Thread Number: 74287  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 01/02/2018 - Bendix Tumble Agitator front-load washer
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Post# 980831   2/1/2018 at 08:23 (257 days old) by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

I'm guessing this is the same thing as the Gyramatic? 30" wide, soft-mount, etc? Certainly looks much the same as chestermikeuk's Gyramatic. Why America didn't buy far more of these instead of the crude top-loaders Bendix was trying to move on from...




Post# 980833 , Reply# 1   2/1/2018 at 08:30 (257 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, Iowa)        

swestoyz's profile picture
Yes, this is a 1957 WGG-C Gyromatic. I suspect that by the time Bendix dropped the bolt down B/S models they went away from calling out the Gyromatic specifically and went with the tumble action name.

These were some of the most expensive automatic washers one could buy in the mid-50's. The top loading variants Bendix was offering at the time were marketing to those households who wanted a semi or fully automatic without breaking the bank.

Ben


Post# 980837 , Reply# 2   2/1/2018 at 09:10 (257 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Consumer testing magazines routinely panned them. There were no high performing detergents that were not also high sudsers.  Tumbler washers were rated as poor in washing ability, mainly for the small tubs and lack of good, low sudsing detergents. It was interesting that when washer dryer combinations came on the scene, their larger tubs contributed to improved washing performance ratings as did the larger, non-tilted tubs in the redesigned Westinghouse washers with the two tub vanes.

 

American users of washing machines were long habituated to wringer washers with agitators and that is what they wanted in an automatic. Bendix had tied up the important patent rights to the tumbler washer (as well as the combination washer-dryer). Jon Charles posted years ago about how much Westinghouse had to pay Bendix through the nose and out the other end for the right to use the "assured rinse" or spray rinse to kill suds after the wash drain and I am not sure if the sequence of spins after each rinse was a patented Bendix exclusive or not, but Westinghouse did not have it until their machines were based on European design elements decades later when they became European owned and even then, the rinse sequence was changed from spray, spin, deep rinse, deep rinse, spin to spray, deep, spin, deep, spin, deep, spin.

 

I think that in front loaders, Americans just saw a smaller tub that required bending to load, associated it with the older generation machines that had to be bolted through the floor joists and opted for top loaders where they could have lots of suds which, in the days of soap, indicated that you were getting better cleaning.

 

 


Post# 980889 , Reply# 3   2/1/2018 at 18:15 (257 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Recently Came Into Some Vintage Bendix Sales

launderess's profile picture
And marketing material, and they really did try to do a number on wringer/semi-automatic washing machines.

Here are a few, if anyone is interested in more let me know.



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Post# 980891 , Reply# 4   2/1/2018 at 18:19 (257 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
Thing is had there been "HE" type detergents around back then it is likely Bendix and other cylinder washers would have taken off in USA.

This being as it may commercial laundries long had been using cylinder washers with soap, and getting good to excellent results. So wonder why or what was the problem in domestic use that gave so many problems.

Hurley Machine Company famously had their Thor "cylinder" washer, but stopped production before WWII it seems to concentrate solely on top loading machines with a central beater, and or wringer washers.


Post# 980899 , Reply# 5   2/1/2018 at 18:53 (257 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Launderess, I think the large scale of the commercial machines allowed room for suds and tumbling whereas the teeny tiny cylinder of the early Bendix machines did not allow room for suds and tumbling. By the early 50s, Monsanto came up with ALL for controlled suds in washing machines while trying to find a suitable non-foaming detergent for automatic dishwashers. I remember seeing it beside the Kenmore in our basement in Illinois and we moved from there in early 1955.

Post# 980906 , Reply# 6   2/1/2018 at 19:48 (257 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I wouldnt trade

A mid to late 50s Bendix for anything else ever made!I just wish I could find one, I would be using it,

Post# 980939 , Reply# 7   2/2/2018 at 06:58 (256 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
All good points

jetcone's profile picture
Laundress love those sales brochures they show off my Utiltly Bendix beautifully! I had Brisnate all covered in suds when he used mine at Christmas. He;s an “automatic-buoy” for sure!!!!!

