Thread Number: 75743  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Vintage Laundromats
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Post# 995784   5/31/2018 at 04:54 by adam-aussie-vac (Canberra ACT)        

Hey guys I'm wondering how many of you have seen vintage laundromats in person?

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Post# 995791 , Reply# 1   5/31/2018 at 06:54 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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I did!  In my hometown of Pointe-Claire, QC I got to actually use the Westinghouse bolt-down washers in the local laundromat.  The coin-op washers and dryers were located in an area behind the counter of a dry cleaning store.  The best laundromat I ever got to use was somehwere near Wildwood, NJ - this was the first time I got to see a Frigidaire Jet-Cone washer in action!  I remember the machines had window lids and were.... wait for it.... turquoise!

When I was a brat, our family camped a lot and I remember seeing and using other vintage coin-op machines but nothing stood out like the Westy and Frigidaire machines. 

Post# 995803 , Reply# 2   5/31/2018 at 09:16 by Losangeles (Muscle Shoals, AL 35661)        
Vintage Laundromats

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I remember staying at my Grandmothers one summer. She lived in a town in Mississippi no bigger than a dot on the map. This particular summer a laundromat had been installed in an abandoned building. It was also equipped Frigidaire Jet Cone Washers with the window in the lid. I went back to my grandmothers and gathered up some towels and washcloths and used my pocket money to use the machine just so I could watch. I gave up an ice cream cone just to have enough money for the washer. I thought I loved ice cream more than life till that day.

Post# 995808 , Reply# 3   5/31/2018 at 10:38 by Frigidaireguy (Wiston-Salem, NC)        

Our first Laundromat was put in around 1960 or so. It had Speed Queen washers that only had hot or warm water settings. Don't remember the brand of dryers.
We called it a "Washateria" instead of a Laundromat. The Laundromat in the town where my Grandmother lived had slant front bolt down Westinghouse washers which were later replaced with turquoise Frigidaires.

Post# 995824 , Reply# 4   5/31/2018 at 16:15 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

We used to have a 1960s-vintage Norge Village here. My mom did laundry there, and I did laundry there myself when I was a college student in the early '80s.

Post# 995830 , Reply# 5   5/31/2018 at 17:04 by appnut (TX)        

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Our first house had a Westinghouse Laundromat washateria at the end of our street.  I remember we went there a couple of times.  When we moved to the new house in 1961, the nearest washateria was a Norge Cleaning Village with TimeLine coin-op washers, dry cleaner washing machines, and 20 pound Norge front loaders (based on their combo).  The TimeLines were replaced in aroun d1964 or 1965 with commercial washers based upon our 1964 Norge, but with a smaller capacity.  They featured fabric switch for regular (Normal/Normal) speed combo and Perm Press (Normal Wash/Slow spin speed). 

Post# 995831 , Reply# 6   5/31/2018 at 17:25 by adam-aussie-vac (Canberra ACT)        

I'll try to get some pics of the washing machines there also did any laundromats use twin tub washing machines?

Post# 995859 , Reply# 7   5/31/2018 at 23:57 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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In the town I live in there used to be a laundromat that had all Bendix FLís from the late 40ís. They were up on a concrete ledge that had floor drains, and sometimes you could see the sudsy water in the trough when more than one machine began to drain at once. I used to go there in the early 70ís, before I got my first washer, a used Maytag wringer in 1972, because it was the cheapest laundomat around, 20 cents to wash and 10 cents to dry. The building is still there, about two blocks from where we live, but its now a used clothing store.

This is a college town, and I once saw Jon Provost, from TVís Lassie, doing his laundry there. He was going to college here. He even settled her in Sonoma Co. The last I heard he was working as a Real Estate agent. Over the years Iíve seen him at Mervynís dept. store in Petaluma and an Antique Store in Sebastopol.


Post# 995945 , Reply# 8   6/1/2018 at 18:54 by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Some I've snagged online over the years, some from the web and some have been posted by members here. (One appliance store pic snuck in, we can do those next!)

We used a Maytag laundromat for a couple years after we moved to the city in 69. A local Maytag distributor, Jenco, built and equipped their "Highlander Centers" with Maytag washers.

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Post# 996010 , Reply# 9   6/2/2018 at 16:10 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I remember going to the washateria with my mom when our washer had "tore up" as she would say. It was Westinghouse equipped, and was in an older building that had been an auto dealer at one time.

We also would sometimes visit the washateria in Seminary, MS near where my grandfather lived; I think it had Frigidaire washers. After my uncle and aunt built a house nearby, mom would use their washer.

Post# 996063 , Reply# 10   6/3/2018 at 08:37 by abcomatic (Bradford, Illinois)        

I am from Pontiac, Il and as a kid the first laundromat that I was first in opened in 1958 and was equipped with Norge washers and Heubish dryers. Another laundromat had Speed Queen machines and the third one had whatever the appliance dealer there sold. Speed Queen, Hamilton and Easy.
After awhile some of the Speed Queens were replace by large Wascomat machines that had a huge tub in them.

Post# 996129 , Reply# 11   6/4/2018 at 00:53 by 70series ( Connecticut.)        

In my hometown growing up, we had 3 laundromats within a 2 mile span. The one at the north end of town had all 1970s Maytags. The one right near my house had all Zanussi front loaders, and my mother used to go there to wash our large bathroom rug. These were replaced by Wascomat front loaders when the laundromat was rebuilt after being destroyed in a gas explosion in 1985. Nobody was hurt, thank God; the explosion occurred during the night. The third laundromat, which was a half mile south of my house had all 1970s solid tub Speed Queens.

