Thread Number: 94333  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 19SEP2023 - Philco W-262
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Post# 1190267   9/19/2023 at 10:20 (206 days old) by bradross (New Westminster, BC., Canada)        

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Does anybody have one of these? I would love to see the "supersheen aluminum agitator". I'm assuming this may be the first Philco automatic, before they changed from the traditional style agitator to the flexible one.

Post# 1190268 , Reply# 1   9/19/2023 at 11:07 (206 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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Now thats an example of appliance simplicity if I ever saw one! Iím assuming that the water temp was hot and the rinse temp warm unless the user regulated the temp at the shut off valves.

I donít ever recall seeing one of these machines in the 50ís and Iím certainly old enough to have seen one. They must have had a short run before being replaced by the next model Philco Automatic.


Post# 1190273 , Reply# 2   9/19/2023 at 12:24 (206 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        
They must have had a short run before being replaced...

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Indeed they were. While I don't have concrete details on the switch, what did happen was Dexter licensed the Beam platform for their first automatic, around 1950. This would have been when Dexter was still an independent company, based out of Fairfield, IA. IIRC there is a POD of the first Dexter automatic that does come up from time to time, and if not, it's very similar to the dual motor Hotpoint/Coronado automatic.

Dexter was bought by Philco in 1954. What I'm a bit unclear on is if/when Dexter stopped producing/outsourcing their original automatic either during or after the sale, and if during the transitional time they were working on their own updated design of the Beam automatic, similar to what Hotpoint/GE did in the early to mid 50's, to step away from Beam as quickly as possible.

In late 1956, after the sale to Philco was well said and done, both Dexter and Philco introduced this revised design automatic under their own brands, for the 1957 model year line (with the W262 being the BOL Philco model). The transmission and pump are still very much Beam related, but the rest of the ball-point machine is purely a Dexter/Fairfield design. There were a few iterations of this platform introduced under both brands through the 1957 and 1958 model year lines, with the last instance showing up as a BOL model in 1959 under the Philco brand, as the N line machines with carried over 1958 model numbers.

I'm purely speculating, but there certainly is a possibility that Philco bought out Dexter in '54 knowing that this new platform was soon to be available and would be fairly easy add to their refrigeration and range appliance line. What I'll never quite understand is why Philco then bought Bendix from Avco in late 1956, thus getting a completely different laundry line (tumble action Gyromatic / Power Surge / Duomatic / new high speed dryer platform) to supplement the Dexter laundry items? The 1959 Automagic washer line was a combination of the Dexter ball point balance suspension with the Bendix Power Surge mechanism/principle, making it one of the most effective washers sold in 1959. I'd love to find some internal documentation from Philco that could explain their reasoning behind this mesh-up, because by 1959 the company was hemorrhaging money due to Predicta television issues they were running into, with Ford stepping in by '61 to bail the company out (and with Ford chomping at the bit for the computer and government contract side of Philco), and completely switched over to Philco-Ford by the mid sixties.

Last year Steve was kind enough to bestow his late '56 Dexter automatic washer to me. This machine means a lot to me as I lived in Fairfield, IA at one time and the shaddows of Philco were still imprinted on the town, many decades later. A Dexter badged machine is an important addition of the various machines I've been able to acquire over the years.


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