Thread Number: 75713  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Historic photograph - Cornell laundry lab
[Down to Last]'s exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 995404   5/27/2018 at 23:15 by bradross (New Westminster, BC., Canada)        

bradross's profile picture
Came across this fantastic photo of the laundry lab of the home economics department, Cornell University. Can anybody estimate the date? I'd say early to mid-fifties.

Perhaps somebody can identify the front-loader in the foreground. Looks like a Westy in the middle, and then an unknown top-loader (maybe a Kenmore?), plus the Easy Spindrier and I believe a Monitor wringer in the front.

  View Full Size

Post# 995407 , Reply# 1   5/28/2018 at 00:01 by arris (Rochester New York)        
Pretty neat picture

arris's profile picture
Nice picture, I was just there a few weeks ago took my cat to get a root canal and tooth restoration..... Nice Campus..... you have to drive up a mountain to get to it.....Was glad I had my truck with the 5.7 Liter Hemi....... as I was driving I thought " Man this would be a bitch in the winter"

Post# 995413 , Reply# 2   5/28/2018 at 01:36 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Actually have a book from early 1900's

launderess's profile picture
Put out in concert with the Cornell University home economics laundry lab.

Though seems hilarious to us today, yes, females actually went to college to get degrees in home economics, and much serious study was given over to laundry.

In 1969 the New York State College of Home Economics reorganized and renamed the New York State College of Human Ecology. Likely in view of changing roles for women by the 1970's with more on the horizon after Title IX and other laws came into affect.

Post# 995416 , Reply# 3   5/28/2018 at 05:30 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
Mystery automatics

turquoisedude's profile picture

Whirlpool or Kenmore would be my guess.   That front-loader looks like a Bendix, but I may be suffering from 'Bendix on the brain'....

Post# 995419 , Reply# 4   5/28/2018 at 07:00 by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

That FL is definitely Bendix, I'd estimate the date as 1951, '53 at the outside.

Post# 995420 , Reply# 5   5/28/2018 at 07:06 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Not sure of exact year

launderess's profile picture
But P&G discontinued that Oxydol soap by middle of 1950's. Having introduced Tide in 1949 sales of their former number one in USA laundry soap (Oxydol) quickly began to decline.

Post# 995434 , Reply# 6   5/28/2018 at 11:32 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Well, studies in Home Economics could go in various directions. There was lots of organic chemistry for those majoring in foods as did my mother. She worked as a dietician in a hospital when dad was stationed near Riverside CA during the early part of WWII. She managed part of the food service operation in a defense plant after Dad was sent to Europe. She said that Pillsbury and General Mills did not pay very well so she took the defense plant job. It was west of Minneapolis and entailed a long bus ride for her 11 to 7 shift. Fortunately, she had a friend on the same shift so she was not on the trip alone. She would go to sleep when she got home, then begin her day. It was in the afternoon, while walking down Blaisdell Ave to the Y to get a meal in the cafeteria, that a lady saw her on the sidewalk and called out to her, asking if she had heard the terrible news. She was invited into the lady's house and heard on the radio that Roosevelt had died. Her minor in English enabled her to teach high school Home Ec and English back home in Hibbing at some point. I think her last job before I was born was with Carnation doing infant nutrition work in Chicago. These degrees elevated the type and level of jobs available to women in a male-dominated business world. The degree could elevate them to management level. Every manufacturer of appliances employed home economists. Julia Keine headed up the team at Westinghouse. After WWII started, there was an article in one of the Electrical trade magazines about the home ec staff at Westinghouse baking, packing and shipping thousands of cookies for Westinghouse employees in the service.

Post# 995435 , Reply# 7   5/28/2018 at 11:56 by golittlesport (California)        
That seems like a fun class -- doing laundry

I believe the top load automatic is a Whirlpool. The Kenmore, although very similar, had a more rounded cabinet where the control knobs are located. The Whirlpool had a flatter surface at the controls. Also there would have been the indentation of a handle on the lid for a Kenmore, the Whirlpool had a pop-up lid and you can see the lid release button on the middle of the control panel in the photo.

Also note that it appears the Westinghouse has no window in the door. Could it be a clothes dryer? I've read that Westinghouse had a builders-grade washer and dryer set that had no windows in the doors. Maybe this is a BOL machine like that. I've never seen a Westy Laundromat without a window, but had seen single-knob dryers without them.

