Thread Number: 79283  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
How did your interest in washing machines start?
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Post# 1032118   5/8/2019 at 11:49 by Michael (London /England)        

I can remember as a child, mum had a Thor washing machine with pedals and a round glass lid.This machine kept me entertained as when she pressed the pedal to empty, invariably the hose would jump out the sink and flood the floor.
After, our Hotpoint twin tub was great fun watching..the dub dub sound is still clear in my memory.Also, friends had either Hoovermatics, with the propeller at the side, or Ariston, with the propeller at the bottom which I didn't like as much as the agitator of the Hotpoint
What really fascinated me though was in 1976, our first front loader, a Hoover Keymatic did a simple keyplate, with a slight push, do all it had to do i was hooked!..the rest is history.
What are your early memories

Post# 1032121 , Reply# 1   5/8/2019 at 12:14 by DE409 (Maryland)        

Just using the same washer and dryer for most of my life. It still has the mark on it in Sharpie where mom showed me what setting to use when I learned to dry.

Post# 1032124 , Reply# 2   5/8/2019 at 12:29 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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Thatís a very good question. I guess it started with the memories of the 1997 Maytag Dependable Care washer, and the mid 80ís Kenmore 70 series 29Ē electric dryer at my old house. It all took off in 2015 for me when I stumbled across the Maytag A700 Kevin aka Revvinkevin had up on YouTube, and the rest is history. I discovered many other YouTube channels of vintage machines, and a good amount are from people here on AW.

Post# 1032129 , Reply# 3   5/8/2019 at 13:14 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I remember our

55 Pulsamatic, I can clearly remember holding me at 4 years old while the serviceman worked on it, I remember it was going to cost 60.00 to fix and as it was 14 years old then Mother decided to get a new one It was a WCDAN solid tub, Our next door neighbor had a 63 Lady Kenmore that I clearly remember.

Post# 1032132 , Reply# 4   5/8/2019 at 13:55 by Washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        
It Was the Ď62 Wards Signature That Did it For Me...

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My grandmother had a BOL machine and the action along with the sounds it made had me hooked! Although my Momís Ď63 Frigidaire Custom Deluxe was okay, and my other grandma had a Wards wringer washer, the Ď62 Signature automatic machine was the greatest! Still looking for one although rare as henís teeth...

Post# 1032134 , Reply# 5   5/8/2019 at 14:14 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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Watching my Mom do the laundry in our basement in her Bendix Economat. I so vividly remember how the clothes were all mashed onto the agitator when the cycle was finished. Also, watching my Aunt Imogeneís 1955 Westinghouse slant front washing machine. It was fascinating, almost as good as TV was in the early 50ís.


Post# 1032135 , Reply# 6   5/8/2019 at 14:16 by Frigidaireguy (Wiston-Salem, NC)        

My Grandmother had a bolt down Bendix Standard in the kitchen.  I was glued to the window with the clothes tumbling.  I remember taking the rubber seal off the door and also the drain catcher (Hard to call them lint traps) and not getting them back on right and the next time she washed water ran all over the floor.  From that day forth I was hooked.



Post# 1032139 , Reply# 7   5/8/2019 at 15:39 by Keymatic (Surrey.U.K)        

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Hey Michael,
Good to read your post and hear your experiences of washers as you grew up, like you i too have fond memories of a Thor Automagic washer, not my parents but a lady who use to run a holiday let in Cornwall that we use to stay with for 2 weeks a year, i use to help / watch as she did all the linen on a Monday morning, heavy brown sandalís pushing down on the pedals to change the operation from wash to spin etc
I have had 5 thor automagicís, 4x pedal operated and 1x lever control, below is a pic of the ones in my collection.
Good thread

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Post# 1032144 , Reply# 8   5/8/2019 at 16:45 by Michael (London /England)        

Those machines look pristine!!! that has certainly brought back happy memorys...