I have to say my 1956 Bendix is now one of my best cleaners in the stable. I think Tom is right the new detergents are what was needed for these machines. With the elimination of suds those clothes really get slapped around in the cylinder.


Post# 981050 , Reply# 8   2/2/2018 at 20:43 (256 days old) by HiLoVane (Columbus OH)        
ALL Detergent

ALL was originally manufactured circa 1949, by an obscure company based in Columbus, Ohio. Westinghouse dealers sold it "as a service" to new and existing owners of their Laundromat washer.

By the early '50s, Monsanto acquired the rights to the product; only to sell to Unilever (then known as Lever Brothers) by 1957.

ALL is now more or less an off-brand, made by SUN products.


Post# 981057 , Reply# 9   2/2/2018 at 21:26 (256 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

Even though home automatic front-loading washers back then used much more water, they still used less detergent (just about half) of the top-loading washers ("conventional" or automatic) and detergent manufacturers took notice immediately -- propaganda started immediately about all the evils of front-loading washers and, while they decreased in intensity over the years, they did not let go until the late 90's when HE frontloaders were "introduced" in USA as if they were a completely new invention, Maytag ads even implied they just invented the things.

Some claim it's pure gossip, some claim it's absolutely true, but if you are even a bit curious about a sliver of what goes inside big corporations, just take a look at "Soap Opera: the inside story of Procter & Gamble" by Alecia Swasy.

Incidentally, even though people in US love to talk about how frontloaders need special detergents and toploaders don't -- please be aware that as far as I can tell, maybe detergents were high sudsing back in 1940's, but by the time I was born (60's), even Tide had some suds-control agents in it, just not as much as All.

Yes, frontloaders made it much more obvious that you were dealing with excess suds, and some toploaders could get rid of suds much more readily than others (particularly solid tubs), but anyone with a perforated tub WP/Kenmore for example, would tell you they needed to rinse way more when using high-sudsing detergents than when using suds-controlled ones.

And if you want to see *real* high-sudsing laundry detergents, just get your hands on some stuff they still sell to this day in South America. That stuff could make suds overflow the top of toploaders' tub and leak into the motor, which could, depending on the machine, kill the motor or at the very least ruin the belts.


Post# 981066 , Reply# 10   2/2/2018 at 22:48 (256 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Holy Fuck! I had never thought about the detergent industry's sabotaging of front loaders. Most Westinghouse Laundromat ads mentioned the savings in detergent and water. I remember one print ad that said that the the savings meant that an owner could buy a new Laundromat every 5 years, which was fortunate because that was just about the lifespan of one that saw hard use. That must mean that this whisper campaign had the potential to influence our two consumer testing magazines which do not work in a vacuum.

Neighbors got a 58 Lady before we did and Tide suds burned out the motor so they switched to All. I had occasion to use a high sudsing detergent in WP-made machines and they will easily suds lock between the tubs as will Maytags and even GEs with all of the space between the tubs.




This post was last edited 02/03/2018 at 06:32
Post# 981069 , Reply# 11   2/2/2018 at 23:13 (256 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Tide powder in all variations is extremely frothy

launderess's profile picture
Have tried versions from the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's, all create far too much froth for Miele washers' liking. Suppose one could get the dosage down to one tablespoon or whatever, but don't think that is going to clean eleven pounds of washing in front loader very well.

It isn't just the froth either; Tide powder like many other P&G detergents is very difficult to rinse. Again see this with the various versions have tried over years. In fact Tide is the one vintage detergent one never bothers collecting any longer. It just creates too much work for semi-automatic or front loading washers.

Used some vintage Cheer powder in Hoover TT, and that was first and last time. The stuff required endless rinsing *and* dulled the finish of aluminum wash tub.

