-only subdivision houses built in the later '50s and early '60s had a "utility room" built at the rear of the carport; on one-car carports, it could hold the washer and dryer and not much else. This arrangement is not feasible in areas of the country that get really cold in Winter, of course.

In the late '70s and early '80s, when the condo craze was on, there was a huge vogue for stacked pairs tucked into closets, preferably somewhere close to the bedroom. I think this may be the genesis of today's vogue for dedicated laundry rooms located near bedrooms.

The kitchen is not a great place for a laundry, because of the proximity to food substances that can stain the laundry if accidentally contacted, and because laundry can contain soils that should not be anywhere around food, like those found in dirty diapers.

Post# 612820 , Reply# 20   7/27/2012 at 17:25 (2,247 days old) by xraytech (S.W. Pennsylvania, near Pittsb)        

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Around here everyone I know except two people have their laundry in the basement.
The two that dont one as their laundry in the corner of their attached garage, the other is in a fore poch that has been made into a room off the kitchen

Post# 612828 , Reply# 21   7/27/2012 at 18:01 (2,247 days old) by golittlesport (California)        
Laundry locations

Growing up on the east coast, almost every home I was every in had the washer and dryer in the basement. The exceptions were usually older apartments or duplexes where sometimes washers were installed in the kitchen. (This was probably because of proximity of plumbing and available space when adding an automatic washer to the household, not the design of the builders.) Two of my aunts in Buffalo NY had washing machines in their kitchens so they wouldn't have to go down the rickety steps into the dark musty basements in their very old houses.

Moving to California with my family in the early 70's it was interesting to find no basements in the houses. Most homes build in the 50s and 60s in CA had washer and dryer in the garage, or in the kitchen, or sometimes a separate utility room near the kitchen. In 50's homes, there was often only space for a washing machine in the kitchen, as many people line-dried clothes year round. As automatic clothes dryers became more common in the 60s and 70s, people would sometimes install a dryer in the garage or on a back porch off the kitchen.

The home we moved into in CA had the washer and dryer in the kitchen, on the other side of a breakfast bar. It was really a large kitchen and laundry room without dividing walls. We had avocado Westinghouse appliances. My mom was thrilled with the arrangement after having to carry laundry up and down two flights of steps, from bedrooms to basement and back, in our house in Pittsburgh, PA. She often said it was heaven having the laundry close to the kitchen. In CA, she had clothes lines just outside the kitchen door in a side yard, and the house had a separate large backyard patio off the living room for entertaining and relaxing. It was really an ideal setup.

New homes in CA mostly have separate laundry/utility rooms near the garage, kitchen or bedrooms.

Post# 612831 , Reply# 22   7/27/2012 at 18:16 (2,247 days old) by Maytagbear (N.E. Ohio)        
Location, location, location.....

The house in which I grew up had the washer and dryer in the basement, for that was the only place where they could have been, without major remodeling. There were concrete utility/laundry sinks already there, which were capacious enough for the SudsMiser (also known as suds saver) feature on our 1964 Whirlpool Imperial.

My last three apartments have had the washer and dryer in the kitchen. Not ideal, but far, far better than no washer/dryer hookups at all.

If I were building (having a house built) a house, I would have a fairly stripped down pair in an alcove off of the kitchen, for kitchen towels and the like, and my main pair in an alcove of the master bath.


Post# 612837 , Reply# 23   7/27/2012 at 18:29 (2,247 days old) by golittlesport (California)        
front loader

We also had two front load washing machines when I was a kid, both Westinghouse Laundromats -- first a 1957 and later a 1966. My mom liked them. When we moved to CA, we had a Westinghouse top loader. I recall my mom using Dash and Salvo in her Laundromats.

I read in a consumer magazine that the average/low score on front loaders in the 60s - 70s was due to the sub performance of low-suds detergents available at the time, and of course using a high suds detergent like Tide would also impair a front loader's performance.

Women were indoctrinated at the time that clothes could only get clean with "mountains of suds" - a carry over from wringer washer and soap days, when reusing the wash water over and over necessitated adding more soap and maintaining a "rich 2-inch layer of suds" as I recall a soap box instructing.

I remember a neighbor talking to my mom about her Westy always overflowing with suds and breaking down. She used Cheer and didn't measure....just poured it in. My mom tried to tell her to use Dash, but the neighbor wouldn't hear of it. (I was only about 6 years old at the time, but remember thinking that woman was so stupid and didn't know how to properly do laundry.) The motor on the neighbor's Westy finally burned out and they got a Whirlpool -- a better choice to use Cheer in, but she still didn't measure and the Whirlpool would often suds lock during the first spin. She never learned.

I can count about 6 families with front loaders in our neighborhood in the late 1950's, all Westy Laundromats except for one Bendix.

Post# 612840 , Reply# 24   7/27/2012 at 18:43 (2,247 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Location, Location, Location

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Where laundry equipment is located has most always depended upon easy access to water. Hopefully running hot and cold, but in the early days it would mean having space for stove that provided heat not only for water but often the flat irons as well.

When indoor plumbing including hot water became the norm it did allow greater choices in placements of laundries. Have laundry design/product manuals going back to the early 1900's that show all manner and sort of home laundries. Basements, dedicated rooms off the kitchen, back porches, etc.. Until modern tumble dryers came along one over riding concern was saving women from having to haul baskets of wet laundry up flights of stairs, out to clothes lines and back again.

Regarding basements in terms of home construction it greatly depends upon location. While common in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states many places either out of construction cost containment or high water table homes elsewhere lack basements.

Post# 612846 , Reply# 25   7/27/2012 at 19:05 (2,247 days old) by ronhic (Canberra, Australia)        
This could be a great project if you looked at

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the US, UK/Europe and Australia....Asia too.

From an Australian perspective...

Major appliances were very expensive here...though not as dear as say the UK or Europe after WWII.

American made Bendix machines were sold here from the earliest days. Stopped for WWII and then started again. They were stupid money to buy...but people did.

Here, the ringer machine was king (queen?) in the early 50's...followed by the British twin tubs (assembled here). Then Semi-automatics (look the same as an automatic, but you have to turn the dial to change the function from wash/spin/rinse and they would not change until you made them) followed by automatic top loaders and then front loaders....

The percentage of sales of other machines - wringers, twin tubs automatics and semi automatics all changed so that fully automatic machines were the leaders by the 1970's....

