Thread Number: 85057  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Anyone know of this old Maytag washer?
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Post# 1095475   11/1/2020 at 22:26 (869 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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A few weeks ago, I found this old Maytag in my grandparent's barn shed that I'd assume is a washer since it's got a agitator inside. This may have been the washer that my grandparents were using before they got their Kenmore set (I could be wrong though). And/or this may have been the washer that my great grandmother was using before she passed away back in 1988 because I was told that she only had a washer in her house and she would just set or hang her laundry up to dry.

Anyways, does anyone on here know more information about these? Including like a brochure or a literature? I'd be interested to learn more about these. I'm not sure though if this thing still works or not but if there's any like YouTube videos out there that shows this washer running, I'd also like to see them as well.

Thanks everyone!

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Post# 1095479 , Reply# 1   11/1/2020 at 22:33 (869 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor, Maine)        

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That blue trim is a dead giveaway that it is a newer(late 60's) model

Post# 1095519 , Reply# 2   11/2/2020 at 04:49 (869 days old) by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
Good workhorse . . .

. . . washer if one is willing to deal with the wringer.  That is a newer model because the older ones had red trim where this one has the blue.


Some of these machines came with a pump to empty the water and some  simply used gravity to drain.


I had one  I used sporadically for many years.  Gave it away about a year ago.


Jerry Gay 

Post# 1095589 , Reply# 3   11/2/2020 at 19:18 (869 days old) by helicaldrive (St. Louis)        

Since you weren't sure this is a washer, maybe I better explain to you how wringer washers worked.

In the first half of the 20th century, this is what doing laundry was like. This was the procedure. Start at or before the crack of dawn. Preferably this was done in a basement with a stationary double laundry tub connected to plumbing. Roll the wringer washer up to the tubs. Connect a flexible hose to the faucet and use it to begin filling the washer with hot water. Meanwhile, while it's filling, sort the clothes. Start with the white laundry. While the white laundry is washing, stopper the two tubs and fill them with rinse water. (If no stationary tubs, then you'd have to round up two galvanized steel tubs and fill them up with rinse water. Some people made stands to raise them up to waist level.)

After the whites are washed long enough, turn on the wringer, and wring them into the first rinse tub. Put the second load of clothes in the washer, usually light colors, add a little more soap, and start it washing. By this point the hot water would be cooled down somewhat for the light colors. Meanwhile, take each garment in the rinse tub and dunk it up and down in the water to rinse it. Then turn the wringer perpendicular to the tubs, and wring the clothes into the second rinse tub, and dunk up and down again. Then roll the washer over in front of the second tub, and wring the clothes out into a big laundry basket on the floor.

Lug the clothes out the basement door -- most houses in that era had a basement walk-out door, some with exterior stairs, for this purpose, and hang them out on the line to dry. If you lived in New York City, then you'd lug the clothes up to the roof to dry on lines up there. In the Winter, clothes would get covered with soot from people burning coal for heat, and if the temperature was below the freezing point, the clothes would freeze dry. They'd freeze as stiff as a board, and then the frozen water in the fibers would sublimate, i.e., pass directly from the frozen liquid to the gas state. This happens in your freezer, as ice cubes get smaller each day they're not used. Why didn't people just hang clothes to dry in the basement? Because they got even dirtier there from coal dust, from shoveling coal into the furnace and cleaning out the spent ashes and clinkers. In the Spring the clothes would get covered with pollen.

Anyway, go back in after hanging the load, and by then the light colors should be washed enough. Do the same wringing and rinsing procedure. Put the next load in to wash, usually darker colors, because by now the wash water would be even cooler, and add a little more soap. Never mind that the lint from the lighter laundry would get all over the darker clothes.

When washing was finished, the washer had a drain hose, and it was drained into a floor drain. Some had electric pumps so they could be drained up into a laundry tub with a drain if there was no floor drain.

This was usually done on a Monday. While all these festivities were going on, the homemaker would have a one-pot dinner that needed no tending simmering on the stove or in the oven, such as Boston Baked Beans, ham and beans, or green beans/potatoes/ham or Polish sausage. Back then green beans had strings on the side that had to be stripped off and they took a very long time to cook and get tender.

Somewhere along the line the launderer would cook some starch on the stove and dip the shirt collars and cuffs into the starch and wring it out before hanging shirts on the line to dry, too.

Then all those clothes had to be ironed. I suppose some ironing could start later Monday when the clothes were still damp. Otherwise ironing was Tuesday's chore. Dry clothes were dampened and rolled up while waiting to be ironed.

Automatic washers did not hit the market until after World War II, and they were beyond the budget of most middle class Americans until the 1950s, and even then they were the equivalent of several thousand dollars today. But maybe now you understand why all the ads for 1950s automatic washers feature women in their high heels and shirt dresses grinning so gleefully.

