Friday, 7 February 2014

Wishing for a New Washer

My washing machine has died. Well almost. It's carrying on a bit, dancing around the laundry with each load, refusing to spin properly, and generally just being annoying. Mr handyman had done his best (he pulled it apart, cleaned it and used cable ties to try and fix it), but to no avail. After only eight years, the old top-loading washer is done. A replacement is needed.

What I'd really like is one of these.

This is a Bendix front loading washing machine. From 1951!

The small company of Bendix Home Appliances was founded by Judson Sayre in 1936 and first made an automatic washing machine in 1937,and applied for a patent in the same year. Although it looks like the front loading automatic washers seen today, and included many of the same basic features, the machine lacked any drum suspension and therefore had to be anchored to the floor to prevent "walking" - maybe that's what I need to do to my machine. The machines were being advertised for sale in Australia from at least 1949. This 1952 ad shows 'new improved Bendix automatic washer.' 

Bendix also developed one of the first combination washer and driers in 1952/  In 1954 Australian newspaper display advertisements described the machine as a 'miracle of modern times' and boasted that it ' takes the entire business of washing completely out of your hands'.

In this 1958 ad the machine costs from 198 guinea - I believe 1 guinea is 21 shillings, which means it cost around 4, 158 shillings, or around $5,800 today.  Not cheap! But then again my husband did tell me the other day that I should "treat myself" to a new washing machine.  How thoughtful of him - I really feel like I'm living in the 1950s now!

Bendix Home Appliances was sold to Avco Manufacturing Corporation, who liquidated the company in 1956, before selling the brand to Phillco.  the Australian James N. Kirby group then made the machines (and Crosley fridges) under licence from Philco.  I think the company was then taken over by General Electric in about 1961.  The machines are no longer manufactured, although spare parts are available for the existing machines, which can sometimes be found secondhand.

I think I'll have to make do with a Samsung - unless you know anyone with an old Bendix for sale?!  Just think, this could be me in the picture....
1947 Bendix ad, American
Deb xx


  1. Hi, Deb! I just visited your Tumblr and gazed in wonder at your hundreds of vintage ads, complete with educational and often humorous captions (such as those for canned, jellied mystery food products). I appreciate these Bendix ads. I haven't thought about Rinso Blue for decades but it was a familiar brand name in my childhood along with Lux, Lustre-Creme, Fab and many others I found on your Tumblr.

    I remember my mother using one of those old style ringer washers before my father broke down and bought her an automatic. Thoughtful and generous is the husband who "treats" his wife to a drudgery saving home appliance. I'm sorry you found your washing machine dancing around the room. Maybe he (correct gender for a housewife's helper) was listening to the music on my blog at the time and simply couldn't help himself. I hope you find a new one that will be more dependable and last longer.

    Good night and have a great weekend, Deb!

  2. Well I was dancing around the room with the kids when i read your blog, so may so!
    Glad you like my ads - just a bit of a relaxing hobby for me. My new washer is on the way - so exciting!


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