Front loaders maintained around 5-10% of our market from the mid-late 1960's until about 1995 or so. There was no 'drop-off' as such. They had always had a small share, often selling to apartment owners who used them in either a small laundry room, the bathroom or hall cupboard. Europeans who migrated often bought them as witnessed by Scottish friends of our family who had 2 British Hoover Keymatics when I was a kid.

From around 1995 or so, local councils started to provide incentives for people to buy water efficient appliances. Australia is the driest permenantly inhabited continent on the planet (apart from Antartica)....and parts of Australia have just come out of a very long drought with strict water restrictions. Anyway, the incentives in Australia are not paid to the manufacturer to produce, but rather to the consumer to buy thereby ensuring that one cycle feeds the others needs rather than forcing the other to comply - The consumer is in charge, not the manufacturer.

Since then, front load washers, which were always around 30% (closer to 50% today) more water efficient here than a top load washer anyway, have increased sales so that they are generally around 50% or more of the market today.

Potted history.....and the UK and European experience is different for different reasons

Post# 612847 , Reply# 26   7/27/2012 at 19:10 (2,247 days old) by vintagekitchen ()        
My 2 cents (Ok, more like 20 cents)

As far as why front loaders fell out of fashion, according to both my grandmothers, they were prone to leaks, ridiculously expensive, in our area it was hard to find proper low suds detergent for them, and did they mention prone to leaks? One aunt refused to listen, and bought herself a stacked Westy set like the one in the photo, but in white. The opening around the door rusted out on their well water. Leak city. Her cure was jam a towel in the rusted gaping maw to minimize leakage, toss a few towels in the floor in front of the washer to catch any leaks, and keep going using it until she felt like she had gotten her money's worth.

As far as colors, then as now, colors have always cost extra. Plain white is cheapest, unless the store has leftover stock of no longer fashionable colors they are trying to shift at a lower price. My memories of childhood are from the 80's, so here goes..

My family on my father's side always felt paying the extra was worth it, they felt keeping up with the Jones's was VERY important. Grammas kitchen had coppertone brown Kenmore appliances, and her laundry room had an avocado green Whirlpool set. Her eldest daughter bought all almond when she was married in the late 80s, Speed Queen in the laundry, and Hotpoint in the kitchen. Other daughter stuck with white, simply because she hated almond, and said it looked dirty (she had the Westinghouse set, no idea what was in her kitchen). When gramma redid her appliance in the late 80's it was almond Kenmores in the laundry, and almond Maytags in the kitchen. (This side of the family would always replace washer/dryer or stove/fridge as pairs, even if only one needed replaced, because "unmatched appliances look tacky, and you cant get that color anymore, etc etc.")

Mom's side of the family however, could squeeze a nickel till it was paper thin, and refused to pay the extra, or even worry about matching appliances, and didnt give a damn what the Jones's thought. Gramma had a white Hotpoint stove, paired with a single door non-self defrost Frigidaire fridge in harvest gold. When I asked why she bought the fridge that color and not white to match the stove, she said they had all the harvest gold stuff on sale because no one wanted it anymore, so it was cheaper than white. Laundry wise, she had a MOL GE filter flo in white, and a kenmore wringer in white, (no dryer until I was 16). Aunt had an avocado green Magic Chef stove that came with the house, paired with a white Roper fridge, (one that matched the stove came with the house, but died a year later). Laundry area had a white Whirlpool set. Other aunt had a gold frigidaire stove, paired with a white GE fridge. Laundry area had a white Kenmore washer paired with a brown GE dryer (dryer was purchased used, before that she used a clothesline).

Mom herself refused to pay extra for colored appliances and all we ever had was boring white, starting with our Hoover twin tub, then the GE filter flo set bought when I was 5, along with the GE fridge and Kelvinator (I think) stove.

As far as laundry location, Mom's side of the family lived in mobile homes and theirs were all located in either the hall next to the bathroom, or in the bathroom. Dad's side of the family, one aunt in mobile home, laundry in hall (she had the westinghouse set). Gramma in a big farmhouse, big laundry room off the kitchen. Other aunt in a house, laundry on glassed/screened in back porch off kitchen. I think in this area it seems not so much to be whats convenient for the housewife, as whats convenient for the plumber. Wherever the water pipes were closest, thats where the laundry area seemed to end up.

Post# 612857 , Reply# 27   7/27/2012 at 19:36 (2,247 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Front Loaders ='s Rope Makers

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Do not know when Westinghouse changed their design but all front loading washing machines sold in the USA until recently tumbled one way. That combined with the slanted drum of some designs produced a tangled mess of washing.

As VintageKitchen noted there was the problem with high sudsing detergents.

When soap was the main wash day choice for cleaning it requires a pretty decent rich layer of froth to indicate good cleaning. By this one means it showed that there was enough soap in the wash water and that the active components weren't used up softening the water/dealing with dirt.

After P&G introduced Tide and other "detergents" followed most all had to use surfactants and or add ingredients that created the froth housewives and others were used to for laundry day. If they didn't the stuff simply wouldn't sell as women and others had been brainwashed for ages to equate froth levels with good laundry results.

Sadly for front loaders high froth creates all sorts of problems, and not all could find and or were motivated to look for "condensed/controlled" sudsing detergents like Dash.

Post# 612902 , Reply# 28   7/28/2012 at 00:32 (2,247 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

My mom owned two front-load washers, both Westinghouse. The first was a '55 and it required a visit from the serviceman frequently. Once it got so out of balance it walked far enough to unplug itself. Don't remember any rusting on it, though.

The second was a '64 (straight front) with an inset side opening door. It didn't have to be serviced as often, but the front and door developed rust early on.

It broke down in the Summer of '73, and Mom decided she wanted a machine of better quality. She got a Maytag A207 and DE406 set, which she used until her death in '95. I continued using them until I replaced the washer (still functional) in 2004. I still have the dryer.