The Maytag and Speed Queen laundromats had gold top loaders. I cannot be sure of the colors, but they were in that neighborhood.

Post# 996877 , Reply# 12   6/11/2018 at 19:03 by rll70sman (Hastings, Minnesota)        
Zanussi front-loaders

70 series or anyone else,

Does anyone have pictures of Zanussi commercial front-loaders? Several laundromats in the area where I grew up had them. They seemed to last forever and did an excellent job of washing. I always thought it was cool to see them do a spin-drain instead of a tumble-drain.

Post# 996924 , Reply# 13   6/12/2018 at 00:50 by Launderess (Quiet Please, Thereīs a Lady on Stage)        

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Post# 996945 , Reply# 14   6/12/2018 at 10:34 by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

Were those Zanussis hard-mount like the typical American front-loading commercials, or did they have suspension and a door boot?

Post# 996972 , Reply# 15   6/12/2018 at 15:59 by Launderess (Quiet Please, Thereīs a Lady on Stage)        

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Going by what is in advert copy would say those Zanussi washers were similar to other commercial front loaders on market at time. "No clutches, transmissions, or pumps to break" tells one at least these were hard mount machines with gravity drains.

Searched internet and couldn't find anything more on these washers. Maybe if one has time will try Zanussi and Italian word for "laundromat" to see if there is something.

Going by ad copy Zanussi had an office right here in Manhattan, NY on Madison Avenue. Thus they must have sold more machines than just what were in the linked laundromat pictures. All probably have long been scrapped.

Post# 998397 , Reply# 16   6/25/2018 at 19:13 by rll70sman (Hastings, Minnesota)        
Zanussi commercial front-loaders

There they are! Thank you, Launderess! Oh, how I miss those. My family knew the owners of one of the laundromats that had both double- and triple-load machines. I got to go in the service bay immediately behind the machines and watch the mechanicals. Zanussi washers in fact did have a gravity drain system. A valve would snap open at the beginning of each spin, sending a torrent of water into the drain trough. Cycle sequence was a quick three- or four-minute prewash, about a 30- to 45-second spin, at least a ten-minute wash, another brief spin, three rinses with a brief spin in between, about a five-minute final spin, and about a minute fluff. Rinse temperatures were warm with a hot or warm wash and cold with a cold or permanent press wash. Water levels came about half way up the door window, but these machines were made at a time when both soap and phosphate detergents were in use (laundromat built about 1971 or '72). More water equated to thoroughly-clean clothes and no residue.

Post# 1000626 , Reply# 17   7/18/2018 at 04:32 by Launderess (Quiet Please, Thereīs a Lady on Stage)        
Another laundromat Zanussi

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Here ya go!

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Post# 1000719 , Reply# 18   7/19/2018 at 03:06 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
We had 3 in my hometown

One is still operating, It has a few Norge front loaders, yes, NORGE front loaders still running, and also great big old round topped Milnors, the Norgese are gradually being replaced with new front loaders, but they still have a few ANCIENT Cissel dryers, the laundry looks like two laundromats in one...That's because when it opened in the late 50s it was segregated and was divided with a wall, in 64 when the laws changed they opened up a space between the two, The others now closed were a Norge Village, and one that had PHILCO BENDIX front loaders AND High Frequency PHILCO top loaders!

Post# 1000721 , Reply# 19   7/19/2018 at 04:03 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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My home town had one laundromat called "Spanky's Wash Tub" and was owned by Spanky Green.  His parents owned Green's Furniture and they were a Maytag dealer.  He had Maytags in his laundromat.  Mr Green was also a teacher at the high school.   He taught my Economics class.

Post# 1000804 , Reply# 20   7/20/2018 at 06:15 by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
When I was about 7 or 8 . . .

. . . years old living in the small town of Wake Forest, NC, there was an old house downtown. One day my mother needed to see the lady who lived there. When we went in, I was dumbfounded to see a room with Bendix washing machines on three walls. Most of them were diving bell models, but there were several "Deluxe" models (a little taller and more square). I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Each machine had a box of Oxydol detergent on the floor beside it. Four machines on the back wall, four on the front wall, and six on the side wall. She had one extractor and a large gas fired dryer. Each machine drained using their pumps.

It was a laundrymat. The lady's name was Mrs. Wilson. After that, whenever possible, I would go to visit Mrs. Wilson and "help" her run her business. She was a bit hesitant at first but soon realized I knew what I was doing and could be a big help. It was a wonderful experience for me.

Of course, now, the house is gone and so are all those wonderful Bendix machines. But I've still got beautiful memories of working in that laundrymat.

My family moved to Winston-Salem, NC in 1956 and it wasn't long before I discovered a laundry at Thruway Shopping Center which had 20 large Bendix "double load" machines all in a row, all using gravity drain. The lady who worked there lived not far from us. My school let out at 1:00 on Friday and I could ride the school bus to Thruway and "work" with Mrs. Cameron until they closed at 9:00 PM. This was not a coin laundry. Customers would simply drop off their dirty clothes and the "staff" would wash and dry them. Then she and her husband would drop me off a block from our house on their way home.

The shopping center is still there, but the laundrymat is long gone. However, fond memories remain with me.

Jerry Gay

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