Thread Number: 77683  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Brand new Never used: 1975 Wilkins Servis 506 automatic
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Post# 1017025   12/6/2018 at 02:12 (225 days old) by mayfan69 (Brisbane Queensland Australia)        

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Hi everyone,

Well you dont see this everyday: a brand new never used 1975 Wilkins Servis automātic!

I got this off our version of Craigslist and the best thing? It was FREE!! That's right the seller was giving it away: he bought it at an estate sale.

Needless to say I jumped at the chance to get it. I did have to pay for freight but with something like this, that's a small price to pay.

On initial inspection the only thing that seems to be wrong are the motor rollers have perished, which I'm sure I have some spares. A water test will have to wait.

And yes: this is a Maytag clone.


  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 10         View Full Size

Post# 1017028 , Reply# 1   12/6/2018 at 03:48 (225 days old) by StrongEnough78 (California)        

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Awesome find!!! Congratulations!!!

Post# 1017031 , Reply# 2   12/6/2018 at 06:24 (225 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Congratulations on finding this treasure! Brand New, great machine and free!

Post# 1017036 , Reply# 3   12/6/2018 at 07:28 (224 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Wow Leon, What an great find

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And it goes to show some of the best things in life are free.


I always love seeing the slight differences between these Australian Wilkins Servis and the US Maytag machines, you can see areas where WS did something better and vs versa.


If you think the US MT rollers would fit I can send you some, keep us posted when you connect it up, you could do a 1st load video.


John L.

Post# 1017039 , Reply# 4   12/6/2018 at 07:41 (224 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Congratulations on a great find!  And free is even better!  Did Maytag own an interest in WS?

Post# 1017040 , Reply# 5   12/6/2018 at 08:25 (224 days old) by gizmo (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Au)        

Wow! That is something special.
what is the yellow one next to it? Another Wilkins? They often seemed to do bold colours.

Post# 1017075 , Reply# 6   12/6/2018 at 13:49 (224 days old) by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        

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AND, it's s SUDS-SAVER model to boot!

What a fantastic find!


Post# 1017084 , Reply# 7   12/6/2018 at 14:24 (224 days old) by scoots (Chattanooga TN)        

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Warmest congratulations for a MIB purchase. And at the right price too... so happy this didn't get scooped up by the scrap vultures.

Post# 1017090 , Reply# 8   12/6/2018 at 14:47 (224 days old) by lowefficiency (Iowa)        

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eurekastar wrote:
>> Did Maytag own an interest in WS?

I too am interested in this.

Was it a cooperative agreement? Or was it more of a Tu-4/B-29 sort of situation?
Were parts shared, different but designed to be interchangeable, or just of a generally very similar design?

Post# 1017143 , Reply# 9   12/7/2018 at 00:09 (224 days old) by mit634 (Sydney)        

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That looks like an amazing find - good on you !

Post# 1017144 , Reply# 10   12/7/2018 at 00:38 (224 days old) by gizmo (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Au)        
Aussie models related to overseas models

Leon will probably be able to give a much more knowledgeable answer than me for this specific case (Wilkins Servis connection to Maytag) but this sort of thing is very common here, and not just with washers but throughout manufacturing industry.

Australia is a small population in a huge country, in the 1970s we were about 15 million give or take, now 24 million. Our land mass is about the same size as the continental United States. It has simply made economic sense to pay a license fee to locally manufacture an overseas engineered product, rather than start from scratch and re-invent the wheel for a tiny market. Just about all our washing machines were made here either by an overseas owned company (GE, Hoover) or an Aussie company licensing an overseas design (Email made Westinghouse, Malleys made Whirlpool.) I don't know about Simpson, their Fluid Drive was based on a Beam design I vaguely recall, or maybe Speed Queen? Their later models were unique to Australia but the transmissions looked a bit Maytag to me. (Agitator and shaft looked very Maytag.)