Post# 613014 , Reply# 29   7/28/2012 at 16:31 (2,246 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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I already know that I will get alot of disagreements from the FL's lovers but you cannot tell it is not the truth.
I personally think that for what concerns the Front loaders in US it was and still is all about a piloted marketing maneuver, in the early days when automatic washers started to enter in most houses the majority were TL's, don't forget that were manufacturers that since the early days tried to distinguish themselves by making FL's and some FL's only (or Drum type) as Launderall also claiming every absurd wonder about FL's and the fact that they were someway better, many people got them many people "liked" them but most preferred Top loaders! No wonder!
It was not because of the soap or detergent as someone said before, there were many Low suds detergents at the time some of the ones became famous in Europe too like Dash, it was not an oversudsing problem of some detrgents the fact that made FL's drop off, that would be pretty ridicolous, but rather the fact that TL's agitator were and are better on washing.
Well,I think it is a simple question to answer this one, in the 70s everyone had a washer, and the simple reasons why the FL's dropped off was because people got that TL's agitator washer were and are the best ones.....
If you see some manufacturers since the 60s when washer market was saturated with so many brands tried to distinguish and make more sales by starting to producing and offering FL's machines also, claiming and advertising them with lies and exalting and magnifying the fact that were better than TL's just to sell more and inducing and tempting the lucky people who had the luck to own an automatic washer as they came out in the early days (About 1950s) changing their old TL for a FL wich was claimed being better even if their TL was still running fine .....
It was also a commercial technique of some manufacturers to get people to choose that kind of machines and so mark since who produced and offered them were very few compared to all the others ones that produced TL's only.
Don't you think that if they were really better people would not have choosen them and so been the majority in US rather than TL's which were the only type of machines owned and used by most americans till today?

But I do not want to start or transform this thread in TL's VS FL's, it is always an "on topic" matter.....
What I can tell you about today and the fact that FL's are pulled out again it is just a simple reasoning identical in certain ways to what happened in the past but with some crucial differences:
Well, it is not a case that FL's sold as the new commercial stunt named:"HE" got pulled out again during an economical crisis period which affected seriously and deeply the appliance market and not before, this should make you people think.....
What a better way of improving the appliances market by re-bringing out the FL's and new chain of magic "modern" "weird" machines I mean also neptune roller, plate etc... and claiming every possible wonder about them as they're doing?
What a better way to entice owners of old REAL washers and appliances that are still going strong to get a new machine anyway or avoiding people in need of a new machine to switch for the used market for another one?
Dah dah!
Here you have " HE " the new "b******t" of 2000s!
Today they still using the old spots and "reasons why" for these machines of the 60s with the difference that today they put in the hat the "saving" matter to which people in these periods are more sensible because of the economical crisis, put in also the fact that nowadays people are hypnotized by commercials, tv addicted etc and that they believe and follow every crap is told to them and that commercial and tv says!

Problem is that new generations of consumer cannot recognize and does not care about REAL efficiency and quality about products and you can see it everywere and on everything, so not just appliances they just care and follow what's the moment's fashion which is dictated solely by mass advertising!
Also the way of housekeeping totally changed to bad, I will make an example I recently watched an ad for a detergent, a kid stain his t-shirt with some Ice cream, desperate mommy about dropping the t-shirt in the bin saying " I've to throw it away this tough stained tshirt"? While she gets stopped by granma that says: "use this" (I do not remeber the brand) like if this detergent does something magical about removing a banal ice cream spot!
I mean throw it away a tshirt for a banal choccolate stain? I didn't live in the 70s but I'm sure it wasn't a possible option in the 70s nor 80s without mentioning 60s not a normal thing in an ad of the past, this was just a silly example but what I want to say is that now is pretty normal to do and common for the mentality of people! People got this mentality now! And if a banal choccolate stain won't get clean is normal! So I'm not surprised if they now can like an HE, most housekeepers lost the contact with reality when a washer is intended to wash and a tough stain for which you had to throw a t shirt away would be for example an acrylic paint stain! Not an ice cream stain! I mean what? So what about if they watch an old advertisement where wives used to get clean the grease stained overall of the husbands? Today it would be SF!
Anyway I'm writing too much, hope you understand what I mean.
It was my opinion about that.
That's all.....

Post# 613015 , Reply# 30   7/28/2012 at 16:50 (2,246 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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And good luck on your research!

Post# 613455 , Reply# 31   7/30/2012 at 13:12 (2,245 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        
Laundry location in the house.........

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I grew up in Southern CA and our house (built in the 50's) had the washer (a pink Maytag A700) in the kitchen with no provisions for a dryer.   We line dried until I bought and installed a used Maytag dryer on the back patio.   Interestingly, one of our next door neighbor had the washer & dryer in the garage (Maytag A606 washer & matching electronic dryer in avocado).  


My grandmothers house (built in the 20's) had a "back porch" as grandma called it, basically a small utility porch off the kitchen with a washer, laundry sink, water heater and a very small amount of storage.   She had an early-mid 50's Westinghouse FL for many years (and used Dash or ALL).   I don't remember for sure, but I don't believe she had many problems with it.   It was replaced in the early-mid 70's when my mom bought her a new Maytag washer,  insisting she replace the old Westinghouse (nothing wrong with it).


After I moved out I lived in a 2 bedroom townhouse (built in the 80's?).   The washer and dryer, a stacked Westinghouse set like the photo above (but white) was in the upstairs hallway in an alcove, next to the master bedroom.




Post# 613485 , Reply# 32   7/30/2012 at 15:25 (2,245 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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It would be nice if we could stick to the facts in such a thread like this instead of turning this in yet another FL vs TL discussion.

Overhere in Europe the history is about different for every country.

In the UK often washing machines were in the kitchen, so there the frontloader with the soap dispenser in the front became popular sooner than in the rest of Europe.

France has it's own history with the preference of the French for H-axis toploaders. One of the reasons might be the lack of space in Paris apartments. H-axis toploaders are only 40 or 45 centimeters wide.

Germany had more frontloaders. The frontloaders used lot of water in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. There were more frontloaders available with the controls on top and with the detergent dispenser on top too. Miele made frontloaders with a detergent dispenser for quite a long time, even when the controls had moved to the front already.

Switzerland has a lot of apartment buildings with communal laundry rooms. They put very sturdy commercial machines in there. They have their own brands like V-Zug, Wyss Mirella, Merker and Huwa.

Germany has apartment buildings with communal laundry rooms too, but the tenants put their own washing machine in there, so you have a row of different washing machines in a German laundryroom.

In the Netherlands the H-axis twintub like an AEG Turnamat was very popular. There was a drum for washing and rinsing. The only thing you had to do was spin the laundry in the separate spinner. The rest of the wash process is automatic. This set up is rather different from the British twintubs.

