Thread Number: 72976  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Most common brand of vintage washing machines
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Post# 964079   10/23/2017 at 21:58 (336 days old) by Maytag85 (SoCal )        

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Out of all the brands of Maytag, Whirlpool, Kenmore, Frigidaire, Westinghouse, GE, Speed Queen, Norge, and many others, which is the most common?

Post# 964080 , Reply# 1   10/23/2017 at 22:03 (336 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I would say

Kenmore , at least in NC.

Post# 964082 , Reply# 2   10/23/2017 at 22:24 (336 days old) by Washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        

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Not sure what you mean by "most common." You mean back in the day, or now? I would venture to agree with Norgeway that Kenmore probably most common then. Back in the early-mid '70s in Northern California where I was raised, my little cul-de-sac had a glorious potpourri of household machines: we had a Wards Signature machine, neighbors around us had Whirlpool, GE, Kenmore, Frigidaire. Great fun hanging out with friends taking a sneak peek into each one!

Post# 964089 , Reply# 3   10/23/2017 at 23:23 (336 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
Growing Up

In the little city where I grew up in the sixties, the middle and upper middle class people bought either GE or Frigidaire because that's what our local appliance dealers sold. The less fortunate bought Kenmore because Sears let them buy on time.

Post# 964091 , Reply# 4   10/23/2017 at 23:27 (336 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
In my home town

The rich folks bought Frigidaire and Westinghouse.

Post# 964092 , Reply# 5   10/23/2017 at 23:31 (336 days old) by agiflow2 ()        

I saw mostly Kenmores in the 70s when I was a kid. Probably followed by GE and Hotpoint. Saw several Norge and Norge made machines also. Only saw a few Whirlpools but I would say overall Kenmore was king.

Post# 964102 , Reply# 6   10/24/2017 at 04:05 (336 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Most of my the people in my neighborhood down home had Maytags, but two had Whirlpools and one had GE. 

Post# 964109 , Reply# 7   10/24/2017 at 06:34 (335 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

There were a lot of Kenmore's around Atlanta back in the day. Poor people bought whatever brand they could get on account. Smart people (especially with large families) bought the most they could get for their money. Kenmore was known for offering a lot of features for the money.

The Sears "Revolving Credit" made it easy to buy there. Atlanta Gas Light sold Maytag. Lots of poor people bought them because Atlanta Gas Light would just put it on their gas bill and they could pay $1 a month for years if they wanted to. That made both Atlanta Gas Light and Maytag a lot of good friends.

Mom and Pop stores sold TONS of Frigidaires----same story----flexible payment plans.

Rich's Department store sold GE. Same story.

When families were large and money was tight it was always the best financing that closed the deal.

There were also Kelvinators, Speed Queens, Norges, Philco-Bendix, Westinghouse and Whirlpools around, and I assume the best deals came from the mom and pop stores.

Post# 964111 , Reply# 8   10/24/2017 at 06:44 (335 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
Vintage washer brands

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Popularity of brands seemed to be a highly regional thing, especially up here in Canada.   In rural areas, it would depend on the brand carried by the nearest appliance dealer - there were catalog stores here but it wasn't common for a rural homeowner to buy a washer or dryer from the Simpson-Sears or Eatons catalog! 


Inglis (Whirlpool machines built in Canada under license) were very popular in most rural locations here in La Belle Province; in the greater Montreal area, there were lots of Viking (sold by Eatons) or Kenmore (sold by Simpsons-Sears) because there were retail stores.   This held true until the mid-70s when there seemed to be a surge in the popularity of Maytag laundry machines.   But there were at least some Frigidaire, GE, and Westinghouse machines out there - I've found Canadian examples of all three brands over the years....