Post# 1032145 , Reply# 9   5/8/2019 at 17:01 by Michael (London /England)        

Your name, being "Keymatic" Keith, did you ever have one of these? I so remember all the clicks and whirls and moaning wheezing sounds it made, exclusive to Hoovers! It really was a machine ahead of its time! Where else could you get a machine, that in addition, did an auto prewash on most programmes AND have a 3 part dispenser..most were only 2...
Being in the Cypriot community, most housewives followed suite if something was good, so I took many to our local department store to buy our model, then the 1100 model with protruding door, then the last model with flush door..everybody was very happy with it...till I went to a neighbours house..who had a basic was SO quiet!! and when it did the drain spin, I was hooked!! I HAD to have one!
Eventually, about 1983, the brushes went on the Keymatic, and armed with my £139, I went off to Rumbelows in Brixton to claim my Indesit 2093!

Post# 1032147 , Reply# 10   5/8/2019 at 17:09 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
A '55 Whirlpool wringer did it..

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That was the washer I have the earliest memories of seeing in use. We had a '64 GE V12 Filter-Flo washer and matching dryer but the plumbing and wiring in the house where we lived was so unreliable that it was safer to use the Whirlpool! Not long after that we moved and I remember watching that GE washer as often as I could! Must be why I have a soft spot for GE washers to this day...

Post# 1032160 , Reply# 11   5/8/2019 at 19:37 by lotsosudz (Sacramento, CA)        
57, 60 series Kenmore

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After our Bendix Economat died in late 56, my parents bought a 57 60 series Kenmore. I spent hours watching the Pregnant Roto Swirl agitator, with the waterfall filter, washing clothes for a family of 7. It had two speeds, and two cycles, Normal, and Delicate. It ran 10 years, washing 10-12 loads a week. 15 loads after camping. I was totally hooked!

Post# 1032164 , Reply# 12   5/8/2019 at 20:25 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Mine started as a little kid. My mother had her Kenmore wringer in our basement with separate tubs to rinse and I would grab the clothes coming from the rinse tub backwards thru the wringer. To her first Kenmore Cycla Fabric and on thru many to my 1984 Maytags and 1948 Kenmore wringer that I still use today. I loved to play with anyones toy washers as a kid but liking these were not being a real boy, play sports, no wonder I hate sports now.

Post# 1032181 , Reply# 13   5/9/2019 at 04:54 by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
I grew up . . .

. . . with a Maytag wringer first which I managed to get my arm caught in the wringer when I was "helping" Mother wash.

Then we got a Thor Automagic which was a great machine. Did all the washing and rinsing in one tub which spun to get out the water.

Then was the Maytag AMP which was kind of boring because I couldn't see any action since all the electric connections were in the lid. When one opened the lid, everything stopped -- that is until I figured out how to take apart the lid and operate the mercury-filled switches by hand.

One neighbor had a bolt-down Bendix which emptied into a sump. The sump pump pumped the water to the back yard. Fascinating!!!

Two neighbors had Bendix Economat. Interesting to see the clothes mashed up against the agitator when it was finished.

I drove neighbors crazy every Saturday morning calling to see if I could come over and help wash.

One neighbor had an Electrolux vacuum that when the bag was full, the back end would open and the bag would shoot out onto the floor.

Jerry Gay

Post# 1032184 , Reply# 14   5/9/2019 at 06:12 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
Tom's Special Interest

When was it not there? I remember playing in the kitchen sink with the water. When my Aunt Anne came to stay with me when my brother was born, she let me play in the sink until I fell in. She saw no harm. We got our waterfall front Kenmore in 52 when we moved to the house in Grand Ridge, IL. My parents sold the Maytag Master to my Aunt Mary who  still had it in the early 60s. I remember standing on a step stool to hold the cold water hose in the machine as it filled for rinse to save on hot water from the expensive to operate electric water heater. I wish I remembered the electric range we had until I was two, but my memory does not go back that far and in my early years, washing machines took up all of my brain space, except for the Hamilton Dryer our neighbor got in 1954. Mom and I were invited to see the new Hamiltons and I remember kneeling down on the floor to look in the dryer door window and watching white towels tumbling past the glass, bathed in the pinky-purple light of the Sunny Day germicidal lamp and the 40 watt incandescent bulb. Light, color and repetitive motions, just the things a young Aspy brain needs.  I did not get an old Hamilton Dryer until more than 60 years had passed, but I knew that color of light when I saw it again. It is much harder to get down on my knees now than it was when I was 4. I am glad I have the kneeling bench for gardening to use as a prei dieu kneeler in front of the Hamilton.