In general we can say that the northern part of Europe got washing machines with higher spin speeds than the southern part.

Post# 613505 , Reply# 33   7/30/2012 at 16:17 (2,244 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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He asked WHY Front Loaders vanished and then "came back" and I responded what I know and think about, even if I missed to respond to the second question made about "laundry locations" and yes I admit I got a little "off topic" but this is part of history of washing machines and laundry as well, isn't it? I don't think I did anything wrong and no, I didn't want to transform it in TL's vs TL's as I also mentioned in the comment just said what it is...
If it is disturbing or "uninteresting" for you sorry but I just don't care as, again, I think I didn't do anythyng wrong by posting that, it wasn't a response to you, rather I care much to see if it was of help and of interest to the "questioner".
Nothing personal.

Post# 613526 , Reply# 34   7/30/2012 at 17:44 (2,244 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Tell us, Freddy, have you actually read any of the magazines from the late 30s through the 70s about washing machine testing and use? These would include the so-called shelter magazines, the appliance trade journals and the consumer testing magazines. You might want to aquaint yourself with a bit of the history of a machine introduced 50 years before your birth because some of us here are old enough to remember seeing them operate and can refute, point by pioint, what you have written. How can you claim that there were low sudsing detergents before World War II when they were in their infancy in the early 1950s? I read little more than bombastic opinion in your post. As our esteemed colleague Louis requested, can we keep this a factual conversation?

Post# 613539 , Reply# 35   7/30/2012 at 18:35 (2,244 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        
Yes we can!

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It is too easy to misunderstand on purpose and playing the cards of the age just beacause you're older than me! Then the fact you probably are more known and "famous" here than me on this website does not give you the right to act as you were speaking for the whole website and members! Tell me if I'm wrong but I just had this presentiment!
I'm free and I have the right to have my opinions and express the FACTS I know about as you have your right to, then if you say you can refute point by point what I wrote, well I'm waiting!!!!
Just do that on PVT message or let's open a thread about, not in this, let's this poor guy doing his research in peace!
First of all I want to point that I never told about low suds detergents before the WWII, If you can read well what others members said and what I've said (the member who did give the fault to detergents told about 60s and 70s and my response was to that not before WWII) I ment about Low sudsing detergents in 60s and 70s!!!! Not before!
Dash was invented in the 60s!!!!!
And anyway the drop off on production of FL's actually had it's terminus (even if like Kevin said they never completely stopped making them) about the final 70s when Low sudsing detergents were widely produced.
Anyway.....I speak for facts....and a shelter magazines and stuff like that aren't of course one as actually they can write everything just to accomplish manufacturers and brands who pays more to get it's name or models on it, it is so now and was so in the past, some things never changes!
Now I'm also waiting to know what you think about the drop off since my opinions are "bombastic", do you have at least one? I will wait you to prove me I'm wrong!
I'm sure the agreements you will get will be all from FL's lovers or sympathizers older and even younger than me, so just don't play the cards of the age.
It is not an age matter! You have not to be a genius to understand that a FL can't wash as good as a TL! Nor to get why they have drop off!
The FACTS reamains that most people from 1945 till now preferred mostly top loaders! So if you think that FL's were better this means that: or americans from 1945 to today were dumb or tell me what!

I honesltly think that modern world has shrunk so bad for what concerns family care, genuine living, so cleanings, and of course laundry and in general the housekeeping as it should be done, so probably the dumb are the people of today!
I do not want to start a TL vs FL again as what I think is still wrote in some of many threads about it.

In conclusion I can say mines are more FACTS than every else!

This post was last edited 07/30/2012 at 19:32
Post# 613591 , Reply# 36   7/30/2012 at 22:32 (2,244 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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"You have not to be a genius to understand that a FL can't wash as good as a TL!"

Now that is an opinion, unless you come up with scientific evidence that proofs that. So much for you sticking to the facts.

Question: Have you ever used a European frontloader?

Post# 613623 , Reply# 37   7/31/2012 at 00:58 (2,244 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        
Yes since I live in Italy!

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Living in Italy I've used and seen so many of them both old and new!
I've used many European frontloaders both new and old models(and currently owner of 1 gifted to me that I have to get fixed and then sell it) and I tried some american FL's while in US..... no differences noticed about Americans and Europeans in terms of washing, they all used to get clothes not clean as toploaders.
I'm talking about washing actions and effectiveness of them which again are things you can easily get just thinking that of course beating and agitating clothes through water is obviously more effective than tumbling balls of wrapped wet clothes. You can't say are not facts that in US they prefferd TL's rather than FL's, I just told what I know, read, and have nalso personally experienced and known by reading and informing, and what I found out is that most people preferred top loaders because provided better washing results, if you want I can also tell you what I known and think about Europe and especially Italy about FL's being the most machines known......
What I want to point also is that do not want to talk about specific machines as it's obvious the fact that even some TL's models are bad at washing so it's not imperative they always are better, of course some FL's models might be way better at washing than some TL's.

For example I think that certain modern models of FL's gives better washing results than some certain others modern contemporary models of TL's!
But generally TL's provides cleanest clothes!
But again the facts that TL's have been preferred for the better washing are actually FACTS!

This post was last edited 07/31/2012 at 07:01
Post# 613691 , Reply# 38   7/31/2012 at 11:06 (2,244 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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I don't think I understand you. You state in your last sentence that the facts are actually facts. That is saying like a washing machine is actually a washing machine.

Anyway, I am looking forward to see proof of your statement. If you can't provide it, it means you have ventilated your opinion, not stated a fact.

Since you're from Italy, perhaps you could tell us some more about the history of Italian washers. For instance about the Ignis H-axis toploaders or the Candy Bimatic.

Post# 613710 , Reply# 39   7/31/2012 at 11:59 (2,244 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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Yes I ment to say that TL's have been preferred and this because of washing results and these are facts, yes in the hurry I wote a little a contorted sentence! I admit it! :D
I hope you can understand that obviously I cannot report here every "proof" as "culture" I made on washing machines is gained by years of "non-forced researches", but rather personal experiences, talks to people etc even internet blogs and websites even about marketing strategies of which I don't even remember the name etc........
I could even report some links of people confirming what I said... I have to find them out again, but would not be these opinions for you as well? I mean if you say mine are opinions even the other ones would be so, so what's the matter with the proofs?
I've nothing to prove anyone then, rather I'm still waiting some lines to hear why I'd be wrong since it was you saying that I'm wrong I'd be glad to hear at least why.....
Isn't me having to show "proofs" now!