Don't think P&G and or other makers of laundry detergents set out to wreck h-axis washers. For one thing other than Bendix and Westinghouse and a few others there weren't many makers of such machines, and for various reasons their market share was very low.

Besides when we speak of detergent makers in post WWII era, there really was one dominate player; Proctor and Gamble. Then as now Tide was the market leader and as such if anyone wanted to "wreck" front loading automatics P&G could have done so, but they didn't. In fact they came up with Dash detergent with "controlled suds" for use in all automatic washing machines.




post was last edited: 2/2/2018-23:35]


Post# 981070 , Reply# 12   2/2/2018 at 23:14 (256 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
Sing it with me now!





Just Right Suds! From *AD* Detergent!





Tide for *Top Loading* Automatics.... Notice the commercial left out front loaders.




Listen to the man.....





Post# 981073 , Reply# 13   2/3/2018 at 00:31 (256 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
Thanks for the laundry videos--loved them on TV

There was a brief time in the 80s when Tide, Fab and Cheer came out with those super concentrated low sudsing versions. When I was using my Kenmore washer-dryer combination, I regularly used these detergents augmented with a Calgon-type product and got great washing and rinsing results. By using the water conditioner with the detergent, I used half the amount of detergent so there was easier rinsing along with great washing. Even when I used All and Dash, I used the water conditioner because it made rinsing better in a machine that did not do that great a job at water extraction between water changes.

Post# 981077 , Reply# 14   2/3/2018 at 01:53 (256 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

Let's go by stages.

First off, I remember when I was living in South America, the *only* suds-controlled detergent was Skip (Unilever). That went away in 1990, I think, so there was basically *nothing* I could use in a washer and get clean clothes. It was either too little detergent and soiled clothes, or enough to clean and then rinsing for the ages.

At that point, I got some All, Tide and powdered Wisk to use there. Powdered Tide and powdered Wisk had at that point just come out with some ultra (or whatever the name was) formula and they were just fine for both toploaders and frontloaders. Tide obviously made more suds than Wisk or All, but the machines (both top- and front-loaders) would go thru the entire cycle without sudslocking and results were much better than the high-sudsing detergents they had for sale down there.

Now, sure, you can point to All, Dash, AD or whatever you want. One hands feeds you while the other hand slaps you is precisely what P&G, Unilever etc did. They promulgated a mindset that high-suds was good even while selling low-sudsing detergents, and worse, there were *fewer* low-sudsing detergents than high. And the cheaper detergents were all low-sudsing, so anyone that could not afford expensive stuff or wanted to use Tide (even if it was more expensive), would be guaranteed to be buying/using a top-loader, thereby not saving detergent.

The *other* side of this, which many people don't know or don't consider is how the companies themselves worked back then, not sure if it's still the same. P&G did not operate like a regular European company, which only watches the bottom line for the corporation as a whole, no sir. Each "division" (like say, Tide, Cheer, Oxydol, Downy, Dawn, Bounce, etc etc etc) operated like its own company which had to show a good profit to the point that the internal division competed against each other for clients.

The secrecy between each division was fierce because no one at say, Tide, wanted people at say, Cheer or Oxydol to learn about the new developments and other divisions were only "allowed" to use new technologies when the division was dropping it for an even newer one. So, for example, Cheer would get Tide's "current" enzymes when Tide had a new cocktail ready to release and, similarly, Tide with Beach only got the bleach activator tech when Oxydol (or Biz, can't remember exactly) was moving to a newer one. *Sometimes*, but not always, P&G would start a new "company"/division to test how a new idea would sell because they did not want to have clients think badly of their already stablished brands. If I recall correctly, that's precisely why they started Solo (with built-in fabric softener) and a year or two later moved the technology to Bold and killed Solo a few years after.

I can't remember if the book Soap Opera speaks about companies propaganda against front-loaders but it might. It certainly offered other examples of the war among the divisions and even worse, among Unilever, P&G etc. It did not stay inside the companies either, if you were married to someone at Tide and another Tide employee (or their spouse) saw you shopping for Cheer or Dash, there'd be hell to pay tomorrow morning at work. And if you were caught shopping for Unilever (or some other company), you might even lose your job.

If, at any point, those corporations *wanted* to support front-loading washers, they would stop advertising how lovely and persistent their suds were, and they'd make *more* low sudsing detergents and advertise the few high-sudsing detergents as "ideal for twin-tubs and wringer/conventional washers" instead of automatics.

And you can also look what happened in other countries. UK, for example, started seeing one brand after another releasing the "Automatic" version of each of their detergents, naturally they cost more. Until a couple of decades passed and most of the detergents were "Automatic" with a few remaining ones being for non-automatic machines and/or hand washing.

We've seen a relatively similar process here, first with "HE" versions until so many people were using HE machines that they decided to raise the bar a bit more and release the "HE Turbo" versions. The prices speak for themselves. Those versions cost more (or at least it used to initially -- I have not compared prices recently because in the past 15 years I've been only buying HE/HE Turbo), and for a while even All started sudsing more so people were forced to buy the HE versions.

Ask yourself this: is there *anything* more ludicrous than *All* the detergent that was the lowest sudsing until 1997 or so and could be used for *any* washer, become so sudsy that you "needed" All HE?

Is that the way for corporations which "support" front-loaders and are not afraid of losing money to act/react?

In my opinion, they sabotaged the introduction of front-loaders in US. Then companies who could not make a front loader for love or money piled on and helped the propaganda as much as they could too.


Post# 981091 , Reply# 15   2/3/2018 at 08:12 (255 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
J Bibby's 'Pat' detergent

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The Spectator magazine, October 1960 says of 'Pat' low foam detergent:

"The cleansing action of Pat is similar to that of the more conventional detergents, but it has the advantage that the amount of detergent used can be adjusted according to how dirty the clothes are, and not according simply to the amount of excess foam the machine can absorb. Which? states that four grams of Tide for each gallon of water made enough froth to interfere with the action of the machine; whereas there was no interference with eighteen grams of Pat."

"... Pat is the result of collaboration between Bibby and English Electric (for their Liberator)."

"Unfortunately Bibby are pretty disillusioned About the intelligence of the British housewife. They believe that if Pat were easily obtainable (i.e., without the special powder-for-washing- machines approach), it would be tried once, seen not to lather and abandoned for ever. And they are probably right."

"Bibby cannot compete with the 'giants' in a national advertising campaign, and even jazzy packets would involve them in expensive new machinery. But there will never be a big demand for foamless detergents without publicity."

Lever Bros in the UK didn't do an 'automatic' version of Persil until well into Sixties. P&G countered with 'Bold Automatic' in the early 1970s. The British housewife was, unfortunately, married to twin-tubs and high suds for many years.

The early 1980s saw 'automatic' versions of P&G's 'Ariel' and 'Daz' being released, and Lever's 'Surf' - probably because there were only two options (Lever's Persil Automatic and P&G's Bold Automatic: if you didn't like one, you went with the competitor's product).

Bold was repositioned as a softness and freshness brand with money-saving value.


CLICK HERE TO GO TO Rolls_rapide's LINK


Post# 981137 , Reply# 16   2/3/2018 at 19:19 (255 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

Apparently, the same resistance that Pat in UK found from users happened here in US too. I'm told that initially, All was sold in small boxes to emphasize that it was concentrated and that the housewife did not need as much as the other brands. Supposedly, the makers thought, that advertising how concentrated it was would help sell, because the person wouldn't have to carry large and/or heavy boxes or store them.

According to places that teach advertising and/or business classes, All did not take off in US until it started being sold in large containers. Between the people who don't ever read directions (and failed to use the correct dose for a concentrated product), the people who were so used to chuck a heaping cup of detergent in their washers no matter what, and the ones who would dump detergent without measuring until they saw some suds, sales took off, because for the first time ever, people could use more detergent and get really dirty clothes clean and rinsed. I suppose it also helped people to use a little more than the directions to have a feeling of "abundance" looking at a large box, instead of "wow, this is a small and expensive box, I'd better save as much as I can".