Post# 964113 , Reply# 9   10/24/2017 at 06:49 (335 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Whirlpool was leader in my birth-town since that was the local dealer.  Western Auto / Catalina probably was second for a while.  There was Easy and Philco for a brief time, only ever saw one of each.  Anything else had to be bought out-of-town, or came along with move-ins.  The next town west (county seat) had Westinghouse & Frigidaire & Maytag dealers (and a Sears catalog store). I knew a couple local people with Westy SpaceMates (stacked) but never saw any Westy TLs or Frigidaires.  The next big town west had a large Sears store.

The next town east had Sears/Kenmore (small store, later reduced to a catalog store, now long-gone), GE, Maytag, & Frigidaire.  Someone there handled Kelvinator for a brief time in the 1960s.

Post# 964114 , Reply# 10   10/24/2017 at 07:14 (335 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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many places had in-store credit for appliances....

and back in the day, 50's and 60' was reputation of sales and could buy a Frigidaire, but if a dealer didn't stand behind it, that brand and the dealer was shot down....

the Gas and Electric Company used to finance appliances they sponsored....

for the price of most Maytag or Speed Queen washers alone, you could get a nicely featured Washer and Dryer from Sears/Kenmore/Whirlpool or a GE FilterFlo

Maytag wringers were dominate in the field of washers.....yet when the Automatics came out, it was a gamble in the beginning to see if they lived up to the 'Dependable' name.....

but that was with any machine.....who had the better built mouse trap!

Post# 964124 , Reply# 11   10/24/2017 at 08:09 (335 days old) by agiflow2 ()        

What would many here say . After Maytag, who would be the most dependable long lived washers ?

Post# 964128 , Reply# 12   10/24/2017 at 08:54 (335 days old) by classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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Gordon said to me once that he had an 80s Sears Catalog touting that Kenmore had been the top selling washer for over 30 years. I'm sure Sears, being the first to offer credit had something to do with this. It seems to me if you find an pre-80s washer/dryer around here it tends to be a Kenmore or a Maytag... at least around here.

Post# 964129 , Reply# 13   10/24/2017 at 08:56 (335 days old) by lesto (Atlanta)        

When I was growing up in Atlanta in the 60's and 70's, the two most common brands were Kenmore and GE. Lower income families bought Kenmore because of Sears easy credit plan and middle to upper income families bought GE because Rich's Department Store, the premier store in Atlanta, was the biggest GE dealer around.

Post# 964130 , Reply# 14   10/24/2017 at 09:07 (335 days old) by lesto (Atlanta)        

Next to Kenmore and GE, there were also quite a few Maytags and Frigidaires around Atlanta because the Georgia Power appliance stores sold those two brands.

Post# 964132 , Reply# 15   10/24/2017 at 09:42 (335 days old) by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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Where I came from which is suburban Pittsburgh I noticed a lot of Maytag washers and dryers both of my Grandmothers and mom had them. In the neighborhood too, second would be kenmore and whirlpools.

Post# 964133 , Reply# 16   10/24/2017 at 09:54 (335 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

My mom had a pair of 1958 GE's. Our fridge was GE as well. DW (installed 1962) was KitchenAid, as was the garbage disposal.

Our somewhat more prosperous neighbors owned a Maytag pair.

My aunt on the East Coast bought her home (in which she still lives) in 1956. The original washer (don't know the brand) lasted about eight years. The second washer, purchased 1964, was a Maytag, on the advice of another aunt. That machine lasted 43 years. She finally had to replace it in 2007 because the repair service could no longer locate replacement parts for it.

Post# 964134 , Reply# 17   10/24/2017 at 10:05 (335 days old) by abcomatic (Bradford, Illinois)        

In the 50's and 60's there were several mom and pop stores. Gambles,Sears and Wards were the stores that were popular. We had a Gambles Coronado, crap but they had "Come on Deals," as my dad called which my mom fell for. The neighbor's had a GE from Duff's Appliance store. We had the Coronado from Gambles as did the neighbor behind us. Move in neighbors right next to us has Westinghouse spacemates. The seal broke on the door and breaking waves dashed high, she then got a Kenmore set in coppertone.
My aunt had a Hamilton and it didnt last long so out it went. I loved going to all of the appliance stores, and look around.