Anyway I will gladly write some lines about Italian washing machines history, maybe later as I have to some chores now and prepare dinner, I start with saying that first washing machine in Italy was produced by Candy and it was called Modello 50.
It was 1945, when, in the Mechanical Workshops Eden Fumagalli at Monza,famous
for producing high-precision machines and tools, saw the light
the Model 50, one of the earliest italian miracles of domestic well-being: the first
all-Italian washing machine. Founded by the extraordinary talent of Eden
Fumagalli, the protagonist of the new machine officially to
public at the Milan Fair in 1946, a little curiosity I know is that most people at the fair was not even aware of the existence of washing machines and they primarily tought it was a butter maker since the suds on top looked like whipped cream, among the wonderment of people the first italian washing machine has been presented, big astonishment among people at the fair and shining eyes of wives, ladies and housekeepers that looked at it as a liberator and wonderful "miracle machine"!
By the way it's pretty obvious that in Italy gasoline powered washing machines never existed even before, so I mean during 30s or 20s or at least they of course have never be known widely from what I know, maybe just a few imported models in very rich homes.... As I said for the 90% of italians washing machine was just a news! It was the very first washing machine that most people have seen!
People were poor in that period so it was just a luxury for rich people, not for everyone, in Italy washing machines became common goods just in the mid 70s and in some parts of Italy (I mean southern parts) washers were in every home just around the 80s.
Will have to demand more history for later.....
I'm attaching a pic of the Candy Modello 50.

This post was last edited 07/31/2012 at 16:21
Post# 613712 , Reply# 40   7/31/2012 at 12:08 (2,244 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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Another pic

Post# 613779 , Reply# 41   7/31/2012 at 15:26 (2,244 days old) by mrsalvo (New Braunfels Texas)        

Growing up in the 60's - 70's, my mother hated with a passion front load machines and low suding detergents. I think she believed front loaders didn't clean as well as a traditional toploader. Even when she went to a coin laundrymat and had a choice it was always a toploader. So in our household, Speed Queens ruled the day for the most part. Color was always white.
As for location, she didn't like laundry facilities in the house proper, outside in the garage or utility shed was the perfered area. For many years Dad was in the military and base housing had them in the kitchens or off to the side, I don't think she thought it was too sanitary close to the food.
Also, growing up in the military, they provided most machines in the housing and it was usually a what-not collection, not any definite perfered brand. Mostly white though.

Post# 613796 , Reply# 42   7/31/2012 at 16:52 (2,243 days old) by joefuss1984 (Little Rock, AR)        
Laundry Locations in Arkansas

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Most of our homes here do not have basements, a few do.  Homes from the 60's and 70's usually had a separate utility room that house the washer, dryer, hot water tank, and space for a freezer/ extra fridge.  These rooms were usually located in a separate closet under the carport or garage or when you first enter the house from the carport/garage.  Some of the homes with garage doors have a separate space in the garage for the washer and dryer ( have seen this in both one and two car garages here).  My home from the 80's is right off the kitchen, coming in from the garage.  I would not want to have to go out in the cold to do my laundry in the winter so I am glad to have it indoors.  Now, older homes, such as one of my grandparents had a screened in back porch and a room off the back porch where the washer and dryer went beside the hot water tank.  I venture to say the house was so old it was built before people washer and dryer hookups and that was added later.  Many people in South Arkansas do not have garage's but rather car ports.  Central on up to Northwest you start to see more garage's on the homes.  Of course you would not see a washer and dryer hookup in a carport setting.  I have never actually been in or seen a home here that had the laundry close to the bedrooms unless it was a newer home where they separate the master, putting it on one side of the house (usually close to the garage entrance here) and the other bedrooms on the opposite end of the home.  Still the laundry was located right in the door from the garage.  

Post# 613806 , Reply# 43   7/31/2012 at 17:50 (2,243 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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Again Freddy, you're confusing facts and opinions again, but I guess there is no use in discussing this further.

Thank you for sharing those pictures and your knowledge about the history of washing machines in Italy. That Candy 50 is a beautiful machine. I love the thermometer on it.

Odd that washing machines became common goods so late in Italy while there were so many made in Italy and sold all over Europe.

Post# 613815 , Reply# 44   7/31/2012 at 18:48 (2,243 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        
Candy Bi-matic and automatics

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Just in the 1954 so after almost ten years of production of Modello 50 Candy introduce the Candy Bi-matic, the first model of washing machine with a spinner.
It is important to let you notice that both machines had a built-in heating element and it was due to the fact that most european houses didn't have current hot water, some had small wood powered heaters just for their bathtub or sink use... the old italian "condos" were very old buildings (the ones that still reamined standing from the bombs) so even historical ones,
they had chimneys and wooden stoves as heating only ,just after the 60s when economical boom started even the old building and new raising condos were provided with centralized hot water and heaters, some had just centralized heating and electric boilers for hot water production.
But here I'm going too much off topic...
Anyway, this is why most washers in Europe mostly came with their own heaters....
In the 1960 Candy start to produce fully automatic models....
They were Fl's types only due to the fact that they started to make machines copying the "German" way of earlier german washer manufacturers of automatics such as AEG and Constructa as german automatics in the 60s made their brutal enter into the italian market and that is why FL's are almost the only type of machines italians ever known, the italian economic boom started so quickly in a few years since the start of the 1960 homes started to fill with radios and refrigerators first, then the richest even washers, so during the 60s the 35% of homes had a washer and the number would have increased to 75% in the 70s and almost 90% in the 80s....
Video showing how a Bi-matic is:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO kenmoreguy89's LINK

This post was last edited 07/31/2012 at 19:36
Post# 613831 , Reply# 45   7/31/2012 at 19:25 (2,243 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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If you want to think that I'm confusing opinions to facts, well, I can't do nothing but let you think as you want to....

I'm thinking to continue writing about the story of washing machines in Italy if I have time, there is so much to tell!
And yes in Italy washers became common goods so late than rest of Europe, Italy was completely destroyed after the war and economic situation of people started to increase just after the 1960 during the so-called "economical boom".

This post was last edited 07/31/2012 at 19:44
Post# 613936 , Reply# 46   8/1/2012 at 08:45 (2,243 days old) by jeb (Mansfield Ohiio)        
Top loader popularity

Just to throw another opinion in the mix; Just after WWI we had thousands of service men returning and starting families. Buying with a credit card (or on time) became the norm. Sears had a great catolog following and just about anyone could get a Sears card (I got one in college with a $100.00 dollar limit). This was well before brand central and the only appliances sold at sears were Kemore. Kenmore did not have a frontloader line so they were pretty much out of the picture for those families tring to "move on up". I remember when my parent redid the kitchen every new appliance was from the "Sears Best" line, and we lived in Mansfield home to Westinghouse! My parents only had a Sears charge card so they when to Sears for everything appliances,lawnmowers,tires ect... Jeb

Post# 614003 , Reply# 47   8/1/2012 at 13:04 (2,243 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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By guessing and being totally sure that what you ment was WWII not WWI, I can say that I know in US just after WWII most of the people owned and were still buying wringer washers instead of automatics as they were the majority and automatics were just still enough rare to be find in your normal average size retailer electric shop even if some of course used to have a few models of them among wringers,the automatic washer was such a news or anyway a machine that most people couldn't afford to get, some shops even had front loader type as early bendix machines were.
I know that for most of the brands at the time it was common to produce wringer types mostly and few models of automatics, mostly of the which were of course TL's only.
So it is quite normal you couldn't find FL's of the Sears Kenmore or at least what I mean is that it was not so strange and nor just a Kenmore "characteristic" as maybe wrongly I've understand you wanted to say.

There were very few brands/manufacturers such as Bendix, that as I said, used to produce automatics FL's since the early days, trying to distinguish from the others by claiming that Fl's were "better and more efficient machines", with the only goal to get more sales, then others followed in this new marketing maneuvre as for example westinghouse did, with their early "laundromats" models...
Jed, I just can't understand why your would be opinions, they looks rather facts to me the ones you have experienced, sought, lived and learned, so it makes of them facts unless you wanted to write opinions on purpose in a sarcastic way since here for some people facts are intended as opinions.....

This post was last edited 08/01/2012 at 14:25
Post# 614009 , Reply# 48   8/1/2012 at 13:57 (2,243 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        

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Kbailey:   I bet you are thinking to yourself "Boy I sure got a lot more than I bargined for when I posted that first, and then second question".


I hope all of this info helps you!



Post# 614021 , Reply# 49   8/1/2012 at 15:02 (2,243 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        
Dear Kbailey

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I hope these info helps you also, even if some are among some spats that could have easily been avoided....
I got distracted with the Candy and italian machines history and I forgot to talk about laundry locations in Europe.
In Italy everyone has his own washer into the house even in the condos, there is not the use to have a common laundry room, everyone has it's own washer inside his own home, usually the locations in apartments are the Bathrooms and sometimes the kitchens, in bigger apartments usually there is a laundry room or a walk-in closet on purpose usually next to the kitchen.
Indipendent houses usually have a laundry room located in the garage, basement,subscales and or walk-in closets or utilities rooms next to the kitchen.
I know in French apartments it is common to have washing machines in the bathroom as well rather than in the kitchen, Spain the same way....
France and Spain are all very similar to Italy for what concerns laundry locations.
Hope this may help you.

This post was last edited 08/01/2012 at 17:02
Post# 614061 , Reply# 50   8/1/2012 at 19:11 (2,242 days old) by a78jumper ()        

Here in Canada top loaders were more the norm....I only recall seeing two front loaders growing up....the McAlpines had a Westinghouse and my Uncle's Mom had a combination which I also believe was a Westinghouse which she prolly got after their farmhouse burned down in 1965 and they moved to town.

Top loaders were never popular in overseas countries where water was in short supply or hydro expensive.....all the machines in Cyprus in 1986/87 were front loaders and I think most were also front loaders in Germany also. Small kitchens and houses had something to do with this. My sister's machines were front loaded in Bedford, England 1988-90, and she was a rarity amongst her neighbours in that she had and used a dryer; most hung their wash outside even in the pouring rain or snow. She also had a deep freeze which was truly rare.

As far as colours go do not think most in Canada had anything but white, though I do remember the Frigidaire kitchens installed in a lot of houses in our 'hood in Montreal ca 1965 being tourquoise. My Mum did get all harvest gold appliances in 1976....Maytag washer and Dryer, GE Fridge and stove and Kitchen Air Dishwasher, which were replaced in 1994 when they rebuilt the kitchen.

Post# 614062 , Reply# 51   8/1/2012 at 19:13 (2,242 days old) by a78jumper ()        

And laundry rooms were in basements until the 1970s.....such was the case in my parents houses built in 1958, 1962 and 1968.....when we moved to Toronto in 1972 the laundry room was in the back hall on the main floor. All the houses I have owned the laundry was in the basement.....houses built on slabs are very rare here in Canada.

Post# 614064 , Reply# 52   8/1/2012 at 19:25 (2,242 days old) by a78jumper ()        

And may people in the country kept their wringer washer in the bathroom because the bathtub was used to rinse the clothes.....prior to the family farmhouse getting hydro in 1949 Mom tells me my Grandmother kept her gas powered machine in the shed year round, and heated all the hot water for it in a tank mounted behind the wood stove......and all that water was pumped by hand out of the well!!! Must have been fun slopping water around on a -25F day with wash from seven kids to was hung on the front porch most of the year, and when really cold on clothes racks over the wood furnace register in the front need for a humidifier!

Post# 614138 , Reply# 53   8/2/2012 at 01:17 (2,242 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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Where did you live in Montreal?


Paul told me there were a lot of Frigidaire appliances in Beacon Hill in the mid-sixties. There is a turquoise wall oven and a turquoise and cooktop from there that were recently for sale.

Post# 614147 , Reply# 54   8/2/2012 at 02:41 (2,242 days old) by DaveAmKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
For those unfamiliar w/ Canadian terms:

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Hydro = Electricity

Have heard of "hydro" being used to describe "electric power" based on it actually being "water generated", right down to "electric lines" being called "hydro poles", in Canadian radio broadcasts (and at first literally getting different impressions, especially w/ basic utilities being "water", "hydro", "phone" & "gas"--and electricity not mentioned, whereas "water" & "hydro" seemed redundant)...

Now back to our regular scheduled topic!