Post# 981187 , Reply# 17   2/4/2018 at 00:57 (255 days old) by Maytag85 (SoCal )        
Earthling177

I do use HE detergent in my Maytag A810 washer and my Lady Kenmore portable washer and I will say that the rinse water in my Maytag A810 and my Lady Kenmore portable is more clear compared to if I use regular detergent. Regular detergent works well in both of my washers, but I use the Tandil detergent from Aldi since I shop there a lot. Is it me or do Whirlpool/Kenmore belt drive washers create a lot of suds? My Lady Kenmore portable washer creates a fair amount of suds no matter what detergent I use, and I only use a little bit of detergent.

Post# 981195 , Reply# 18   2/4/2018 at 04:33 (254 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        


Sean:

People talk in a way that hides how simplified they made matters sound.

The truth has always been that detergents that were actually high-sudsing have always caused trouble with automatic washers -- they worked relatively well in "conventional" washers (wringer washers or sometimes twin-tubs, depending on the design). Some automatic toploaders were better at getting rid of suds and protecting important parts, and some designs (depending on the agitator and/or waterfall recirculating filters) generated more suds than others.

Anyway, for the average machine, a suds-controlled detergent was always more desirable than a high-sudsing one. That's from the point of view of the machines and the users.

Economically speaking though, money talks, and both detergent manufacturers and washer manufacturers had a big role in keeping users from being able to access a really good, low- or no-sudsing detergent and decent front-loaders.


Post# 981217 , Reply# 19   2/4/2018 at 10:06 (254 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

My grandfather worked right after the war for Monsanto and had done some work pre-war on the earliest detergents. The earliest detergents were un-built, sudsy and mild, sulfate based, like Dreft or Vel (think dishwashing liquid or shampoo), appropriate for hand washables but neutral pH and not really strong enough for anything else. Tide combined these with phosphate (much of their uniqueness was applied phosphorous chemistry) and alkaline builders and spray-drying and was quite revolutionary when compared to built soap powders (think Fels Naptha or Duz). All had a different surfactant (anionic or nonionic...I can never remember the difference) which didn't suds the same way--Monsanto's unique technology was around the surfactant (although they also had more experience with elemental phosphorous than P&G). As the Spectator notes, fighting against the 3 soap manufacturers (P&G/Lever/Colgate) was tough for Monsanto and they sold out in the mid 50s.

The mention of the brand management process at P&G is absolutely right---each of the brands fought against the sister brands just as hard as Lever Brothers or Colgate)--similar to the battles at the Big 3, or Coca-Cola/Pepsi, or any of the other companies using the Brand Manager structure.


Post# 981218 , Reply# 20   2/4/2018 at 10:21 (254 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
"anionic or nonionic"

rolls_rapide's profile picture
It was probably non-ionic in 'All', as that surfactant is supposed to be low-foaming (used in auto-dishwasher detergents too). Non-ionics aren't exactly the best for greasy stains though.

Anionics are higher sudsing, but are supposedly better for oily soils. Frequently used in hand-dishwashing liquids too.

Nowadays, I'm sure they're able to brew surfactants to do a job, at a moment's notice.


Post# 981220 , Reply# 21   2/4/2018 at 10:27 (254 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Many early automatics had solid tubs and used overflow rinsing. They were better at getting rid of suds. Two neighbors who went from early 50s Kenmores to solid tub Filter Flo machiness remarked at how surprised they were that there was no trace of suds in the rinse. Part of that was because the suds floated over the top of the tub and part of it was because there was not the suds residue left in the outer tub which you always saw as the machine began to fill for rinse as the water rose and came through the holes at the bottom of the tub. It is true that when agitation began in any washer with a recirculating lint filter that the first water to emerge from the filter was some leftover wash water, but the amount of suds added to the rinse water was not as visible as the amount of residue from high sudsing detergents left between the tubs in a perforated tub washer.