Post# 964138 , Reply# 18   10/24/2017 at 11:14 (335 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
I'd be very surprised if it wasn't Kenmore

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I think Kenmores would have been the top selling washing machines in the '60's, '70's and '80's before the HE machines hit the market and even then I wouldn't be surprised if they remained in the top spot before Sears stores started to dwindle.

Post# 964141 , Reply# 19   10/24/2017 at 11:26 (335 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

Hands down, the MOST popular washing machines and dryers EVER made from the 60's thru the 90's were definitely Kenmore. They were in more homes than any other machines. There were once upon a time, Sears stores everywhere and with the generous discounts and sales they continually had, the prices were nearly impossible to beat for what you got. People who bought them usually were always repeat customers and when they required a new one, they bought another Kenmore. Even after they were priced similar to other machines this continued because people were used to buying Kenmore. They always were a fairly reliable brand that did a good job too.

Post# 964169 , Reply# 20   10/24/2017 at 17:35 (335 days old) by Mrsalvo (New Braunfels Texas)        

Growing up in the military, the bases provided appliances on base housing. Frigidaire, Westinghouse, GE, Hotpoint, and Norge are what I remember seeing in the neighbors houses, never a Kenmore and Whirlpool. My aunts had Kenmore and T/L Westinghouse with a couple of Maytags here and there, this was in the Kansas City, Missouri. My mothers side of the family was whatever Western Auto sold in Northern Arkansas, lots of Maytag wringers too.

Post# 964193 , Reply# 21   10/24/2017 at 21:01 (335 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

I used to enjoy the occasional Bradford or "Whizard" that I would come across. On old friend's grandparents had a Wizard solid-tub that lasted forever.

Funny how Whirlpool's were not common in Atlanta until the mid-sixties. I think the first one I ever saw was at Sharpe' Appliance over in Little Five Points. They were a big Frigidaire dealer.
When the K-Mart on Roswell Rd. Opened in the late sixties they had a big Whirlpool promo. Quite a number of my parents friends bought them.
As K-Marts continued to open stores around town Whirlpool appliances began to be commonplace. They must have been serious competition with Sears by then.
I knew they were pushing the upper end models because it was rare to se a Bol. They were always imperials or supremes.

Post# 964200 , Reply# 22   10/24/2017 at 22:20 (335 days old) by 114jwh (Vancouver)        
The West Coast in Canada......

In the 70's & 80's I would say hands down Inglis.....those machines with slanted control panels seemed to be absolutely everywhere. The older ones had an olive green control panel which then transitioned into a light bronze metallic, to woodgrain, to black and finally white into the 90's. 2nd? Lots of Viking (GE made) in this timeframe so that would be my guess...

In the late 80's and into the 2000's it was GE. The Vancouver area exploded with new condo builds and GE must have had some spectacular builder pricing as they were in every one of them. They would often put a full size GE washer and a stackable GE dryer in a closet to save space.

As to prior to the 70's, I'm not too sure. I would guess there were lots of Viking machines as you often still see Viking wringer washers for sale (more than any other wringer), rarely any automatics though. I think Canadians hung onto the wringer washer concept longer than our neighbors in the US.

Kenmore was always prevalent too but I wouldn't say they were the most common. You would also see Maytag, Westinghouse and other Camco machines of various branding (Moffat, Baycrest/Beaumark, McClary) and sometimes Speed Queen on occasion. To be honest though, I don't think I've ever actually seen a GM built Frigidaire washer/dryer in my life. Lots of 50's Frigidaire fridges and stoves but never remember any washers or dryers (other than in collections).

