Thread Number: 73925  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Vintage Laundromat Photos
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Post# 976597   1/2/2018 at 14:45 (291 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        

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To start off this New Year, here some fun vintage laundromat photos, so... in no particular order.... bring your laundry and come see what's inside!


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Post# 976598 , Reply# 1   1/2/2018 at 14:46 (291 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        

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Part 2

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Post# 976604 , Reply# 2   1/2/2018 at 16:05 (291 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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These are a hoot!  Especially the second batch.  Love the one of the chick talking to the guy in shorts, and the next one with the woman in the hat!  I've only used a laundromat twice since coming to Mobile and had no idea that the dress code expectations were so high.  I'll have to be careful the next time I go up there.



Post# 976616 , Reply# 3   1/2/2018 at 18:28 (291 days old) by kd12 (Arkansas)        
Do Not Use Tide?

Ok, in the first post, second picture, there is a sign saying "Do not use Tide, Fab, Wisk, or..." Cant read the rest. Does anyone know what that was about?

Post# 976619 , Reply# 4   1/2/2018 at 18:38 (291 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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The "do not use sign" was admonition to not use those high-suds detergents  in those front load Bendix washers. 

Post# 976626 , Reply# 5   1/2/2018 at 19:03 (291 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Great photos Kevin!!  


Did anyone else go 'HUH?' when viewing picture number 9 in the first group of pictures?  I have never seen a Westinghouse Slant-Front-equipped laundry with what looks like the residential model of washer (but they had a parts donor machine, too, from the look of it... LOL)



Post# 976630 , Reply# 6   1/2/2018 at 19:39 (291 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Pinball machine drove me to the local laundromat, but let my friends play and I watched the washers dicretely. We did have a Snow White Westinghouse laundry for a you leave it, washed in a slant front by nice ladies in white uniforms, dryed in a Cissal gas dryer folded and picked it up later a few doors down.

Post# 976633 , Reply# 7   1/2/2018 at 20:03 (291 days old) by Supersurgilator (Indiana)        

These were great. Now can somebody help me out, there was a pic posted on here awhile ago of a belt drive Whirlpool laundry. I believe they were harvest gold machines. I'd have loved to have gone to such a place!

I loved all of the old unit heaters in these pics too.

Post# 976636 , Reply# 8   1/2/2018 at 20:34 (291 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Thanks Kev.

Paul, we had a laundromat on the Cape in Hyannis that had Westy Slants that I insisted my Mom used and she would use them to shut me up so I could sit there and be quiet so she had some peace for a bit. : )

Post# 976642 , Reply# 9   1/2/2018 at 21:04 (291 days old) by joelippard (Hickory, NC)        

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Ah, all those rows of Frigidaires!

Post# 976645 , Reply# 10   1/2/2018 at 21:17 (291 days old) by whirlykenmore78 (Prior Lake MN (GMT-0700 CDT.))        
Photo 12 of 20 in first set:

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Is very reminiscent of the Wascomat/Huebesch with a few MT TLs stores so common in this area when I grew up. Some had mostly MT TLs but more had mostly Wascomats.
Kevin: this is AWESOME!, what a fun trip down laundry lane. Thank you so much, you brought back memories of laundry I did with Mom 30 years ago.

Post# 976683 , Reply# 11   1/3/2018 at 02:54 (291 days old) by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        
I actually liked the older tennis shorts

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They looked more tailored. I wore them back in the 70s when my dad taught me tennis but I didn't make the team. Wearing them, you had to wear both a jock strap and tighty whities, don't want to be "showing off" or 'flopping around" in there.

Post# 976692 , Reply# 12   1/3/2018 at 06:55 (291 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Part 2, Photo 16. That was what the first coin-laundry I ever saw looked like with a row of those old Bendix "diving bells". The extractor at the far right is probably overworked. The laundry I remember was in "East Atlanta" over by the Theatre. The machines were gravity-drain. There was a slot in the concrete behind the row of machines that funneled the water through the back wall and into a pit at the back of the building.Not very sanitary looking at all.

The sign about the "foaming" detergents is funny. Why single out Tide, Fab and Wisk, when there were so many others that "foamed" just as bad?!
They would have been wise to put a dispenser on the wall with just All,Dash, and Salvo in it.

None of those slant-fronts look authentic without suds billowing out of the detergent chutes and down the front to the floor. Signs or not, nobody seemed to measure very well in those days as over-sudsing was pretty common no matter which laundry you were in.

Kool to see three generations of Frigidaire machines. Unimatics with Three-Ring and Deep Action pulsators and the 1-18's. The Unimatics with the Deep Action pulsators were some of the longest-lived commercial machines I ever saw. There was a laundry in Hyde Park,Tampa that was still using them in the early 90's.

Post# 976702 , Reply# 13   1/3/2018 at 08:00 (291 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Very fun thread, Kevin.  I'll add a few that I've snagged around the web as well, we never had many fun laundromats around here.  One company dominated most of the coin-laundry biz, Maytag.  Lots of Highlander centers all over the area (NE, SD and KS) and what weren't Maytag were SQ solid tub by the 70's.  Only once on vacation in Minnesota did I get to see a Frigidaire in a 'mat - mom put a load of my clothes in it to tamp down the over-excited state I was in :-)


#7 is from the opening of the Marina Towers in Chicago - doing laundry in the sky

#8 is a photo of a local laundromat after a tornado in the early 70's (that nobody ever took me to!)