Post# 981283 , Reply# 22   2/4/2018 at 16:49 (254 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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It's wrong to say consumers couldn't "access" low suds detergent in the period when Bendix and Westy frontloaders were sold. In addition to All, which was continuously available in several forms (including Fluffy All for those who wanted to use a full cup) and Dash, there were Salvo and Vim tablets which got a big marketing push, and Colgate had a whole series of "adjusted suds" or "controlled suds" products in the Sixties including Ad, Punch, and Burst. In fact, it was easy to get low suds detergents and the makers weren't shy about advertising their advantages. All of these brands were available in every supermarket in the U.S.

There were also detergents such as Lever's Drive which were not advertised as low sudsing, but still don't produce the froth of Tide, Cheer, or Oxydol.

As a collector I've had the pleasure of using most of these products recently, and they perform as advertised. I used Salvo today to wash some sheets and there was no layer of suds to be seen, using two tablets as recommended on the box.

By and large, however, the old high-suds detergents did clean better, and I believe that's why housewives used them, not because of a nefarious conspiracy. The low suds products underperformed in the marketplace largely on merit, not advertising. It isn't that difficult to tell if a detergent is working well or not.

And I have to say I've never observed any problems personally using high suds detergents in top- loading DD Whirlpools. I don't doubt they could cause problems with some washers, but I think it was a non-issue for a lot of people.


Post# 981366 , Reply# 23   2/5/2018 at 11:38 (253 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
not to pun

jetcone's profile picture

All interesting points.

 

I love the old commercials! We tried Tide once in the 60's in our '56 GE FF, if you can believe it , it sudslocked!!!! Never used it again!
 

 

anionics are good for dirt removal

non-ionics attack and lift grease and oils Esp body oils which is 90% of the grime on clothes.

cationics are for fabric softening and used in rinse formulas

 

I remember reading about Corporate espionage in the 1950's at FORD, the EDSEL division was sabotaged by the Mercury division so sales of Edsel would fall and Mercury would succeed and it did.

It was a crazy predatory corporate structure. 

 

Does anybody know the inventor company of ALL in Ohio, I'd love to do some digging on that?




This post was last edited 02/05/2018 at 19:27
Post# 981383 , Reply# 24   2/5/2018 at 13:26 (253 days old) by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

Internal competition can be healthy, but when it's actually leading to direct sabotage between divisions, that's just bonkers!

That said, the Edsel's styling alone was bound to doom it. I never did like that era of FoMoCo products as much as their GM counterparts, though - from '57 Bel Air to the bonkers '59 Cadillacs, GM had the best styling...


Post# 981390 , Reply# 25   2/5/2018 at 14:09 (253 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        
While they aren't my personal favorite,

speedqueen's profile picture
you cannot forget the Chrysler "Forward Look" cars that precipitated the look of the 1959 GM models. While I like them, the '58 GM cars are often described as looking as though they were sinking under the weight of their own styling. Chrysler challenged them to lean things out and make them more sharp and angular.

Here is a '58 Oldsmobile 98 and a '58 Chrysler Saratoga.


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Post# 981413 , Reply# 26   2/5/2018 at 17:17 (253 days old) by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

True, Chrysler had some great designs. Virgil Exner was no fool - but Harley Earl was more flamboyant IMO. What a life he had! Born in the 19th century, before cars really existed; lived through two world wars and retired as the supersonic jet age was unfolding, having designed some of the most outrageously charismatic cars ever made. As a child of the 90s, growing up under much more incremental change (and sometimes massive backward steps, like the retirement of Concorde), it's difficult for me to comprehend what a seismic transformation the world underwent in such a short time...

BTW, I absolutely HATE those extended-bumper spare-wheel-cover 'continental kits', as I believe they're called. Ruined the looks of every car ever fitted with it.





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