Some companies did a bit of both, for example Hoover Australia made Hoovermatic twinnies pretty much the same as the UK ones, but kept an older model in production after it was updated in the UK; their full size top loaders were to a Blackstone design but got "Australianized" over successive model updates; Hoover front loaders were originally slope front Keymatics made almost identical to the Welsh equivalent, later Hoover front loaders were at first imported from the UK to a revised Aussie specification (3236H), this model was later manufactured in Australia with substantial modifications, including stainless steel inner and (later) outer drums, no heaters in base models, no dispenser drawers, different timers and much shorter cycles. (the Zodiac series.) Their mid-size top loaders were based on popular Japanese models, changed to incorporate existing generic Aussie parts.
Wilkins Servis was similar, they made wringer washers and twin tubs to a UK design, when large top load autos became popular they did a deal to use Maytag technology rather than have to engineer a new model from scratch, at huge cost for a tiny market. (They didn't have anything equivalent in their UK model range.) These models that used technology they licensed from overseas companies were often badged as "International Series." They also sold a small Japanese washer, like the tiny GE that was sold in the USA for a while, it was another of the International series. I had one, they screwed everything in knots just like the GE ones do. The Wilkins Servis one was sourced from Toshiba from memory. (I had one and spare parts came in Toshiba packaging.)

Post# 1017150 , Reply# 11   12/7/2018 at 01:40 (224 days old) by mayfan69 (Brisbane Queensland Australia)        
Wilkins Servis connection to Maytag

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Hi Chris,


You're on the right track. 


The story of Wilkins Servis' connection to Maytag (as I've been told) was that another Australian brand (don't know their name) acquired the rights from Maytag USA to build MT machines under their own Australian name. Before this could happen, this brand went into receivership so Wilkins Servis bought them out and so they thought the rights to build MT machines under the Wilkins Servis name in the form of the 'International 400 Series'


The Wilkins Servis machines are very similar to MT machines of the era with some slight differences. Later Wilkins machines (the 2nd generation 500 series) had plastic outer tubs and stainless steel inner bowls. 


Now, apparently, Maytag were never aware Wilkins Servis were building their machine until AFTER Wilkins Servis went bankrupt around 1978. An engineer visiting from Maytag noticed a Wilkins machine in the test lab of the Hoover factory in the 1980's, but by this time it was too late to do anything.


Oh, and yes Chris the machine next to the 506 is another Wilkins 506 in the 'Mod Yellow' colour.




Post# 1017164 , Reply# 12   12/7/2018 at 07:15 (224 days old) by gizmo (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Au)        
a mystery...

That's interesting Leon.

So which Aussie washing machine company closed up about the right time for that sequence of events? A company that had an existing range of washers but nothing in the large top loader category? Two come to mind, Stampco and Lightburn. My money would be on Lightburn, mainly because Lightburn was based in South Australia, as was Wilkins Servis. Stampco was based in Clayton, Victoria.

The link below shows a Stampco large auto washer in image 14 of the list - does it look familiar to anybody? Whose technology is inside?


Post# 1017186 , Reply# 13   12/7/2018 at 11:02 (223 days old) by MrSmokey (new hampshire)        

Could you post more shots of the mod yellow one?

Post# 1017188 , Reply# 14   12/7/2018 at 11:20 (223 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        

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Wow Leon, what wonderful find, that is so awesome, CONGRATS! 


Any chance you're ready to share any updates on your new "laundry barn"?   Looks like you've started moving in...


Matthew (MrSmokey), on the "mod yellow" washer, check out Leon's thread from 2015:




Post# 1017196 , Reply# 15   12/7/2018 at 12:54 (223 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        
Great find!

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Keep us updated!

Can you also post a closeup of the tech sheet glued to the outer tub?

Post# 1017205 , Reply# 16   12/7/2018 at 13:30 (223 days old) by simpsomatic (Melb, Aust-now Palm Springs,US)        


At some point in time Stampco was bought out by Turner or Turner was bought out by Stampco. There is a thread and photo somewhere of the two identical machines separately branded. It may have been from Leon. It shows the interior of the machines, they were solid tub with perforated insert and operated on the overflow principal. There is also a thread showing a picture of the workers at Turner assembling the automatics next to rows and rows of the interior wash bowl before it was placed in the machine.

Post# 1017207 , Reply# 17   12/7/2018 at 13:34 (223 days old) by unclejohn (Qc/Canada)        
That is impressive ...

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... And, btw, I like that 'fifties-blue' agitator which has an especially cool vintage look to it.

Post# 1017372 , Reply# 18   12/8/2018 at 18:03 (222 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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How wonderful Leon.

Terrific Find. Will you have to expand your New Show Room / Warehouse ??? ; )

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