Post# 964205 , Reply# 23   10/24/2017 at 23:41 (335 days old) by losangeles (Muscle Shoals, AL 35661)        
In Huntsville, AL

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I grew up in the 60's.  My neighborhood was fairly middle class but no predominate washing machine brand.  There were two unimatics, one Westinghouse FL, 2 Maytags, 1 Easy TL and a Philco-Bendix combo.  My mother and a neighbor had the only Kenmores.  My mothers first Kenmore that I cut my automatic teeth on finally gave up the ghost when I was 9.  She ordered a new Kenmore but it was going to have to be ordered and she did not want to wait.  She bought a Westinghouse Combo.  BIG MISTAKE.  She hated everything about it.  When Sears started carrying Kenmores in house, the Westinghouse hit the street.  I hated to see it go.  I loved watching it.  And since I was short for my age, I did not have to stand on a box to watch it go thru a cycle.

Post# 964219 , Reply# 24   10/25/2017 at 06:27 (334 days old) by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

On the east coast of Canada it's quite similar to what James said. LOTS of Inglis and Kenmore products out here. GE and their other brands like Viking and Beaumark were a real runner up in terms of popularity. Maytags are here, kinda rare though.

GE dishwashers were quite popular in the 80s here.

Post# 964222 , Reply# 25   10/25/2017 at 06:43 (334 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Well, next to the "Big K", I have seen a lot of Whirlpools in my time--might I say, if it's not just "near the top" then it was the top", along w/ GE...

Along with a few odd-balls, such as Norge's, Westinghouse's and Frigidaire's... Even Maytags were still a bit of a minority... --But that very latter, up and coming...

I would bet there had to be some time there had to a "Kenmore period of lull", just for the brand to be revived--and in the laundry room, at that...

The early-to-mid-'70's would come to mind, not that I see a lot of those "underdogs" in use today... Just something those many Kenmores coming back--and Maytags replaced...

-- Dave

Post# 964432 , Reply# 26   10/26/2017 at 19:27 (333 days old) by angus (Fairfield, CT.)        

In Fairfield, lots of Maytags since there were two small dealers - one was exclusively Maytag and the other sold mostly Maytag. Some Whirlpool, a few GE and Kenmore but not much else. A rogue Norge, Philco (two separate friends had fathers that worked for two separate Firestone Stores - which was the main Philco dealer in our area) or Westinghouse might have popped up- but no Frigidaire, Hotpoint, Speed Queen, Blackstone, Hamilton, Kelvinator or anything like that. Also never any colors - always white since most washers were in damp unfinished basements, so why bother with color?

Post# 964464 , Reply# 27   10/27/2017 at 04:13 (333 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Its funny...

I guess it depended on WHERE you lived as to what was sold and thought of as being cheap or TOL, In my hometown of Lenoir NC,Frigidaire was ALWAYS in the high dollar houses, Maytags were also considered good, but on cotton mill hill, or the cheaper neighborhoods, EVERYONE had GE stuff, so I always thought GE was a cheap product...LOL I think it was because of the dealer, Shaws and OP Lutz were Frigidaire dealers, and Shaws had THE MOST EXPENSIVE furniture and accessories in Lenoir, Second would have been Bernhardt Seagle Hardware, they sold Westinghouse and Amana, Shields sold Kelvinator and Maytag, Duke power and WB Lindsey sold Hotpoint,Crowells and Home Electric sold GE, Crowells probably sold more appliances than any one else, they had a small store on North Main Street that defied description...cramped and small, wood floors in the front DIRT in the back, but your money went a LONG way with George Crowell, a fine guy who everyone trusted and who ran credit never signed anything, you just told George what you wanted, he delivered it and you paid what you could every month..

Post# 964539 , Reply# 28   10/27/2017 at 13:59 (332 days old) by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

Is this a North American-only thread, or are UK/European contributions welcomed too?

Post# 964572 , Reply# 29   10/27/2017 at 17:50 (332 days old) by agiflow2 ()        

We would love to hear what brands are most popular in UK/Europe ! Fire away !

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