Thread Number: 82527  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
THOR Dishwasher Tub
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Post# 1065909   4/4/2020 at 17:24 (1,417 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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So I went and picked up the Thor dishwasher tub that was on FB Marketplace. It was just 10 miles away in North Minneapolis. We were able to completely practice social distancing which was good since it was the first time I left the house in 13 days.

Here are the pictures of it being unpacked from it's box and what it takes (in order to install it in the machine). More to come. It even has it's own lid separate from the clothes washer lid to keep all parts separate between laundry and dishes. The water in the dishwasher tub, just like in the washer tub never touches the outer tub until it's drained away out of the specific tub. centrifugal force keeps the water in the dishwasher tub until the bottom stops spinning then the dish water falls into the outer tub to drained away.

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Post# 1065910 , Reply# 1   4/4/2020 at 17:30 (1,417 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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The Office of Price Administration was abolished effective May 29, 1947, according to Wikipedia. So, wow, this dates from before then!

Post# 1065911 , Reply# 2   4/4/2020 at 17:33 (1,417 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        

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I dying too see how well it cleans. 


The idea of different prices in different zones, that would not fly today. Well, except with cable tv.



Post# 1065942 , Reply# 3   4/4/2020 at 19:25 (1,417 days old) by Kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

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Excellent score!  Anxiously awaiting additional pictures.  




Post# 1065945 , Reply# 4   4/4/2020 at 19:31 (1,417 days old) by peteski50 (New York)        

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Robert this is a Great score
Best Of Luck with it!

Post# 1065952 , Reply# 5   4/4/2020 at 19:45 (1,417 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Ooooh, that's a sweet attachment. Now you just need a Lustron all-porcelain home to go with it.

Post# 1065962 , Reply# 6   4/4/2020 at 20:39 (1,417 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Thor DW Attachment For Their Washer

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Wow this is really cool, I want to see a Bob load washed in it to break it in after it had to wait 70 years to actually be used.


Around 1964 my Brother Jeff and I found a Thor thrown away and it had the DW attachment with it and we marveled at how it was built and wondered how well it would work, well it looks like we will finally find out.


John L.

Post# 1065970 , Reply# 7   4/4/2020 at 21:19 (1,417 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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That's just awesome!  And all of those components are metal?  So accustomed to things like that today being some type of plastic.


Is it really "simple" enough and "lightweight" enough for the typical, late 1940's housewife to switch everything out between the two functions?



Post# 1065975 , Reply# 8   4/4/2020 at 22:49 (1,417 days old) by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

What a great find!

I have to admit I'm fascinated by these machines. I had the great fortune of spending a weekend with one at my first (second?) wash-in hosted by Perc-O-Prince up in Mass.

I have all sorts of orthopaedic issues but I don't recall anything being heavy or unwieldy making the switch between washer and dishwasher by my self. That was under most intense supervision, rest assured!

The dishwasher did clean well. I recall that HOW it was loaded was crucial. If you deviated from the 'formula' the results were not good. I'm afraid I do not recall whether the loading instructions were in the manual or if they were discovered by trial and error by the owner. Was there a manual in the box? If so, are there loading instructions?

I would never have one as a daily driver, but if I could pick any machine just for fun, it'd be a Thor!

Please keep us posted. The more pics the better, pretty please?

Post# 1065985 , Reply# 9   4/5/2020 at 00:47 (1,417 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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So the first load went reasonably well, however loading will be a bit of trial and error. I didn't get the pint size glasses to fit in the upper rack, however I need to try loading them backwards to see it I have better luck. Everything came out clean with the exception of a few left over food bits. I used a Cascade Platinum detergent pack. The manual doesn't go into great detail on how to load the machine. It suggest two 2 minute pre-rinses, one 3 minute wash and one 2 minute rinse. I gave it two pre-rinses, one wash and two rinses. I was planning on letting the wash cycle run for 15 minutes, however after about 10 minutes water pressure inside the machine was greatly reduced due to water being slowly splashed into the outer tub and down the drain during the cycle. My hot water heater is set to nearly 145-150 so the dishes dried almost immediately once the cover was removed. Between cycles when you stop the machine you can clearly hear the water fall into the outer tub once the bottom catch plate stops spinning.

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Post# 1065988 , Reply# 10   4/5/2020 at 01:50 (1,417 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Many women at that time wouldn't have been weaklings, as they had worked in factories during the war, or done farm work. My mom didn't have a factory job (she was a phone operator 1943-45), but she had helped plow and plant on their farm before she married. She was still pretty strong when I was a kid - remember her using a shovel digging up a garden or flower bed for hours. Doubt she would have had any trouble with the Thor tubs.