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Post# 976708 , Reply# 14   1/3/2018 at 08:31 (291 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

#6 of 20 looks like someplace in Eastern Europe.

#4 looks like Sister Immaculata the nun in charge of laundry.


#3 of 17 What are those chrome risers of different heights behind the Bendix machines?

Post# 976723 , Reply# 15   1/3/2018 at 11:35 (291 days old) by Bigterkc (Kansas City)        
Speaking of Suds.

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Check out this ALL commercial from Father Knows Best.


Post# 976734 , Reply# 16   1/3/2018 at 13:37 (291 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Now I know what heaven looks like!

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Post# 976738 , Reply# 17   1/3/2018 at 13:51 (291 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London UK)        

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The American Consumer - no sound track unfortunatly. Starts around 1.30

Post# 976739 , Reply# 18   1/3/2018 at 13:57 (291 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London UK)        
Meanwhile in Britain

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Interesting how many Bendix machines are being used in a commercial setting

Post# 976740 , Reply# 19   1/3/2018 at 14:02 (291 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London UK)        
And in 1959

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Still Bendix, I think the driers might be English Electric

Post# 976767 , Reply# 20   1/3/2018 at 18:58 (290 days old) by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

I love those Primus and Norge front-loaders. Were they hard or soft mount?

Post# 976807 , Reply# 21   1/4/2018 at 06:25 (290 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Excellent thread! Thanks to everyone who contributed photos, videos, and anecdotes.

The local laundromat where I grew up had two rows of the Westys shown in photo #1 below. They had an exposed fill tube and ran with the door open.

Those machines were eventually replaced with two rows of the Westys shown in photo #2 below. No more exposed fill tube; machines stopped when door was opened.

Photo #3 below: Have never seen Maytag Highlanders in a laundromat---and with the coin box mounted on front, no less! Had forgotten about those wooden bushel baskets. We had a few of them when I was a tyke in the early 1960s.

All three photos in this post courtesy of Kevin and Gansky upthread.

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Post# 976846 , Reply# 22   1/4/2018 at 14:01 (290 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        
A few more = part 3

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Thanks everyone, I'm happy you all are enjoying these "blast from the past" photos!


Lawrence: Yeah that girl talking to the guy in the shorts (part 2, photo 8) that pose is so unnatural, but funny too.  The woman in the hat (Photo 9) is Jayne Mansfield (another below).


Paul:  Yes I was thinking the same thing about the residential Westinghouse slant front washers made into coin-op machines in #9 of 20.  Looks like they just removed the timer and knob assembly and added the coin slot/box on top.


Steve: I could tell the Frigidaire machines in some of those shots were were different, but don't know enough to tell which are which.  The only one I kinda figured out is the 1-18's in photo 8 of 20 (part 1).  


Greg: Thanks for adding a few more photos.  So odd to see the coin box just slapped on the front of those highlanders.   Wow that last photo after the tornado is something!


Robert: Yes I agree 100%!  I could easily spend DAYS in that laundromat!!!


Eugene: Thanks for your comments about the Westinghouse machines.  I was impressed by the sheer numbers of them in that photo!


While I grew up with a Maytag washer in the house, I could often be found checking out, or hanging out in the local laundromats.  The one closest to us had Maytags, but also a couple of the larger "big load" FL machines.  I find it interesting that front load washers were popular in laundromats back into the 1940's(?).


Here are a few more photos, including another of Jayne Mansfield.  I don't know anything about what's left of the laundromat in photo #8.  I'd like to know what brand those front loaders are, but I can't tell.



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Post# 976850 , Reply# 23   1/4/2018 at 14:38 (289 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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This one is also interesting..,

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Post# 976860 , Reply# 24   1/4/2018 at 16:10 (289 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        

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WOW Robert, that is incredible!  They look like they 33" KM combos, but it looks like it says "dry cleaning"

Post# 976862 , Reply# 25   1/4/2018 at 16:25 (289 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Those are the Whirlpool dry cleaners. They also made a version of that that was a large capacity washer called a Whirlpool Wash-a-Lot, I believe. A small coin laundry in Decatur had two of them, both broken down as was the owner.

Post# 976870 , Reply# 26   1/4/2018 at 17:47 (289 days old) by superocd (PNW)        

I spy a Wascomat blue top! I would have loved to be able see one in action. I don't go to laundromats because I don't need to, but all of the laundries in a 50-mile radius have the "boring" new machines, judging by what I see at a glance driving by these places.

Oh, well, machines wear out, parts go NLA, energy and water costs rise, customers scoff at the woefully outdated looks of the machines and there are glaring safety hazards.

Post# 976874 , Reply# 27   1/4/2018 at 18:05 (289 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Part 1 photo#15 amusing sign about fastest spin in town placed over the Unimatics. Certainly wasn't those old slant-fronts across the aisle. Those look like '59 or '60 Unimatics. Would have had the Three-Ring pulsator in them.

