Thread Number: 73442  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Video of Dexter WCA20/Visit to Wash basket Laundromat
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Post# 969777   11/25/2017 at 01:26 (300 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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My aunt lives in the East Lansing area and every year we go to her house for Thanksgiving. Charlotte is only about 40 minutes from her house thus I convinced my mother and we took a trip there. We took some of my aunt's rugs to wash, of which I recorded most of the cycle. While others went shopping on Black Friday, I went washing long distance!

Mark(bendixmark) has mentioned that these Dexter washers are close to being duos inside. The owner of the laundromat, Gary, wasn't in at the time, it seems as though he comes at beginning and end of day to open and close shop and the laundromat is otherwise unattended - eccept for cameras.

I hope everyone finds this footage interesting. I pre-apoligize for any issues with the camera work and/or inaccuracies.

Post# 969799 , Reply# 1   11/25/2017 at 04:31 (300 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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Thanks for a great video! I see there is a cycle selector with a small dial. Can you set the dial yourself or does it need some kind of key from the owner? The spinspeed seems rather low, do you know what that speed is?

Those Dexters sure are nice sturdy machines!

Post# 969826 , Reply# 2   11/25/2017 at 07:46 (300 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        
The Wash Basket

Cool! I bought my Dexter from Gary. Did you see the sign on the wall?I gave him that I had it made at the Topsfield fair.That laundry has been in business since 1947 and was originally an all boltdown bendix Laundromat.Those machines he has are all gravity drain but he said there is a conversion kit to make it have a pump but I have been unable to locate that so far.He also told me he is replacing all these machines if anybody wants one.I love mine and I haven't even run it yet. In the 80s and 90s these machines were commonplace in Laundromats around here and I used to go use them all the time just for the fun of it but now they are all gone.How awful.

Post# 969854 , Reply# 3   11/25/2017 at 11:43 (300 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        
Cycle selector

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No key required. It is just a sturdy METAL knob!

Mark, I was unsure of what sign you meant? Gary has many signs, posters, and rule sheets. I would have done a walk through tour, but other customers arrived and I didn't want to look stranger than I already did. When I started filming, I was thr only person there, but after the cycle completed, there was both a family and an elderly gentleman that I didn't want to frighten.

Post# 969859 , Reply# 4   11/25/2017 at 12:21 (300 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        

I had a hand carved sign made for him at the Bottomsfield Fair (It is actually the Topsfield fair but I call it that because its in a field at the bottom of a hill,the countrys oldest aggravated agricultural fair to be exact) because he was so helpful that said The Wash Basket Laundry est. 1947 but I don't know if it is there or in his house but he was quite pleased with it. My future home The Hotel Costa Plente has a whole bunch of those signs.

Post# 969866 , Reply# 5   11/25/2017 at 13:08 (300 days old) by jeff_adelphi (Adelphi, Maryland, USA)        
Some photos of my Philco-Bendix washer,

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Photos 1 thru 9,   I found this new in the box several years ago.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO jeff_adelphi's LINK

Post# 969878 , Reply# 6   11/25/2017 at 13:46 (299 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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That machine is very nice! These certainly seem well built, I wonder how the reliability compares to a modern commercial front load automatic washer-extractor?

Jeff, how does one go about bolting a machine like that down? How long of bolts, etc?

I may just try and buy one of those machines from Gary. Even If I cannnot find a pump kit I am thinking I could wire an electric washer pump to the same wires as the drain valve solenoid.

Post# 969943 , Reply# 7   11/25/2017 at 17:04 (299 days old) by jeff_adelphi (Adelphi, Maryland, USA)        

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My washer is bolted down to the concrete floor with 3/8" lag bolts about 4" long into lead shields. I think it would be easy to install an electric pump, I thought about doing it when I had a pump seal leak, but was able to find a new seal and repair it.

Post# 969965 , Reply# 8   11/25/2017 at 20:35 (299 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        
Thank you Mr. Lefever,

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One more question, how are these machines for washability? The large drum and water amount plus the addition of a prewash would suggest that they clean and rinse well, but those are just assumptions. My one rug load wasn't much of a test.

Post# 970023 , Reply# 9   11/26/2017 at 04:05 (299 days old) by gorenje (Slovenia)        

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Thank you Richard for posting this video!

Very very cool machines indeed.
You mentioned a spray rinse in the video. Can you explain me some more about it. Is it more a suds and tube rinse to flush the dirt from the prewash?



Post# 970024 , Reply# 10   11/26/2017 at 04:25 (299 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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I would have to guess that you are probably right. Probably also helps to make sure that the wash fill has the hottest water available as it flushes the lines after they cooled during the prewash. Don't trust me on this though, I'm certainly not the expert. What is your view on the post prewash spray rinse, Jeff? You know more than I do.

Post# 970081 , Reply# 11   11/26/2017 at 11:42 (299 days old) by jeff_adelphi (Adelphi, Maryland, USA)        

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My washer cycle is, Prewash, Wash, Spray rinse, 200 RPM spin, Rinse, 200 RPM spin, Rinse, 400 RPM spin. Total cycle time is about 25 min. The washer cleans very well, but the spin speed is low. I'm lucky to have a Bock extractor that I always use.

Post# 970134 , Reply# 12   11/26/2017 at 18:12 (298 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        

One thing that is nice about that machine is it is essentially a duo minus the dry but without the weight.My Dexter is relatively light compared to my 58 bendix duo,oh my god is that machine heavy when the day comes to move that into the next room I will need four strong dudes. All this talk of Dexters is getting me excited about building my Laundromat.Ohhh Ive got to get busy busy busy!

Post# 970143 , Reply# 13   11/26/2017 at 19:09 (298 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

I've already saved your YT video to my hard drive.

As for that Philco Bendix, it's past stunning. And in that color!

I've always had a perverse interest in commercial vs. residential items, whether it's the machines discussed here, or food mixers, or large appliances, etc. I always bought pro-level cameras incl. view cameras for the same reason. There's just something special about products where function outweighs fashion.

Post# 970147 , Reply# 14   11/26/2017 at 19:57 (298 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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washers always seem to be no-nonsense machines even the newer WP VMW commercial TL machines, they dispense with the auto load sense routine.

These old commercial machines have a "its going to go through the cycle no matter what" mentality, when the solenoid latches, its going to spin, no ifs or buts about it.

Post# 970148 , Reply# 15   11/26/2017 at 20:02 (298 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

I noticed on the front of this Dexter that there was a sticker stating not to open the door while the drum was in motion.

Did/do these machines not have a positive lock when they start like both of my residential FL's did?

Post# 970157 , Reply# 16   11/26/2017 at 20:46 (298 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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I'm not completely sure, shall we say I didn't test that feature! There is a good chance that there isn't a lock as when I opened the door of the machine the latching mechanism didn't look as though it could support a lock.

Let the others chime in though, they're the experts.

Post# 970241 , Reply# 17   11/27/2017 at 10:49 (298 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        
Another video

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Thanks for the video Richard!   When that shifts into the high(-er) speed, it sounds exactly like at Duomatic when it shifts into high-speed spin.


Not trying to steal any of your thunder Richard, but here's a short video of Jeff's Philco/Bendix commercial washer and American Motex extractor (at nearly 1800 rpm!) mentioned above.




This post was last edited 11/27/2017 at 11:05

Post# 970317 , Reply# 18   11/27/2017 at 20:59 (297 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        

Hey Richard, just wanted to thank you for posting that video I watch it over and over again.Brings back happy memories of 30 years ago years ago visiting Laundromats that had those machines and of a time before the world and my life turned to sh**. That machine has a simple majestic beauty.How is that for crazy talk? People tell me that all the time.Boneheads. I cant think of a better way to spend a thanksgiving afternoon.When I bought my washer Gary sold me a stand to go with it short money freshly painted.What service. I noticed from your profile you aren't even 18 yet I am sure some of my fellow discussomatrats (speak for yourself) would like to know how you got interested in these machines as they are well before your time.

Post# 970332 , Reply# 19   11/28/2017 at 00:06 (297 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        
How I got interested...

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As I have mentioned on this forum many times and in real life, I'm autistic. Hence my varied and obscure interests(vintage Vacuums, vintage snow blowers, vintage mowers(push and riding), old cadillacs, vintage electronics, in addition to washers). When I was very little, someone told me how wash was done by hand, scrub board and wringer to be precise. All I could ask for was a washboard and wringer. I got the washboard when I was maybe 4, my parents however couldn't find a wringer and I only got one much, much later.

I then heard of old wringer washers and my parents found one, a 1950s SQ with SS tub and the unpainted ramps up to the wringers. I got that when I was maybe 6 or 7. I had it for a while. I made a mistake a few years later and it was broke. I had 1/2 of SQ lint filter attachment(the strainer basket) and was using the drain pump as a recirculation device. The hose fell when I was out of the room and the machine pumped out upon the floor and the clothes jammed the agitator and the transmission seized. I replaced it with one of those 1990s Saudi made SQs and that thing was a piece of junk. The wringer kept tripping the release and the machine leaked. I subsequently found a Maytag N2L but it was so far gone that I couldn't even try it; nothing engaged properly.

Automatic machines are a complete and separate memory in my mind. Some of the what I just wrote was happening whilst what I am about to write occurred; namely the destruction of the first SQ, ownership of the second SQ and the MT.