That said, as with any change, there were resisters who refused to switch to automatics, and wringers were still made in small quantities by Maytag and Speed Queen until the 1980s. The people who refused to go automatic had the following objections to them:

automatics wasted too much water and soap because each wash load got a full tub of fresh water,
automatics did not get clothes as clean because their tubs were larger and deeper, whereas the small, shallow wringer tubs meant that all the clothes were getting agitated at all times,
automatics only rinsed once rather than twice so laundry would get dingy,
automatics did not give as much flexibility for longer wash times and extra rinsing,
automatics took longer, and too late, to get clothes out on the line to dry because with a wringer, one could be rinsing one load while the next was washing.

Those who were most fastidious about laundry probably changed the wash water for different types of fabrics, and probably changed the rinse water for each load so that clothes would be rinsed thoroughly and stay snowy white. Those who were less fastidious probably re-used the same rinse water all day and had dingy white laundry.

This club has a group of wringer washer aficionados who maintain and use wringer washers to this day.

So there you have it.

At one time, Tide, which was new because it was detergent rather than soap, advertised that there was no need to rinse clothes washed in it, thus saving all that hassle. Never mind what rashes and chafing that stiff, unranked clothes must have caused.

And I guess one last thing. Back then some people boil washed clothes, especially whites. There were special gas stoves/burners that were a little more than knee high and that a galvanized steel wash tub would fit on top of. And before powdered detergent, people bought bars of laundry soap and grated it into the wash with a grater. To this day, that bar laundry soap is sold, but I forget the two brand names. Zote? Beyond me why anybody would want to mess with that, but whatever. There is a community of people who buy those bars and grate it and mix it with washing soda and other things to make their own cheap laundry detergent. Homemade laundry detergent recipes abound on the internet.

So there you have it!

Post# 1095594 , Reply# 4   11/2/2020 at 19:40 (869 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor, Maine)        

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Yes, that was what my mother did in the 50's when I was a kid in our basement. As far as the 2 tubs, sorting, wringing one way and then the other. Then out on the clothesline to freeze solid. I still have a "47" Kenmore, a step up from my mothers model and you can start washing and finish on the clothesline in half an hour. I also have a red trim Maytag but it is locked up, free to a good home to anyone.

Post# 1095610 , Reply# 5   11/2/2020 at 22:38 (868 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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Interestingly enough Iíve seen quite a few wringer washers for sale in the Southern California area but most had a high asking price.

Using a wringer washer can be a hassle since it requires a lot of manual labor but itís better than having no washer at all and Iíd take a wringer washer over whatís being made today and a wringer washer when taken care of can last many years with little to no trouble.

Post# 1095658 , Reply# 6   11/3/2020 at 10:24 (868 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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My family had a Maytag model E wringer washer from ‘69 to ‘73 due to water shortage and because Mom had fond memories of using a wringer washer.  And my first washing machine was a Maytag model J that I bought used for $35.


I never found the process of doing laundry with a wringer washer particularly laborious.  To me it was meditative, and I could easily complete washing and rinsing 4 loads of laundry in an hour or less.  We never needed to do a second rinse, but would change the rinse water after the second load was rinsed in it sometimes, but not always.  And the laundry was always super clean.


The outline of the process in reply #3 isn’t much like I recall the process.  I guess some people may have done it this way.  And granted our wringer washers were not in a cold basement and both Moms and mine had a pump so draining wasn’t much of a hassle.


I live in a two story townhouse with a dedicated closet that will only hold an automatic washer and dryer, no room for a laundry tub and the bathroom is configured in such a way that it would be impossible to use a wringer washer in there and rinse in the bathtub like I did when I owned my Maytag model J, and the kitchen is too small for using a wringer washer. But if I had the room for a proper tub to rinse I’d have a wringer washer as my daily driver.  I like hands on work that goes from start to finish with the fruits of may labor visible.  


Different strokes for different folks.




Post# 1095659 , Reply# 7   11/3/2020 at 10:37 (868 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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Someone in my hometown, mother of a girl who did babysitting for us, used a Maytag wringer (square tub, gravity drain) until the early 1970s.† She gave it to me when she got a Whirlpool automatic pair ... it's long-gone but I had fun with it on our patio for a while.

Post# 1095891 , Reply# 8   11/4/2020 at 23:09 (866 days old) by Tomdawg (Des moines)        
Great Grandmother

Supposedly, my Great Grandmother Elsa was one of those people who didnít like automatics. She used it until her death in 89í she was then 91, going to be 92 years old. I personally never knew her, she died a year after I was born. My Grandfather used it for shop towels for his garage. He taught me what his mother taught him how to do laundry. Kind of a cool story behind it all. As now I have this washer in my possession!

I believe itís a J2 wringer- if my memory serves me right, it was the last square tub wringer model you could buy before Maytag discontinued it.

Post# 1096264 , Reply# 9   11/7/2020 at 18:08 (864 days old) by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

Yes, lug the damp clothes outside and hang them on the line to dry. Or, get your 8-year-old grandson to do it. Ask me how I know this.

Post# 1096287 , Reply# 10   11/7/2020 at 21:45 (864 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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@Helicaldrive: Preach! You have my respect. Wringer washers have their place. I wish more wringer washer members would post here more often.

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