Frig, there were plenty of those Maytag laundries around Atlanta. There was a large one across the parking lot from an old grocery on Highland Avenue near University Drive. All the Highlanders had the small-barrel Gyratators in them and were a hideous pink. They had coin boxes, a little red operating light where the timer-dial would normally be and a toggle-switch for Hot or Warm wash. And a big Bock extractor you could stuff four loads in.

Later Maytag laundries around Atlanta used plastic tickets rather than coins.
There were also Filter-Flo laundries all over the place.

Post# 976909 , Reply# 28   1/4/2018 at 20:49 (289 days old) by glhturbo2 (Reidsville, NC)        
Thank You

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For the history lesson and for the pictures! The past always intrigues me, because I never got to see anything like that, sadly. :( At least there are pictures and people willing to share insight. So, again, I thank everyone for the pictures and everything else!


Post# 976917 , Reply# 29   1/4/2018 at 22:12 (289 days old) by Ultralux88 (Denver)        

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Some of those older pictures show some really primitive laundromats! All the schlepping of wet washing from the agitating machine to the spin-dry machine, oy vey iz mir! I always found the HUGE dryers and the big commercial front loaders fascinating. We always had our own washer/dryer at home, so the laundromat was a rare experience, usually reserved for items too large or too dirty for mom to want to wash them at home. What I remember being the most interested in were the "Tumbletta" dryers, some Dexter front loaders, and later on some 70s looking Wascomat machines.

Post# 977050 , Reply# 30   1/5/2018 at 21:15 (288 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        

Picture 18 in part one is my idea of heaven.I love those dexter/bendix machines brings back happy memories of the 80s for me .I used to love to visit Laundromats that had those on a sunday.I now have a dexter machine exactly like the ones in the picture.Thank you Kevin for this thread it is my favorite.

Post# 977093 , Reply# 31   1/6/2018 at 03:32 (288 days old) by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

Great thread, Kevin! I really enjoyed the colours and decor of some of these laundromats! I also really liked seeing GE FFs in coin op flavor.

Post# 977098 , Reply# 32   1/6/2018 at 05:26 (288 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
"All the schlepping of wet washing ..."

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If you are referring to picture #6 in first set, that was taken in a wash house, not a laundromat per se, and likely was somewhere in Europe. IIRC that picture may have been taken in UK.

Once American laundromats moved from hand powered wringers or using wringer washing machines to top loaders things were by and large fully automatic. Some places did offer "extractors", which were large spin dryers, but that was due to the poor extraction of top loaders (and even the front loaders that were on offer then), in order to speed up drying time.

Remember early Bendix and other front loaders didn't have suspension systems, so they needed to be bolted into floor. But they did spin even if at low rpms compared to modern H-axis washers.

Post# 977313 , Reply# 33   1/7/2018 at 12:03 (287 days old) by kd12 (Arkansas)        
Glasgow Steamie

Launderess, that UK photo was taken in a Glasgow laundry/bath house. I had to do an image search to figure out what was going on there. If you Google "Glasgow steamie" you come up with a bunch of these, and from as late as the 60s even. Apparently Scotland was pretty economically backward even long after the war.

Post# 977326 , Reply# 34   1/7/2018 at 14:14 (287 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
UK Wash Houses

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We've done them before here in the group several times.


Yet more:

Amazing to think wash house shown above was still in operation at 1971 when film was made.

However there were plenty of modern laundryettes about as well:

Interestingly but not surprisingly in UK wash houses were on same site as public baths. Makes sense in a way in that both required large amounts of water and modern (for their time) indoor plumbing. Not something every home had in late 1800's.

Extensive list of UK bath and wash houses, part of a quite good website.

Post# 977367 , Reply# 35   1/7/2018 at 19:53 (286 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        
Reply #12

Those are tombstone bendixes.I have 2 of them one nice one and one for parts to fix 2 others.Kevin I promised you some time ago I would post pics of mine and I will as soon as I get my computer straight.

Post# 977527 , Reply# 36   1/8/2018 at 19:59 (285 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Those were some well feed chilrens.

Post# 977562 , Reply# 37   1/9/2018 at 00:45 (285 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Steady diet of treacle sponge, chips and other foods fried in lard or whatever ought to do it.

Have you ever watched "Two Fat Ladies?" Some of those dishes prepared were standard school dinners during the 1960's and 1970's.

Post# 977597 , Reply# 38   1/9/2018 at 08:44 (285 days old) by mayken4now (Panama City, Florida)        
Wonderful Thread

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Thanks for taking time Kevin. Brought back a few memories. Very nice!

Launderess. The term "wash house" is very commonly used in southern Louisiana still. Mostly citing the Cajun Folks.

Post# 977810 , Reply# 39   1/10/2018 at 20:05 (283 days old) by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

Kevin's #8 was an absolutely typical Norge Village. The one here was, to my memory, nearly identical down to the paneling -- I think the floor was probably different, but that's it. I might have even seen some of those clothes... And note that #8-10 are all Norge self service dry cleaning machines.

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