When I was 9 or 10, I was searching Craigslist one day and I found an advert for a "Wonder Washer"(one of those buckets with a impeller at the bottom). The ad mentioned that one could be seen in operation on YouTube. At that time I had NEVER heard of YouTube(I had never been too much interested in tech; too modern) and I looked up the video.(Below is a link to the first video I ever watched on YT) I also saw the competing "Wonder Wash". My mom was new to YouTube too and told me to look up her Westinghouse "How Dry I Am" dryer and we found Lee Maxwell's demonstration of his. I subsequently watched most of the videos documenting Maxwell's museum. I just happened to stumble onto Ben's(swestoyz)video of his 1952 Unimatic. In the suggestions I found Robert's(Unimatic1140) "The Washers We Love and More" and I was hooked. I intended to make a 10 year anniversary thread about his video but forgot. After finding that video, I found this site but not the forum side. I spent hours reading the old Consumer Reports that used to be posted here and religiously watched the POD.

I never had the opportunity to acquire a vintage automatic until this year with My MT A207 and Duomatic.

As for what my parents owned, until I was 6 my parents had a stacked Kenmore DD unit. They replaced it with the worst washer ever in my opinion, a Chinese made GE FL set. That thing lasted only 4 years until it had a bearing failure and was cristened unrepairable by a service tech. It was replaced with a Roper(WP) DD that was one speed. It was gotten rid of about 1.5 years ago when the second fill flume(one piece assembly w/ ATC) sprung a leak. We got a SQ AWN432 to replace it. I signed up as a member 4 years ago but never posted until last year.

To summarize I credit my interest as it stands now to you, the fine members of AW who posted videos of your machines. Does that mean I can blame you guys for the bullying I received for this ridiculous interest too? Just Kidding!!!

On to a bit of news. I called Gary again earlier and he agreed to sell me a machine for $250.00. He is going to call me back with the pump part number tomorrow. I'll post it here for you then.

Also, you're welcome, it was a pleasure to make the video. So much more fun than Black Friday shopping to me.


Post# 970365 , Reply# 20   11/28/2017 at 08:55 (297 days old) by jeff_adelphi (Adelphi, Maryland, USA)        
Door lock ?

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My Philco-Bendix washer does lock the door during the cycle.

Post# 970387 , Reply# 21   11/28/2017 at 11:30 (297 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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Thanks, I knew someone would know for sure.

Post# 970413 , Reply# 22   11/28/2017 at 16:20 (296 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        

Would that pump number be for the conversion?That is a number I would love to have. I think its great you are buying one of the dexters.They are very rare I have only seen one on here one other time and I think that was 2010.To find one that isn't wrecked and in need of serious repair is a major score. you have autism?I have Aspergers(Its why Im so strange) I also collect vintage electronics and console televisions and vcrs from the 80s. Did you say you have a duomatic?What do you have? I have a 1958.Dont know if you saw the cbs morning news All Washed Up video but that is me watching Jon Charles duo the same one I have.(his works) I think you will fit right in here.

Post# 970421 , Reply# 23   11/28/2017 at 17:05 (296 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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What Duo I have, you posted in my thread about it a while ago. 1954, missing that blasted solenoid still. I'll persevere though.

Here is the link to it:

To be more precise, it is Asperger's but I usually tend to say autistic though.

Post# 970803 , Reply# 24   11/30/2017 at 15:06 (294 days old) by Speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        
Something came in the mail today.

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I didnít realize what you meant with how helpful Gary was until this came in the mail today. Iím in shock as I did not even give him my address he went through the effort to look it up, make a copy of his service manual, and send it to me. I donít know how in the world I could ever repay him. I have not even officially bought the machine from him yet.

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Post# 970814 , Reply# 25   11/30/2017 at 16:32 (294 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        

That is the pump assembly he gave me that too but he said there was an actual kit to retrofit a gravity machine like mine to a pump machine that is what I don't have the answer to. I had forgotten you had the duo that needs the bracket. I got my 1970 lady Kenmore from Revvinkevin. when I get a chance I will compare my 58 duo and dexter to see if that bracket is the same. Would still like to see pictures and here the back story. How did you get it home? I use Transit Systems,they just brought me my 1950 boltdown Westinghouse.

Post# 970846 , Reply# 26   11/30/2017 at 19:52 (294 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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For the bendix I used a private courier who Kevin knew that giving a delivery to Ben Swestka at the time. Can't give specifics as they don't want advertisement currently. Being only 100 miles from Gary, I intend to pick up the dexter personally.

No need for a comparison unfortunately as mine is before the slight 1956 transmission redesign. Ben said that the parts likely won't fit anyway. As for pictures I will have to relocate the bendix to our insulated shed first, my father's orders. He doesn't want stuff pileing up in the garage. Wacky hobbies means alot of stuff brought home and he isn't the biggest fan of that. To convince him to let me buy the Dexter, I agreed to sell my Maytag.

Post# 971187 , Reply# 27   12/2/2017 at 20:06 (292 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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I leave tomorrow to pick up the Dexter. Will create a new thread when appropriate.

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