Post# 1032197 , Reply# 15   5/9/2019 at 08:40 by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
The Felllowship of the Balance Ring

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I have been told by a few people who I respect that a lot of my "fixations" have the earmarks of symptoms exhibited by children who used to be diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome (now considered as part of the Autism spectrum). Things like fascination with water movement, spinning and obsessions with things that are similar with color differences are common points. I would accept that explanation without hard feelings because I have gotten to know a couple of my friends' children who are diagnosed with Autism who exhibit a lot of behaviors that I observed in my Father and, yikes,in myself. It made some sense and explained a hell of a lot of things.

Please understand in writing this I am in NO WAY SUGGESTING THAT AN INTEREST IN VINTAGE APPLIANCES IS PATHOLOGY.  But remember that until I met you folks, I was the only person in the world that was interested in washing machines. I have stories that are similar to what everyone has written so far and the important point that I am trying to make here is that, whatever the cause, now that I know that I am not alone and have actually celebrated what my sister still calls my "fixation" with things; I can publicize and enjoy my interest. I wish I had had the spine to do this alone, but it is a really good thing to know that I'm not. Sound familiar?

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Post# 1032200 , Reply# 16   5/9/2019 at 09:19 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

My parents would never believe that scratchy wool clothing was like bathing my skin in fire. No one understood that carbonated beverages hurt my mouth, but hearing Temple Grandin talk about these things was a revelation.


We have this space because some of the items in our collection were seen in a museum exhibit called Mechanical Brides by Robert who was overcome that someone else collected appliances.  You can  still buy the book on Amazon that was sold at the exhibition and some of our names are in the back. Needless to say, one of the icons of our collections, the Sunbeam Coffeemaster is part of the show.

Post# 1032202 , Reply# 17   5/9/2019 at 09:33 by golittlesport (California)        
Jerry Gay

I also started with a fixation on a wringer washer that I got my arm tangled in the wringer! I was two years old at the time and it was a Dexter washer. Thank goodness I still have my left arm! My mom would sit me on a stool next to the washer so she could keep an eye on me while she did the work of manually feeding the wringer and rinsing the laundry. I became mesmerized watching the action and the agitator oscillating back and forth.

Nana, mom's mother, had an Easy spindier and she would also let me watch so she could keep an eye on me. What else to do with a two year old while one worked a conventional washing machine other than cage them? Ha! She got herself a 1955 Frigidaire automatic and of course I had to watch that too -- a great show with the up and down washing action and dramatic spin cycle.

After four kids, my mom finally got herself an automatic -- a 1957 Westy MOL slant-front. That was a great machine to watch with a window and my mom felt I was safe with the automatic shut off should I open the door when she wasn't looking.

From that point on I was interested in everyone's washing machine and how they operated.

Post# 1032209 , Reply# 18   5/9/2019 at 10:55 by jeff_adelphi (Adelphi, Maryland, USA)        
Some AW club history

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For newer members that may want to know more about how this group got started.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO jeff_adelphi's LINK

Post# 1032224 , Reply# 19   5/9/2019 at 14:38 by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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Story goes that the paternal grandmother was babysitting and showed me their running 1956 WP Imperial.† Maybe I was fussing and she was trying for some distractions.† Something clicked and I was hooked.† I don't know what was my age but I don't remember the incident.† Next early story is Grandpa gave dad the family crank telephone, which I got ahold and disassembled into enough pieces that they couldn't figure how to reassemble.† I remember playing with the crank magneto unit but not doing the disassembly.

Post# 1032266 , Reply# 20   5/10/2019 at 05:19 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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As far back as I can remember I was watching Mother's 1966 Maytag basic PP washer "hot, warm, cold" and "small, medium, large" regular tub washer.  I learned earl on how to stick something in the switch so I could watch it.  Then when my neighbor babysat me she had a GE filterflo that would work with the lid that was a treat.  We got our first dishwasher when I was 3 in 1974, a KDS17A and it was always my job to push the button to start it every night.  I was mesmerized by the glass front dishwashers at Sears and would stand there forever watching them wash.  But my interest  wasn't just in washers and dryers and dishwashers.  Vacuums, mixers, Daddy's tools (wondered what made them work), engines (especially diesels)...I'm still that way. 