-- Dave

Post# 616009 , Reply# 55   8/10/2012 at 08:50 (2,234 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Just A Little Tidbit

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Was going through my vintage CR "buying guides" from the 1980's researching another matter, and came upon the ratings for washing machines.

In 1984 the top rated top loaders, Maytag A710 and Whirlpool LA5800 all rated good to excellent across all categories including cleaning performace of regular and permanent press fabrics.

However the two front loaders tested, White-Westinghouse LT600E and Gibson WS14M6WL rated excellent across the board, period. The only exceptions were tub capacity and water extraction.

Tub capacity of course when compared to the large top loaders of the 1980's these front loaders held less. They didn't extract at the fast rpms we have today for front loaders so the left more water in laundry.

This bears out something that has been said for over one hundred years now, h-axis washing machines clean better then top loaders.

Post# 616033 , Reply# 56   8/10/2012 at 11:11 (2,234 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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One hundred years??? "Have been said" not know the voices you heard and if you did so of course I cannot say that is not the truth about what you heard. But 100 years is such a megalomaniac statement, hope you realize would tell that in 1912 there were h-axis washing machines? Or at least washing machines were common goods to assesses such claims? -.- okay said it all!
Then I'm curious to know how many were the TL machines rated excellent,how many good.... and which maybe also.
It's also curious the fact that they took as sample just 2 H axis machines, do you think that if they said just good wash result, over the fact that these machine had poor spinning and a smaller load they would not have sold many of them then?
Would not have had any complaints from the westinghouse for this?
So of course they did put excellent washing as it was the only thing they could say as I hope you know, washing results may be easily be charged to the owner/user not a spinning or load as they're facts that cannot change due to them.......
But again, it would have been nice to know even the load they used to test TL and these h axis....of course it was different.
Also would be nice to know the detergent amount they used with those TL washers rated just good, as you know every model changes, for ex the GE's filter-flo used to have an outher tub much bigger than for example a maytag or a whirlppol so they needed a bigger amount of detergent, if they used the same amount for all machines here explained why some were just good....
This is just to say these guides are not that trusted.
Also, in the past it was used to produce h axis machines as capient as a TL so it was not because of the load size and nor for spinning performances, the preference for TL was something gained over time, you cannot take a guide of the 80s waving it as it were the Bible of the washers.
For example I've recently read here an english guide where TL agitator machines were all rated Very good (the higher votation)!
But I will not say it bears anything as I said these guides cannot be trusted!
I've already read many things from you with wich I don't absolutely agree, I'm not surprised to read even these....

Post# 616037 , Reply# 57   8/10/2012 at 11:35 (2,234 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
So werf' ich den Brand

Actually there were great big wooden Wash Wheels, as tumble action washers were known, in commercial laundries close to that long ago and, if tumbler washers did not give the best results, commercial laundries would not have kept using them.

Post# 616040 , Reply# 58   8/10/2012 at 11:52 (2,234 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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They were not common though among the "normal people"...that is what I mean't, actually in the 1912 existed even hand washing machine with oscillant basins also, that weren't much effective though as well....
And regarding the fact that in the commercial laundry they use mostly H axis it is because of the load sizes they wash, you can't make agitator washers as big as a H axis is it would be even difficult to take stuff inside the basket, Imagine how deep would be a washing tub.....they keep using h axis as I hope you know in the commercial laundry they do not give particularly about the cleaness into the washer, let me be more the laundromats( not self service ones) the stuff is preventively checked and stains are preventively removed before the machine wash by hand and by using products, and even after wash the stuff is meticolously checked and the stains that still remained are eventually hand removed after wash and or stuff is re-washed....
Regarding hotels etc is the same thing, also it is not a case that for sheets and stuff like this they use tons of bleach as stain removal is so poor using only detergent in those machines.....

Post# 616050 , Reply# 59   8/10/2012 at 12:27 (2,234 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I hate to be pushed this far, but you don't know everything. You don't even know that much. Don't give us this crap that hand washing was all that was available a century ago or your oscillating basins. They had the wooden wash wheels in commercial laundries in California going back at least to the beginning of the 20th century, perhaps before that. My parents saw them in old laundries owned by the same families that built them who were friends in the 1940s. I am only responding because I and many others refuse to be bullied by you just because you can type. Launderess stated that tumbler washers have been proven best for a century. You do not know laundry history, at least not in this country.

All of your double talk about the tests on washers by CU in the 1980s report is just that: double talk. By the 80s, detergents had improved and tumbler washer drums had increased in size. Actually the drums increased in size in the Westinghouse by 1960 or so. They gave results on a par with top loading agitator washers. Get over it already. Much as you would like to, you cannot rewrite history based on your beliefs (or on the performance of older European tumbler washers). We have enough people trying to do it in this country so we don't need you doing it from outside.

Post# 616062 , Reply# 60   8/10/2012 at 12:52 (2,234 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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Is always nice to read at how people misunderstand totally what I write second their beliefs, I told about families! Not commercial laundry! Get it?
Bullied? Ahahahah! OMG! Bullied! You just have to show the opposite!
And since the oscillanting basins sounds like are a my invention you might go to the link that I'm attaching!
I'm not trying to rewrite history for nothing and the fact that I'm writing from Italy does not mean I can't write nor that I do not know history of US or washers!
And not, I'm not basing anything about the performance on european washers, I mostly know american models rather than europeans and I'm speaking for US since I'm half american amd know alot of more about US than Italy even I'm born and raised here I spent much time in USA, also the way a tumbler washer wash is not a thing you can change even if I were in ASIA! I talk from the things I've learned over time, you say I do not know anything,okay no prob!I just say what I know and till now I didn't find a person who showed me that Ipm wrong or uncorrect! At this point I always wait what you have to say! I can do and write whatever I want as if I were in US as if in Italy!
And you of course can't stop me, nor with your pathetic attempt claiming that I do not know nothing since I'm in Italy!
And what's the matter with the drums of westinghouse? If they become bigger is nothing but another thing that "bears" toward what I said!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO kenmoreguy89's LINK

Post# 616065 , Reply# 61   8/10/2012 at 13:01 (2,234 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        