Post# 1065989 , Reply# 11   4/5/2020 at 02:13 (1,417 days old) by chestermikeuk (Rainhill *Home of the RailwayTrials* Merseyside,UK)        
Thor Automagic Dishwasher

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Congratulations Robert on a fabulous find, what a treasure NIB from that time, when did you get the Thor Automagic Washer ? Its definately designed by engineers, and yes all parts are separate so no dirty diaper water ever crosses into the dishwasher.

I picked mine up few years ago and is currently with Darren in his new washroom awaiting a renovation. The gentleman seller was in his 70`s and selling the family farm, this was his mothers washing machine purchased when he was a kid, he tells the story the only time he was allowed to use it was on Christmas Day, he would lift the tub out with his fathers help and load the dishwasher tub and load it with the days dishes. The dishwasher tub was kept in a cupboard under the sink.

Post# 1065990 , Reply# 12   4/5/2020 at 02:14 (1,417 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
Congratulations, Robert!


That whirling pan in the bottom and the oscillating agitator drive operating the two jets were an ingenious way to get the washing action. The whirling pan in the bottom provided air circulation to help the drying and it was why the dishes were sort of vibrating in the racks as the ladies removed them to give them a towel drying. It was perhaps the only dishwasher to ever give dishes a shaking to hasten the drying.




This might also be the only dishwasher with "percolator" washing and rinsing action with the periods with no action on the return stroke of the agitator mimicking  the periods between water perking up to the top of the pot. I'll bet it was also the only dishwasher to sit on three feet. 


Post# 1065991 , Reply# 13   4/5/2020 at 02:24 (1,417 days old) by brisnat81 (Brisbane Australia)        

Does that mean in Dishes wash mode, it spins and agitates simultaneously, whereas in clothes wash, it only agitates?

I assume that the stop between wash and dry is to drop the water and then dry creates enough airflow to dry the dishes?

I remember those plates from the last time we stayed with you :P

Post# 1065995 , Reply# 14   4/5/2020 at 04:01 (1,417 days old) by Keymatic (London / UK)        

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Hi Robert,
Fantastic find - congrats !!! NIB as well - excellent.
Luving the lid as well, you have a brand new Thor Washer & Dishwasher there !!

Post# 1065999 , Reply# 15   4/5/2020 at 05:52 (1,417 days old) by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
Growing up in the 1950s . . .

. . . we had a Thor washer -- for clothes only.  It was fascinating to me to be able to make it work.


We had a friend who had the dishwasher part of the Thor.  I had to stay with her one time when my parents went out of town.  I remember being fascinated watching her load their breakfast dishes into the machine.  The plates had dried egg yolk on them.  I never thought they would come clean.  


When the washing was done, everything in the tub was spotless, even the egg yolk plates.  I was amazed.


That's a great find, Robert.  I only wish I was close enough to watch the Thor in operation.


Thanks for sharing.


Jerry Gay

Post# 1066023 , Reply# 16   4/5/2020 at 10:41 (1,416 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Very cool video

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Mike, thanks for posting !!! Sounds like there's stones inside the pump?? What is that noise?


 Robert can you add more water as the cycle is running?????

Post# 1066033 , Reply# 17   4/5/2020 at 11:14 (1,416 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Robert can you add more water as the cycle is running????? --> You sure can Jon, as a matter of fact during the pre-rinse and final rinse you can just leave the water running, it's the first and only dishwasher with an over-flow rinse! Pre-rinsing without running the hot tap beforehand so it starts in cold and slowly warms the dishes and machine over the course of a minute or two and flushes a lot of food down the drain. That seems to work well.

The capacity is very limited, but for a 1945 design it's really cool. You can leave racks out to washer larger items. The glass KitchenAid mixer bowl barely fit into the machine and I wasn't sure sure if it was going to come out clean but it did. I've noticed during the wash cycle if I turn fill on for just 5 seconds every 3 minutes or so it would keep the pressure nearly full.

I'm finding just a small amount bits of food that don't get washed away the first time usually are gone with subsequent loads. The smell of the dishwasher detergent when the machine is running is very strong compared to other dishwashers and it's a nice smell!

You can see in these pictures the larger items prevents the upper rack to fit in the machine.

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Post# 1066039 , Reply# 18   4/5/2020 at 11:29 (1,416 days old) by gredmondson (San Francisco, California 94117 USA)        

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That is so cool!

Post# 1066042 , Reply# 19   4/5/2020 at 11:44 (1,416 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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when did you get the Thor Automagic Washer ?

Hi Mike, great video too, thanks for doing that! This Thor machine was never used when I got it, so finding the DW never used was amazing too. Here is the original thread from a few years ago...


Post# 1066058 , Reply# 20   4/5/2020 at 13:26 (1,416 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Robert, is the pan in Reply 17 a piece of West Bend Flavor Seal Cookware? What brand of detergent are you using in it? Do you add it through the water fill opening?