Post# 1032339 , Reply# 21   5/10/2019 at 20:13 by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        
Firsr Interest

My mothers 51 Westinghouse washer.I loved to watch it run.My grandmothers 63 Kenmore 800.My neighbors 54 Hamilton dryer with the rectangular window and germ light.I have a 1960 Hamilton in my collection now.My life is devoted to washing machines.I am building a Laundromat in my future home now.It will be the E-Z Sudsit Laundromat.

Post# 1032345 , Reply# 22   5/10/2019 at 20:59 by Blackstone (Springfield, Massachusetts)        
It's not a Blackstone, but....

blackstone's profile picture was in our back yard. We lived behind the store, so there was usually some type of old appliance in the yard.

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Post# 1032568 , Reply# 23   5/13/2019 at 14:47 by hoovermatic (UK)        
Sleep inducing

I was told by my mother that she discovered that if she wanted me to sleep as a baby she only had to put me near to the washing machine and the 'chug chug' of the agitator used to send me off. Even the spin dryer didn't wake me up. She said that once she even put the agitator on in her empty machine and it sent me to dreamland. I am guessing that is where it all started! It also helped that every house I went to as a child had a different type of machine so the interest grew and grew. Pictures in old mail order catalogues, appliance showrooms. I once went into a small independent showroom and there was a Hotpoint TL on display. When I lifted the lid it was plumbed in and actually washing clothes. I had to be dragged out the shop apparently.

I also thought that I was the only person in the world who had this fascination until I met a guy in Sydney who collected wringer washers and had them all over his apartment.

Post# 1032655 , Reply# 24   5/14/2019 at 19:16 by Paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Dad and Hotpoint

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My father was an engineer for Hotpoint, in the home-laundry department. 5600 W. Taylor. He was there from 1948 through the late 1980ís.
As a kid I would tour the plants, see washers, dryers, ranges and refrigerators being made.
And of course, as our stuff broke, we would pull it apart and fix it.
I had my own personal interest in electronics anyway and ended up in the television manufacturing industry. But as luck would have it, the Japanese company I worked for tapped into my appliance knowledge and I ended up doing training seminars on microwave ovens between training gigs for television repair, industrial video and the like.
Later on I did forensic evaluations on ďincidentsĒ for legal. That was interesting.

Post# 1033014 , Reply# 25   5/19/2019 at 04:10 by chestermikeuk (Rainhill *Home of the RailwayTrials* Merseyside,UK)        
How did your interest in washing machines start !!

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Mine was listening and watching mums trusty Servis Supertwin Mk2 from 1963, seeing it wheeled to the sink, filled with steaming water and then washed rinsed and spinning all the family of 6 washing, usually three times a week, mon wed fri, starting at 9am and finished by 11am all pegged on the line..

My gran used to pay us to catch sheets n clothing coming out of the back of the Hotpoint Empress wringer, paid us kids 1p a sheet, so we would take our money then go up to Haslams Top Shop, ( a local family convenience store at the top of the road)
where we would pick from the 1p sweet tray !!

Michael, fab story, those Hoover Keymatics where something else indeed, have included a couple of keymatic pics, was yours the A3008 ??

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Post# 1033203 , Reply# 26   5/20/2019 at 10:58 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
My mom first had a

wringer washer. I don't remember the make. Then she inherited my aunts Whirlpool with a push button lid latch. It had a faulty mix valve, because she filled it up with a hose. In 1964, she got a new Kenmore turquoise mode 70. I recall the whirring sound the gear box made while agitating, and the wig wag shifting between that, drain, and spin.

Post# 1033256 , Reply# 27   5/20/2019 at 21:10 by Losangeles (Muscle Shoals, AL 35661)        
My Interest began when...

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I was about six years old and I discovered our next door neighbor had a 55 Frigidaire Unimatic. Compared to our very early Kenmore this was the most interesting washer I had ever seen. The woman never minded me watching from beginning to end load after load. I was short for my age and she got a little step stool for me to stand on so I could see. I was most fascinated by the spin. I had never seen anything so fast. Made my mothers look positively turtle speed. After that I was hooked and stayed busy during the summers going from house to house on my street watching a Maytag, a Westinghouse and a Philco combination washer/dryer and then the 63 Frigidaire Imperial Custom with all the buttons and lighted panel. Of course I had to keep my insane interest under raps to keep my parent from having me committed. It wasn't till many years later later and being married to a very understanding woman that I brought home my first vintage washer.

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