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I may be incorrect,however, Using today's reasoning from previous top load/agitator washers my converted customers used for all of their previous wash loads which has verried from " They don't allow you to open the doors to add clothes to the load." to They fill too high to put any more clothes in." and "They leak all over the floor" or " They rust out in a few years.", I know that the inpopularity combined with the initional higher prices compared to top loaders,and Westinghouse being the only manufacturer making them in the U.S.,Front loaders were not at all a daily rutine for most of the continental U.S.s consumers. However, the commercial laundries (laundromats) made a killing on them and that was due to the well educated owners of them who were more comonly aware of the major water savings,sewerage costs lowered and drainage to a minimum.That saved them a bundel not only on operating costs but taxes as well.How did they make up any more?? By keeping the final spin speed to a minimum so they could make more of a profit on the drying costs. The slower spin made the drying time longer. That was what gave them the idea to gey a few of the Bock extractors and they made even more money having them too. At that time around 1965-1989, you had many different comercial brands that used to make domestic models but shied away when the demand plumitted back in the mid 60's. There was Dexter, Philco-Bendix, Speed Queen, Zanussi, FRIGIDAIRE, Westinghouse, Easy, Blackstone, Ald Wash, Norge,Whirlpool, Kelvinator, and Huebsch.Huebsch was the first comercial dryer that had a speed control for the tumble and a whopping 50 pound capacity.They are still in business and are with Speed Queen.SOOO what I would tell my customers was that if the comercial laundries use them and can charge a lot more per washload knowing they'll be making quite a bit more and have fewer repairs then the competitors with top loaders that 99.9% of the users overload and use too much detergent in,
there must be something they know more about with them then most consumers do.Once they listened and it made sense to them, they'd convert and I can easily say that more then 75% of them who took my advice and would call me or walk in with any questions or problems,still have them. Some have upgraded and some still have the originals. My Aunt Kathy and Uncle Alvin had the Frigidaire Gallery stacked set and I just replaced it(along with their range,refrigerator and dishwasher I replaced with a Maypool set all in black) with a nice LG steam pare in stainless steel. The F's were almost 20 years old and NEVER repaired. They sold them on Craigs List for $650!! Not a scratch,dent,mildew or rust anywhere.

Post# 616073 , Reply# 62   8/10/2012 at 13:17 (2,234 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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Yep efficiency on costs of H axis washers also played a very important role on commercial laundries...even coin laundromats of course.
Forgot to mention it.....

Post# 616102 , Reply# 63   8/10/2012 at 14:49 (2,234 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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Uhhmm and this is only for record, not to show anything to anyone, I don't need that! But rather since it would be a great help for kbailey (if you're still tuned) here I finally found again a link I visited time ago regarding the early washers and a museum, the website is the one from which the first link was took from (didn't notice of it), and it is about a great washing machine museum...

CLICK HERE TO GO TO kenmoreguy89's LINK

Post# 616103 , Reply# 64   8/10/2012 at 14:51 (2,234 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        

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lee maxwell's washing machine museum:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO kenmoreguy89's LINK

Post# 616139 , Reply# 65   8/10/2012 at 16:58 (2,233 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
"Megalomaniac"? "Megalomaniac "?

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Watch it pal, them's fighting words!

Have several vintage commercial and domestic laundry manuals from circa 1900's through 1930's and they all in one form or another state what we could consider H-axis washing machines gave better cleaning performance than top loaders with central beaters, suction cups or any of the now long gone other methods of agitation.

Wringer washing machines with central beaters were actually one of the few top loaders to give good results. However much of that lies in the fact one removes laundry from the tub and wrings it into another, thus leaving soils, soap, and other muck behind in the water. OTOH top loading washers that drained water through the bottom of the tub and hence strained it through the wash gave poor results unless the laundry was rinsed several times.

Since the idea of modern commercial laundries began with machines powered first by steam then electric motors the main design for washing machines has been the H-Axis washer. The tubs may have been made of wood and the machines didn't extract but that is another matter.

Post# 616163 , Reply# 66   8/10/2012 at 19:01 (2,233 days old) by kenmoreguy89 (Valenza)        
Well if really so I would retrieve my "charges " to

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Ok since I really do not know the real existence and cannot see these phantom manuals, I just have to say will be.... of course would be nice to see them.....maybe next time I get in NYC we could take a coffee and you could show me these manuals, what you think? Laundress? I would offer the coffee of course! :)
Anyway I think everything lies in the machines given in those manuals, it would be nice to see which were those machines and especially the ones that we could consider "H axis" and how they worked, so of course the agitator models took as sample, and of course also the very doubtful statements about being better....
They anyway were machines of the 1900...
Please tell me if I'm wrong but sounds like you said that the good wash of the central beater ones lies thanks to the wringer and "rinses"? I'm right?
Well if so...I just have no words with wich I could go ahead with you, really, it would really mean I'm only loosing time here. As I'm starting to think I'm doing at times....

Anyway..... in this thread and website I've read every sort of idea and opinion, also very laughable statements at times......
There's who say agitators washers are better, there's who say h axis are better, there's who say they're the same thing.....
Well what to say at this point......I don'think that americans would have looked or liked and so seeked for poorer machines rather than for better machines in terms of cleaning, it would be like saying that americans didn't understand anything in the past about clean....... I don't think so!
As I don't think they would not have looked for machines that costs less to run if they were as good or even better.
I mean if those h axis were better as you say so why they didn't caught on like in europe for example (where h axis were mostly preferred for the littlest consumption rather than for cleaning)?
Why they didn't become the only type since the early days?
I mean the strongest and more advanced country of the world where the majority have been uneffective washing machines is a thing that is a little a non-sense, don't you think?
Anyway, we have already turned this disccussion too much "off topic"......

This post was last edited 08/10/2012 at 19:59
Post# 617670 , Reply# 67   8/16/2012 at 20:22 (2,227 days old) by e2l-arry (LAKEWOOD COLORADO)        

They didn't hold as much, they vibrated like hell in the spin cycle and they leak. A neighbors Laundromat leaked so bad there were puddles of water all over the basement on wash day. That was the slant model. Then I had friends that bought the stacked set in the late 70's. After 4 years that one leaked. They were always trying to patch the baffle between the tub and the door to no avail. This one was in a utility room on the main floor so they had to get rid of it. I think they just got an overall bad reputation and people stopped buying them.

Post# 861515 , Reply# 68   1/12/2016 at 22:18 (983 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Killeen tx USA)        
I believe

I believe that front loading washers and HE detergents made a comeback in the late '90's.

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