Post# 1066068 , Reply# 21   4/5/2020 at 14:44 (1,416 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Tom, that's "Queen" brand waterless cookware. And I'm using Cascade Platinum packets. However I'm a bit worried, I went to the supermarket today for the first time in two weeks and they were completely out of dishwasher detergent, I haven't seen empty dw detergent shelves before. I love using this Thor machine, but it's not efficient to use those tablets in it when I'm not sure the next time I'll be able to get more considering the capacity is minor to say the least! I don't put the packs in the detergent slot because I'm afraid it's going to block the water hole into the tub and spray water everywhere out of the lid.

Of all times to not be able to get DW detergent!!!!

Post# 1066075 , Reply# 22   4/5/2020 at 15:34 (1,416 days old) by spiralator60 (Los Angeles)        
Dishwasher Detergent


Did Thor recommend or suggest a particular brand of detergent to use in the instruction manual?

Thanks, and congratulations on your find!

Post# 1066081 , Reply# 23   4/5/2020 at 16:14 (1,416 days old) by bigalsf (Salt Lake City)        

Congratulations Robert! That's a very interesting design; i'm sure you're having fun with it! I have a question, does the spray arm oscillate back and forth? Tom described it as "percolator washing." Does that mean it does not spray continuously? I can't quite tell from the video.

Thanks so much for sharing this (& to Mike as well for the video)!

Post# 1066083 , Reply# 24   4/5/2020 at 16:36 (1,416 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Big Al, The spray arms only spray when they move the open end that's down in the water against the direction of the swirling water so the back stroke of the agitator arms that hold the spray nozzles causes the pause in spraying.


Robert, I thought that the detergent was poured in through the fill opening. You are adding the detergent after the pre rinse by stopping the water fill and lifting the cover to throw one of the packets in while the machine is drained? I thought that the directions I saw showed the detergent added via a little scoop that channeled it in through the fill hole, but that was a long time ago and I am probably foggy on it. I would have thought that this machine would be a candidate for Bubble Bandit because of its relatively short wash cycle. If we ever reopen, I will have to check the consumer magazines to see if they ever tested this dishwashing process.


So this Queen Cookware, does it say Regal or West Bend anywhere on the pan?  The handle and the knob on the lid remind me of the trim on those brands. The limited capacity was probably why Hotpoint and KitchenAid, among others, used to advertise that the machines would home a whole day's dishes for a family of four. Of course, if they were not pre rinsed, the short wash cycles, especially of the KA, would not clean them very well. 

Post# 1066129 , Reply# 25   4/5/2020 at 20:56 (1,416 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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You are adding the detergent after the pre rinse by stopping the water fill and lifting the cover to throw one of the packets in while the machine is drained? I thought that the directions I saw showed the detergent added via a little scoop that channeled it in through the fill hole, but that was a long time ago and I am probably foggy on it.

You're exactly right Tom, my worry is that channel in the lid is relatively thin as it was designed for powered detergent, if I try and stuff one of those detergent packets down it, it may back up as the water is flowing in and splash back out the top of the lid down onto the walls and floor. See the image of that channel below...

As for the cookware, I just looked it doesn't say anything but "Queen" on it.

  View Full Size

This post was last edited 04/05/2020 at 21:37
Post# 1066139 , Reply# 26   4/5/2020 at 22:20 (1,416 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

It's a good bet that Queen cookware was made by either Regal (who now owns West Bend) or Vollrath.

Post# 1066202 , Reply# 27   4/6/2020 at 09:53 (1,415 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Tom, That's what I think, too.  Hans will know for sure. The awful thing is that I found the name AMWAY associated with the cookware. I know Robert did not buy it new so somebody else fattened Amway's coffers originally. Is it pronounced kween or KA ween?


Robert, when I mentioned adding the detergent through the lid, I did not know that you were using the pods. Yes, expensive for the small number of items washed per load. What is the material used to make the black top? I guess it has to have some weight to avoid being dislodged by the water.

Post# 1066211 , Reply# 28   4/6/2020 at 10:29 (1,415 days old) by Mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        

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When I saw this for sale, I wanted--but forgot-- to ask if anyone in the club either owned or used this fascinating, unique and very "green" dishwashing machine.

Great Video, Michael B. De Mille, as usual. Raindrops on the lake--that's what the surface of the lake looks like from underwater when I'm swimming in the rain.

Got the answer. Thanks.

Wegman's was out of dishwasher detergent Saturday night. Out of dumb luck and impulse, I actually squatted to the floor and found two boxes of their house brand powder on the bottom shelf all the way in the back. I took one, never having used it before and assuming they'll have the usual suspects back soon.
Worth a try, people, to squat and seek.

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