Thread Number: 73726  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
Today's Dishwasher POD
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Post# 973740   12/15/2017 at 07:02 (308 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

I do apologize if this has been answered before; I searched and didn't see one.

Why exactly did dishwasher makers stop making top loaders? It seems they'd be so much easier to seal from water; whether it's better to bend over to load one as opposed to bending over to load a front opening, I'm not so sure.

Was it solely due to ease of loading? Of course, the old videos from distant past make it look like loading was easy but that doesn't mean anything on sales videos.

And it appears that at least some manufacturers actually sold both at the same time...

Post# 973750 , Reply# 1   12/15/2017 at 07:54 (308 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

turquoisedude's profile picture

Top-loading dishwashers were most likely phased out for the classic corporate reason - demand fell and it was no longer cost-effective to make them.  


Just going out on a limb here, but I would guess that most folks found a front-loader was easier to deal with and that many kitchens from the late 50s onward had or had the space for a standard 24-inch wide front loader.   I would also guess that as multi-level wash systems evolved, a top-load design was awkward with a full-size upper rack wash arm (I had an Inglis/Whirlpool top loader that had such a system and I found it harder to load than my one-arm-wonder Whirlpool!)


The top-loader was good solution for a narrow kitchen, though and I personally like the top load style because any liquids or stuff left in cups or on plates will fall down into the tub bottom.


Several manufacturers did indeed offer both front-load and top-load dishwashers - but most top-loaders were portable units.  GE, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag and D&M (who made Kenmore and other brands until the 80s) were examples.   GE phased out their built-in version of a top-load dishwasher by 1963, however Westinghouse offered a built-in top-load unit for longer (not sure what year they dropped the design).  Top-loaders seemed to disappear altogether by the early 70s.   Oddly enough, KitchenAid offered a built-in top-loading dishwasher called the Brivia in the early 00's - it looks as if it was marketed as a second, utility dishwasher for preparation items or auxillary kitchens.  And yes, I admit I planned for one in my kitchen in Ogden, but by the time I got around to doing those renovations the machine had been discontinued (they were not very good performers apparently).  


The machine in today's POD was a classic overenGinEering example from the folks in Appliance Park - a 30-inch wide dishwasher may have seemed like a good idea at the time (more space for dishes, bowls, pots and pans) but I can't imagine a single bow-tie impeller getting enough water into the corner of the upper rack.  I believe GE compensated by using more water.    Flaws aside, if I ever had the chance to get one of these GE's, I'd get it!!  

Post# 973751 , Reply# 2   12/15/2017 at 07:59 (308 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        

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Some manufacturers did sell both at the same time but not for long. I think both the public and rating organizations declared that front loaders were easier to load and unload.


The change affected built-ins first because there was a balance problem (that was addressed quickly) with front-loading portables, and top-loading portables took up a little less space in tight kitchens, but my the mid-Seventies Top Loaders were a thing of the past.

Post# 973752 , Reply# 3   12/15/2017 at 08:00 (308 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
Thanks, Dude!

I continue to learn so much on here from most of you.

Post# 973774 , Reply# 4   12/15/2017 at 10:57 (308 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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TurquoiseDude:  Top-loaders seemed to disappear altogether by the early 70s. Oddly enough, KitchenAid offered a built-in top-loading dishwasher called the Brivia in the early 00's ...
The Briva was a kitchen double-sink unit with one side also serving as a small dishwasher so it's technically a built-in but not quite in the traditional sense.  :-)  Seems it was available in small or large sink bowl on either the left or right side (assuming a couple of these pics aren't reversed).

There's also the DD which dates to 1997 (I think) on the US market and is available in a 36"-wide version.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 5         View Full Size
Post# 973779 , Reply# 5   12/15/2017 at 11:08 (308 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
I'd Forgotten About That!

I looked at one of those in Houston but decided I needed that half of my sink--and would have to cover up the hole left by my KA Superba.

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