Thread Number: 83649  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD Philco-Bendix WGG-C Washer
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Post# 1079876   7/5/2020 at 07:40 (1,250 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I would have loved to own this machine. I remember going into Firestone Tire Stores and Economy Auto Stores and opening the doors of these machines and inhaling the wonderful fragrance of all of the rubber gaskets and bellows. What a shame we in this nation maintained a prejudice against tumble-action washers for so many decades. And what a great shame that Bendix/AVCO tied up patent rights so that nobody else could make a tumble action washer in this country.

Post# 1079955 , Reply# 1   7/5/2020 at 18:45 (1,249 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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Patent office can at times be WAAAY too generous.  I mean, patenting springs?  Something very similar cursed the automobile industry for years, a patent so broad as to encompass any version of powered wagon. 

It took a concerted effort to have that patent annulled.


How did Westinghouse get around it?  Some clever counterpatent like tilting the drum?  Or did they just bend to Bendix?

Post# 1079970 , Reply# 2   7/5/2020 at 19:58 (1,249 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Wish Bendix hadn't gotten rid of the Magic Heater for hot washes.  Or even used for Medium washes like on the LK Combo.  

Post# 1079976 , Reply# 3   7/5/2020 at 20:47 (1,249 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Lack Of FL Washers In The 50s and On

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We always had Westinghouse and at last 9 different combos that were all FL washers, I don't think patents had much to do with the lack of FL AWs


CRs found they did not clean as well and they were leak and flood prone, Because Bendix bolt down washers were so popular it left a bad taste in consumers minds. If Bendix had updated their designs faster FL washers may have been much more popular sooner.


John L.

Post# 1079987 , Reply# 4   7/5/2020 at 23:27 (1,249 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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I never knew of anyone in my town or family who had a Bendix.

Post# 1080001 , Reply# 5   7/6/2020 at 05:53 (1,249 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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Always noticed people's washers, can't recall ever seeing Bendix in person outside a laundrymat.

Post# 1080004 , Reply# 6   7/6/2020 at 06:35 (1,249 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Good friends of the family who lived in Dallas, who were like additional grandparents, had a 1952-1954 Bendix washer & dryer.  They also had a Youngstown Jet Tower dishwasher with red coated racks.  The washer is one of those found in a POD.  The dryer was gas and didn't get used except during the winter.  It survived through the mid 1970s.  The next washer was an ex large capacity SQ.  

Post# 1080014 , Reply# 7   7/6/2020 at 07:22 (1,249 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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A neighbor down the block had a mid-50s Bendix combo, but it was pushed out of the way and replaced with a TOL '58 Frigidaire set. They must not have liked the combo; it was only a couple of years old. Also don't know where they acquired the Bendix, as there wasn't a dealer in town.

Post# 1080024 , Reply# 8   7/6/2020 at 09:41 (1,248 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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I saw lots of Bendix’s in peoples homes during the 50’s.  Our babysitter had one of the earlier diving bell models, our neighbor across the road had a similar model and one of the first Hamilton dryers, one of my Mom’s girlfriends from HS had one of those earlier models.  Also, the resort we went to in Chester, Calif. had a Bendix Combo.


My Mom’s first automatic was a Bendix Economat and my paternal grandma had an Economat too.



Post# 1080036 , Reply# 9   7/6/2020 at 12:02 (1,248 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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My parent's first automatic washer was a Bendix, acquired most likely around the time they bought their first house May/June, 1948.  Undoubtedly a bolt down model.  It's also the same said washer responsible for my washer obsession./  

Post# 1080037 , Reply# 10   7/6/2020 at 12:06 (1,248 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
Bendix FL Laundormats

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I forgot to mention that I used to go to a laundromat that was all Bendix FL’s, the old rounded top models.  It was coincidentally just two blocks from where I live.  At the time I lived in Petaluma, Calif., 8 miles south of here.  I used to go to this laundromat in 70’-71’ before I got my first washer in 72’, a used Maytag model J wringer.  I went to this Bendix laundromat because the machines fascinated me, and because it was the least expensive one around.


The machines sat on a raised concrete platform with floor drains.  It was only 20 cents to wash and 10 cents to dry. All the other laundromats were 30-35 cents to wash and 10-15 cents to dry.  I would usually use 2 or 3 of the Bendix machines and one dryer to dry all the wash loads, using 20 to 30 cents to get everything dry.  So for a max outlay of 90 cents I could wash and dry a weeks worth of laundry.  Since gas was only 28-32 cents a gal it made sense to drive the 8 miles to Cotati to do the laundry.


And an interesting story, once when I was doing my laundry there I happened to see Jon Provost, who played Timmy Martin on “Lassie”.  He’s 8 mo. older than I. He was attending SSU in town and he settled here in Sonoma County, and became a real estate agent.  I didn’t speak to him, but over the years I’ve seen him at least 3 more times in various stores.  Even celebrities had to go to the laundromat.


This building now houses a vintage/used clothing store.



Post# 1080042 , Reply# 11   7/6/2020 at 12:24 (1,248 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Eddie, did the laundromat have a double decker arrangement for the washers? There was a launderette in a shopping center that we used to go to that had a double-decker arrangement for the diving bells. It was not self service and they used to pack those machines so full that all you saw was the same piece going round and round in the suds that covered the glass. I was not yet 5 when I first saw this spectacle. On Saturdays, we would go to the Big Apple Super Market in the shopping center and I would always try to at least get a glimpse of the place.

Post# 1080043 , Reply# 12   7/6/2020 at 12:30 (1,248 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
Nope Tom,

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this laundromat wasn’t a double decker.  