Post# 995437 , Reply# 8   5/28/2018 at 12:07 by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture

Richie, that Westy could be a dryer.  Look at the boot. 

Post# 995443 , Reply# 9   5/28/2018 at 12:50 by whirlykenmore78 (Prior Lake MN (GMT-0700 CDT.))        
Very cool!

whirlykenmore78's profile picture
I would love to spend a day in there. Years ago when I worked for Marriott a group from our hotel got to go to Ecolab's R&D center in Eagan MN. They had a very advanced laundry lab there.

Post# 995446 , Reply# 10   5/28/2018 at 13:29 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

The early WH washer had no door boot. The glass door on the tub sealed to the tub and had the dispenser chute at the top of it. Much like an ASKO, the solid outer door hid the glass door.

Post# 995458 , Reply# 11   5/28/2018 at 16:47 by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Thats a Bendix up front

jetcone's profile picture
And I think its the early Gyromatic so its not a bolt down. That would put this at 1952-3 I think. The early Gyros’ had that little vent at the bottom center were suds could come out.

The woman at the Westinghouse is reaching down so far I bet thats a dryer!

That Monitor was crazy, who bought those??

Post# 995462 , Reply# 12   5/28/2018 at 17:06 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

wayupnorth's profile picture
When my place was a camp back in the 60's, we had an identical Monitor for kids clothes, towels, etc. Alot easier than lugging dirty stuff back home to town. It had a rather small capacity but washed quite well. It was on the front porch and could gravity drain right off it. I always got roped into cranking the wringer. Monitors were great for apartment dwellers that could not have a regular machine

Post# 995521 , Reply# 13   5/29/2018 at 05:20 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
Post# 995537 , Reply# 14   5/29/2018 at 09:42 by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
1955, give or take ~

mickeyd's profile picture
When the first hand-cranked Hoover Wringer came out, whose 70th? anniversary Chestermikeuk celebrated in a splendid thread last month, a machine sold in the millions to our U.K. relatives, isn't the Monitor pretty much a clone of it?

The chrome rings on the Easy departed some time in the mid-to-late 50's, not sure of exact year.

The Top Loader is indeed the Whirlpool that buzzes and flips its lid at cycle completion; my neighbor Tom Graff had one and let me watch his Thursday evening wash night when I was a single-digit lad. His lid latch had a light and the machine was a Suds-Miser, and thus began my fascination with this miraculous engineering feat which took Whirlpool a few years to tweak to perfection and which was widely imitated but never surpassed by any other manufacturer.

Love the Oxydol. 'Twas a big deal back then, highly unusual scent, hard to describe. I'll try: pungent citrus pine.

Great vivid photo, Brad. Thanks for the memories.

Post# 995615 , Reply# 15   5/30/2018 at 06:33 by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

"This image from the archives of LIFE magazine first appeared on April 21, 1952"


Post# 995624 , Reply# 16   5/30/2018 at 08:28 by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London UK)        

vacbear58's profile picture

The Monitor is not so much a clone of the Hoover as the Hoover a clone of it.

As I understand it, Sir Charles Colston (MD of Hoover UK) was on a visit to North Canton when he saw the Monitor washer (not necessarily at North Canton) and decided it would be a good machine to produce for the UK market and, although not externally similar, I believe the workings are identical. The design of the first Hoover washer looks pre WW2 and I know there were plans to extend the Perivale plant to build these washers. As it was WW2 intervened and it was launched in 1948, manufactured at an all new palnt in South Wales. The design was updated in 1953 and further developed by adding first a power wringer and later a spin dryer to become the Hoovermatic


Post# 995626 , Reply# 17   5/30/2018 at 09:43 by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
Brit Brains to the rescue!

mickeyd's profile picture

"Well, I'll be a son of a bee and a son of a pup"*

Who knew? YOU DID. So the humble little Monitor was first and the almighty Oovah was the copy. Unreal! The Monitor never changed, while the Hoover evolved dramatically, morphing ultimately even unto automatics.

It was fun and exciting to wake up to this, Al; my brain perked right up without coffee. Thanks.

* My Grandmother Margaret used to say this, rather than "swear" as she called it.


Nice find, and who knows, those machines may have already been in the lab for a year or so, as well.

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

The Discuss-o-Mat has stopped, buzzer is sounding!!!
If you would like to reply to this thread please log-in...

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy