Thread Number: 89593  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Largest Capacity washer ever made
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Post# 1141885   2/11/2022 at 07:30 (832 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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What was the largest capacity residential washer ever made? How many cubic feet did it hold? I remember GE once making that claim.

Post# 1141886 , Reply# 1   2/11/2022 at 09:05 (832 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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There has never been a domestic washing machine for sale in USA with capacity greater than twenty pounds (20 lbs). This is due to local construction zoning regulations often have set that weight as total max allowed. This in turn allows developers and others planning to know what they have to design for in terms of max load.

Top loaders went from 8 - 9 pounds in 1950's up to 12-16 pounds by 1990's IIRC. Some like Norge claimed 20 lbs.

Thing about washer capacity is since appliance makers sold units as matching sets an increase in washing machine capacity means dryer has to grow as well. Otherwise one full load from washing machine would have to be split into two before going into dryer.

Post# 1141889 , Reply# 2   2/11/2022 at 09:32 (832 days old) by Mrsalvo (New Braunfels Texas)        

Good question!! Are you talking current line up or vintage? Just because a manufacture advertised largest capacity does not mean cleaning ability scored well at say 20 lbs, would think you’d have to take that into account. Also clothing wear & tear. Certainly the old Norge 20 lb top load was nothing to sneeze at, and NO DA agitator either. Think back in the day it was the largest capacity available. I shutter to think what water usage would be for one full load, presoak and extra rinse. Don’t think the old GE FF’s could hold a candle to them.

The new modern front loaders might have an edge today. Amazing that manufactures keep increasing capacity, it’s like they’re trying to get the family to wash only one load for the week!! Think the normal everyday person HATES doing laundry and tub sizes now MUST accommodate king size bedding...or at least that seems to be the excuse. Gov. almost dictated larger tubs also.


Post# 1141890 , Reply# 3   2/11/2022 at 09:40 (832 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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Both current and vintage, but I think current machines would score more records in the size category.

Why is the limit set at 20 pounds? What is the standard or regulation that requires this?

Post# 1141891 , Reply# 4   2/11/2022 at 09:44 (832 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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As I recall, Whirlpool / Kenmore standard-capacity belt-drives were said to be 14 lbs in the 1970s, maybe 1960s, and forward.  Super-capacity debuted in the mid 1960s was "up to" 18 lbs.

Capacity nowadays, at whatever point in time that began, is rarely if ever stated in pounds.  Cubic feet is the reference, which eliminates the need to validate any poundage claims.

Post# 1141893 , Reply# 5   2/11/2022 at 10:01 (832 days old) by Mrsalvo (New Braunfels Texas)        

I was referring to the 20 lb Norge as it was. in my mind, the largest that I knew of. Like Glenn stated, today’s machines would probably make mincemeat of the older ones.
Bigger does not always equal better though.


Post# 1141894 , Reply# 6   2/11/2022 at 10:04 (832 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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If you took the inner basket out of a GE FF, and lowered the outer tub to the point it was 8 inches off the floor and put an impellar inside it I would imagine the machine would hold a substantial amount. ;)

Post# 1141897 , Reply# 7   2/11/2022 at 10:46 (832 days old) by Tomdawg (Des moines)        
Maytag bravos

A few years ago, Whirlpool made a 6.2 cu ft for the Maytag bravos line up. I thought I heard 22lb capacity but I clearly could be wrong. I noticed it’s not in the line up anymore. Even at 20 or 22lb its laughable because we all know it most likely won’t clean well.

Post# 1141898 , Reply# 8   2/11/2022 at 11:23 (832 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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In 1986 I bought a Magic Chef TL that was Norge built. It was supposed to have a 20 lb capacity and I believe it. It was the largest TL washing machine tub I ever saw. It was a very good performer too. We had to sell it about 18 mo. later when we moved into our first condo, a 1 bedroom with a laundry closet that would only accommodate a stacked washer and dryer.

We sold the Magic Chef set for $400 to a women I worked with, who already had an aging Norge and wanted another similar to her old washer. Lorraine used that Magic Chef set for about 15 years before the washer gave up the ghost.


Post# 1141900 , Reply# 9   2/11/2022 at 11:37 (832 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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There was a time where Jenn Air touted their washer (and probably some other Norge products with other brand labels such as Magic Chef) could hold up to 22 pounds. This was towards the end of this product line.

Post# 1141901 , Reply# 10   2/11/2022 at 12:18 (831 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        
Jenn-Air Ultra 22

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Photos saved in January 2009 from Jaytag, and a video.

Post# 1141904 , Reply# 11   2/11/2022 at 13:04 (831 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Glenn, that's exactly what I was seeing in my head.

Post# 1141905 , Reply# 12   2/11/2022 at 13:40 (831 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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Oh! I was not aware these existed. Who built them and why? What is their history? And for that matter I will admit I know little about Norge, or why some love them while others dislike them.

Let me know if I should start a new thread about them.

I will watch those videos now, thank you for posting them! :)

Post# 1141918 , Reply# 13   2/11/2022 at 16:35 (831 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        

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Water wise, it was probably the 26.4 gallon fill belt drive Whirlpool/Kenmore washers from 1969-1979.

Post# 1141924 , Reply# 14   2/11/2022 at 17:20 (831 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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The owner guide for our 1976 LDA7800 stated water levels of 12, 17, 22, and 27 gallons.  Maybe the numbers were rounded.  Figure that water usage on Perm Press with a double partial-drain cool down, and add a Super Wash partial drain for the upper models that had it on PP ...

Post# 1141943 , Reply# 15   2/11/2022 at 22:13 (831 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

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Looking at some info on the Jenn air I was surprised to find that they would furnish a new inner or outer tub if either failed to defective materials or workmanship for 22 years. Not including any shipping, service calls, or labor, of course.

The large capacity whirlpool/kenmores were introduced in 1967 and ran through mid 1981 when the capacity was lessened for the new 1982 models.

Post# 1141946 , Reply# 16   2/12/2022 at 02:17 (831 days old) by Logixx (Germany)        

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Highest capacity listed on are the Whirlpool-made top loaders at 6.2 cu.ft., followed by the 5.8 front loaders by LG.

Looking at LG websites from other countries (Mexico, South Africa, Singapore and Australia) the capacity is always stated in weight. The large LG top loaders are rated at 55 lbs. capacity. I'd love to see the wash action with that much stuff in there. 🤪

Post# 1141947 , Reply# 17   2/12/2022 at 04:05 (831 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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To me, something more than 20 years older, as in Imperial Forum machines...

-- Dave

Post# 1141948 , Reply# 18   2/12/2022 at 05:23 (831 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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"Looking at some info on the Jenn air I was surprised to find that they would furnish a new inner or outer tub if either failed to defective materials or workmanship for 22 years."

Isn't that bit like lifetime warranty on porcelain drums or maybe motors many washing machines (IIRC) had back in day? Truth to tell often something else would go long before tub or motor that would cause machine to be scrapped.

That is if cost of a new transmission or something on a fifteen year washer is more than machine is worth to some, it likely will be replaced by a new machine. This regardless if tub or motor are still fine. IIRC same could be said of dishwashers with their lifetime warranties on tubs and or motors.

Post# 1141949 , Reply# 19   2/12/2022 at 06:29 (831 days old) by angus (Fairfield, CT.)        

I think those Jenn-Airs were basically rebadged Magic Chefs. They were probably introduced around 1996 but I don't recall that they ever really cornered a large market. At the time, Jenn-Air was considered on the higher end of cooking appliances and made their name with those downdraft exhaust systems on their ranges. So they expanded their name to refrigerators, dishwashers and laundry. Feel free to correct me if I am off base here.

I also recall that in the 90's hearing two appliance store salesmen discussing the "new Titan 25" plastic inner tubs on Kelvinators. The tubs were warrantied for 25 years- comment from the salesman was that this was a great warranty, but since the machine itself wouldn't last more than 5 years, it seemed pointless....

Interesting point.

Post# 1141952 , Reply# 20   2/12/2022 at 07:19 (831 days old) by henene4 (Heidenheim a.d. Brenz (Germany))        

Isn't it the same with direct drive and at least for the EU in an extend just normal inverter motors?

They are all labeled with a 10 year warranty on the motor, some even 20.
But it's just the motor, not the board to drive it or any sensors.
And a bunch of wound copper wire won't just break.

Or as laundress said, DW tubs often have a 20 year rust warranty - just that I have never seen a DW tub rust through.

Newest scheme here is 10 year parts only warranty.
Very little worth in that of work cost is 200€ on a 300€ washer.

But on the topic of largest washer:
I think for the US it's the Whirlpool/Maytag 6.2cuft washer? Or were they 5.8?

Post# 1141956 , Reply# 21   2/12/2022 at 08:22 (831 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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IIRC Magic Chef never made a washing machine in their lives.

Fedders bought Magic Chef then gobbled up Norge from Borg Warner. Thus any Magic Chef washer likely is Norge to some extent under the bonnet.

Am not 100% sure but after Maytag/Maycor got their mitts on Norge, at some point their Performa washers were bit of Norge under bonnet as well, at least machines claiming 22lb capacity.

What often happened going back ages is both appliance dealers and customers wanted same brand across line. That is washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, range, oven, etc...

This was fine for some larger appliance makers like General Electric who had fingers in dozens of different pies. Others simply went out and bought or merged with a company that had what they wanted.

Jenn-Air got their start making industrial/commercial fans. That lead them to first down draft self ventilated range. Other small kitchen appliances, dishwashers, microwave ovens and fridges followed, but no laundry appliances.

Post# 1141961 , Reply# 22   2/12/2022 at 09:24 (831 days old) by angus (Fairfield, CT.)        

To clarify, I know that Magic Chef didn't build their own washers or dryers. However by the 1990s appliance dealers in my area basically didn't carry any anything with the Norge nameplate so any laundry equipment was labeled Magic Chef and that was my reference point. And yes, it is correct that the Maytag Performa line was pretty much Norge "under the hood". Of course, my memory may be faulty but I seem to think that some very early Performas were similar to the Dependable Care line, save for a few features, but that didn't last very long. As I said though, that memory may be a little "off".

The idea of the Performa line was to give people the Maytag name at a lower price point. I can't imagine the disappointment of people who thought they were buying something that would last for generations. Kind of like that basic Tide in the yellow bottle or Bounty Basics paper towels. You buy into the concept of the overall brand but the actual performance is usually way different from the "flagship" brand.

Post# 1141966 , Reply# 23   2/12/2022 at 11:38 (831 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Norge (and Amana? they bought it in 2002) merge into Maytag was also (or primarily?) to get larger capacity without having to retool the existing washer design.

Post# 1141971 , Reply# 24   2/12/2022 at 13:16 (830 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

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Magic Chef bought Norge in 1979 and Maytag bought Magic Chef in 1986. Amana was purchased by Maytag in 2001.

Post# 1141972 , Reply# 25   2/12/2022 at 13:22 (830 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

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Maytag bought Jenn-Air in 1982.

Post# 1142042 , Reply# 26   2/13/2022 at 05:30 (830 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Leave us not forget KitchenAid....

When owned by Hobart KA brand was largely known for stand mixers, dishwashers, waste disposers and few other bits.

Kitchenaid bought Chambers to expand their product line to include ranges, ovens, and other cooking appliances. Whirlpool subsequently gobbled up Kitchenaid which got them not only KA but Chambers....

Whirlpool added refrigerators, and laundry appliances. For latter WP seemed to have positioned Kitchen Aid as slightly more upscale.

It's wicked when you think about it; handful of global conglomerates basically own majority of appliance brands.

Post# 1142045 , Reply# 27   2/13/2022 at 07:48 (830 days old) by rpms (ontario canada)        

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I remember seeing an ad for the Beatty brothers hotel size wringer washer.
Wondering if the agitator and rollers were bigger too? The tub looked larger than normal.

Post# 1142053 , Reply# 28   2/13/2022 at 10:11 (830 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Ohh yes!

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Thor, Beatty Bros. and others marketed washing machines for small to medium sized hotels. They also would serve for convents, monasteries, schools, care homes, large private homes or estates.... Places that had more laundry than say private home, but not enough to warrant investment in larger commercial equipment of the time. Today of course this market is served by on premises laundry (OPL) equipment.

This washers had bit larger capacity, but nearly all relied still upon wringers early on. At least in USA small extractors that didn't require bolting down were not available, nor did many have separate motors. Many were driven by belts and or other means commonly found in commercial settings, but lacking elsewhere.

Post# 1142081 , Reply# 29   2/13/2022 at 12:38 (829 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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What about the super capacity post FF GE washers? I remember it being mentioned in their advertising.

Post# 1142119 , Reply# 30   2/13/2022 at 21:14 (829 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        

I could've sworn GE built the largest capacity machine in 1995 with the post filter-flo washer.

Post# 1142179 , Reply# 31   2/14/2022 at 15:13 (828 days old) by UltraWash (Charlotte, North Carolina )        

I think the largest modern TL was the WP/KM/MT 6.2 cu ft washer from 2016.

Post# 1142180 , Reply# 32   2/14/2022 at 15:18 (828 days old) by henene4 (Heidenheim a.d. Brenz (Germany))        
So it was 6.2cuft

Thought I red that number somewhere.

Currently available, the largest is LGs 5.8cuft FL TOL offering.

Certainly for dryers, the largest is 9cuft currently offered by LG and previously by WP/MT aswell IIRC.

Post# 1142201 , Reply# 33   2/14/2022 at 18:49 (828 days old) by Logixx (Germany)        

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Again per, Whirlpool made the largest (recent) dryer at 9.2 cu.ft.


Post# 1142202 , Reply# 34   2/14/2022 at 19:08 (828 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        
I think the largest modern TL was the WP/KM/MT 6.2 cu ft

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Anybody know the max water fill in gallons?

Post# 1142204 , Reply# 35   2/14/2022 at 19:20 (828 days old) by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        

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When Maytag took over Norge to create the Atlantis washer - did they make it any less aggressive?  Or does the Atlantis hard on clothes too?

Post# 1142212 , Reply# 36   2/14/2022 at 20:58 (828 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Largest conventional top loading washer ever

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By far the largest usable capacity several mention where the whirlpool machines from about 1967 through 81 especially the ones with the duel action agitator these would wash a bigger load than any other American topload washer.

Reply number one is kind of ridiculous laundress there are no regulations on how many pounds a washing machine can wash In housing codes building codes etc.

There are many machines including current Speed Queen front loaders that are rated at 22 pound capacity.

There are many large front load washers today that you could probably pack more than 30 pounds of clothing into as well as the really big top load machines with impellers you could pack a lot of laundry in.

These new tops load machines in particular will not wash clothing uniformly and effectively with loads over 10-15 pounds.

Norge washing machines were never known to be hard on clothing.

In 50 years of working on washing machines I have never had a customer complain about a Norge damaging clothing. With the exception of some of the machines around 1970 where the plastic poly propylene agitators would have fins break off in the middle leaving rough edges those would start to damage clothing until you replace the agitator.

In fact the only traditional washer that was ever judged to actually damage clothing were Maytags with a standard power fin agitator when Consumer Reports tested one speed machines even the Norge did not damage delicate curtain panels like the Maytag did.

John L

Post# 1142264 , Reply# 37   2/15/2022 at 14:29 (827 days old) by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        
The direct drive Whirlpool looks to be larger

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But I guess the largest one was a belt drive?  Did Maytag modify Norge when they turned it into Atlantis?

Post# 1142267 , Reply# 38   2/15/2022 at 15:03 (827 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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Wait, I'm confused. How did the 1967-1981 BDs hold the most clothes? Why did the DDs hold less?

Post# 1142285 , Reply# 39   2/15/2022 at 17:56 (827 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Reply #38

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Because these BD washers were bigger, they held 27 gallons of water, the DDs never held more than 23.


Norge was the next largest at around 25 gallons and GE FFs did use 25 gallons of water per fill in their large tub machines but we all know how much space was wasted between the tubs on a FF.


The early large tub DDs with Dual Action agitators with the superior short stroke agitation did almost as much as the early super 27 gallon BDs however.


John L.

Post# 1142289 , Reply# 40   2/15/2022 at 18:08 (827 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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That makes sense. I did not know the BDs were bigger, but you learn something new everyday.

How did the post FF super capacity washers compare? Those tubs are huge and go down close to the undercarriage.

Post# 1142526 , Reply# 41   2/18/2022 at 16:23 (824 days old) by Smartdrive1100 (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)        

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I’d have to say it would be a F&P cleansmart, it has a 10kg capacity and no agitator.

Post# 1142543 , Reply# 42   2/18/2022 at 21:03 (824 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        
post GE FF

Did they make their outer tubs bigger? What about their motors? What did they do to the drive system to make the tub super size?

Post# 1142555 , Reply# 43   2/19/2022 at 01:46 (824 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        
Post GE filter flos

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I'm glad you asked!

The outer tubs got a bit smaller so they would not touch the cabinet during spin, but the inner basket got considerably larger (and deeper) being less than an inch from the outer tub. There were two outer tubs and two wash baskets that I recall. Both the extra large and super capacity inner and outer tubs were same size at the top of the balance ring, but the extra large capacity inner and outer tub slanted inward by about two or three inches to produce a lower capacity machine.

Motors were 1/2 HP, one or two speed, with about half a dozen variants, but they fell into 3 major types in this order before the Hydrowave.

1) A centrifugal start motor with a clutch attached to the output shaft.

2) A PSC motor with clutch on shaft.

3) A PSC without a clutch (pulley direct on shaft)

The transmission was a lot more compact and smaller, it no longer protruded above and through the outer tub.

Post# 1142558 , Reply# 44   2/19/2022 at 04:53 (824 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Reply 43

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Hi Chet, good information although I don’t think I ever saw a PSC motor with a clutch on it on a GE post Filter Flow washer.

There was a PSC motor that had a huge steel pulley that almost looks like a clutch and then of course as you mentioned there was one that just had a normal pulley on the bottom of the motor shaft.

John L

Post# 1142566 , Reply# 45   2/19/2022 at 07:14 (824 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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Here is an example that I am thinking of that came immediately after the centrifugal start motors:

Granted I played with these washers in the mid to late 2000s, so I could be wrong about the above, however IIRC that is a real clutch that will let the motor spin even if transmission/brake is locked up.

Models that came after this did indeed have a solid pulley in the same shape as the original clutch but did not slip.

Personally I think the clutch is a good idea in that if the washer suds locks it will simply let the clutch slip instead of tripping the motor out on thermal protection several minutes latter. I remember that happened to a member here (ToggleSwitch) when he bought a BOL GE. It took a lot of time for the motor to reset.

Another reason I would put a clutch on washers from a design perspective is so I could run the motor's spin winding straight off the timer's common live rail instead of going through pressure switch and fill circuit. Always place high amps on as few parts as possible. The washer could be forced into spin drain by the user and not overload and trip, or rely on the pressure switch drop over 10 amps of inductive load every 4 seconds.

Post# 1142686 , Reply# 46   2/20/2022 at 16:55 (822 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        
Post GE filter-flo transmissions

Did these transmissions use a counterweight in them? What about lighter oil? What about gears? I could've sworn I could hear a slight metallic sound when agitating on normal speed especially.

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