I always thought that they did a better job than the other laundromats with either Maytag or SQ TL’s.  But it was the entertainment factor that made me gravitate to this laundromat.  I always had a fascination with FL’s.  This began when my favorite aunt got her Westinghouse slant from pair in 56’.  I thought, and still think that they were the most magnificent washing machines I’d ever scene.


 If they still made simple, get the  job done with a minimum of fuss FL’s like theses I’d buy one.  I have zero interest in the new FL offerings.



Post# 1080093 , Reply# 13   7/6/2020 at 18:06 (1,248 days old) by jeb (Mansfield Ohiio)        

Westinghouse paid a royalty to Bendix. I think it was 3 cents a machine.

Post# 1080102 , Reply# 14   7/6/2020 at 19:07 (1,248 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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3 cents back then was a BIG mouthful of bubblegum.


I tell a lie, across-street neighbor had an Economat.  Roundabout 1955.  Not that fun to watch those.


First dishwasher I saw was a Youngstown tower, forgot where.  First we owned, 53 Hotpoint.

Post# 1080108 , Reply# 15   7/6/2020 at 19:44 (1,248 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor, Maine)        

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2 Aunts had Economats. Both complained the squeeze tub left more super wet clothes against the agitator. One aunt had hers in her basement with her Maytag wringer that she ran everything thru the wringer and then out on the clothesline.

Post# 1080120 , Reply# 16   7/6/2020 at 21:54 (1,248 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Jon Charles wrote here in a patents discussion that WH had to pay a huge amount of money to Bendix to be able to use the assured rinse after the drain from the wash to knock down suds before the first rinse.

Post# 1080136 , Reply# 17   7/7/2020 at 05:38 (1,248 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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WH had to pay a huge amount of money to Bendix to be able to use the assured rinse

That's what I mean about patent office broadbrushing.  Royalties for a timer function is like royalties to the sun for using minutes or royalties to clouds for using water.  Turning on a valve for 1 minute is NOT an "invention".  Unless your lawyer says it is,

and the patent office is gifting a defense contractor. [rolleyes]

Post# 1080206 , Reply# 18   7/7/2020 at 15:09 (1,247 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Well Bendix/AVCO got points for figuring out how to knock down the suds after the wash so it could spin and, remember, it was only soap in those days. On the other hand, if WH had modified the process a little like going from a spray rinse to a deep rinse and then a spin, like the Kenmore Dual Tumble, they might not have needed to copy Bendix's cycle pattern that way. As it was, they gave up the spin between the 2nd and 3rd rinse.

Post# 1080230 , Reply# 19   7/7/2020 at 18:45 (1,247 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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Ah, soap.  Before my time as they say.  Still, if the issue was copying the exact Bendix sequence I can think of several ways around that without adding cost or complexity.  Of course, I can't prove they would work with Ivory Snow.  For that matter the sudsbreak spray was marginal as it was.  Could easily soap it up to where the spin made whupcream that wouldn't pump. 

Can even do that with Tide HE and towels.

Post# 1080243 , Reply# 20   7/7/2020 at 20:07 (1,247 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Have said this before....

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From time they began using H-axis washers regardless how they were powered commercial/institutional laundries never spun loads after wash. Indeed most never extracted period because early washers couldn't spin. So with a soap based laundry program it was simply dilute, dilute, dilute, then add whatever else chemical wise (bleaches, starches, bluing...) finally after final drain haul wash into an extractor.

Early European front H-axis washers for most part didn't spin until after second or third rinse either. Reasons for this varied but main (IIRC) was to ensure most froth had been knocked down or was gone to prevent suds lock. Something that would have been an issue with soap and later high froth detergents.

Of course there are many ways to skin a cat; and in Europe washer makers found ways round Bendix and their pesky patents, or at least tried to minimize impact.

Post# 1080244 , Reply# 21   7/7/2020 at 20:14 (1,247 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Philco-Bendix was going along a great path with these machines, even if they dropped combo units for washer/extractor only.

post was last edited: 7/7/2020-21:02]

Post# 1080249 , Reply# 22   7/7/2020 at 21:00 (1,247 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Next time you have the opportunity, compare the outside of a Bendix diving bell with the tub inside. There was a good deal of clearance between the two tubs. The Bendix did not have to cope with the narrow, suds-generating clearances that modern washers have. Bendix and WH washers also had powerful pumps, powered by the motor that ran the machine not the small separately-powered pumps of modern washers and those machines did not stop if suds locked. They kept going and pumping, if not completely successfully, and eventually got rid of the suds. Also, soap suds does not persist as long as suds from detergent, especially if the water is hard.

Post# 1080253 , Reply# 23   7/7/2020 at 21:12 (1,247 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Yes, that is true

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Addition of hard water (even in smallest qualities) will knock down soap froth.

That being said absence of suds does not mean all soap was removed from wash. Hence one, two or even three hot (maybe warm) rinses were required (more if necessary), to ensure all traces of soap were removed.

Housewives and others on domestic side were advised to add Calgon or some other phosphate based water softener to at least first rinse after using soap. This helped keep the stuff in solution so it could be rinsed easily from fabrics.

Commercial or industrial laundries usually went with water softening systems, though homeowners also did so as well.

If you watch video of Constructa K4 above you see that it barely drains very deep rinse water before going into spin.

Post# 1080422 , Reply# 24   7/9/2020 at 13:18 (1,245 days old) by PeterH770 (Marietta, GA)        

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Both grandmothers had Bendix deluxe washers. One had probably the first Hamilton dryer. All these lasted until the very late 1960's, and the washers were replaced with Kenmore model 70s, as recommended by my mother.

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