They claim front-load washers are something new...
Updated 8/30/10
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In recent years, everyone is pushing front-loading clothes washers as being something new. Just for the record, I'm 48 years old in 2007, and my parents never had anything but a front-load washer. And I remember everything since I was 4 years old.

In the early 60's, we had an old beast of a Westinghouse front-load washer. It was probably already 15 years old when I was born! It had a slanted front, with the door at an angle when closed. When you swung the door down to the open position, it formed a shelf that you set the clothes on, and a little scale pointer on the machine indicated the weight of the load as small, medium, or large. You would then set the water level dial accordingly. I recall when you put a big load in the machine, sometimes it would jump across the basement floor during the spin cycle, but it automatically would stop when it yanked it's own cord out of the outlet!

At about age 10, I remember working on the machine, it had a neat little transmission in it that never quit. The tranny is still laying around here somewhere, even though the machine has been junked long ago. I recall that the motor and the pump were replaced several times throughout the life of the machine.

About 35 years ago, we replaced it with another front-loader, this one called a White-Westinghouse. We bought it from the local power company. Imagine that, a time when the power company was so personal they would sell you a clothes washer, and even deliver and install it! This one was green, "avacado" I think they called it. The front was flat on this one, but the door still swung down, and still had the little scale and water level knob and all that. No neat tranny though, instead, a rather cheap belt-tightener mechanism to make the spin cycle work. Had some trouble with that, but I gave it my magic touch and managed to squeeze about 32 years out of it! This one also ate up a couple motors and pumps during it's lifetime. Fortunately, I salvaged a couple of these machines from the curb to keep me supplied with parts. This one had concrete weights strapped onto it's outer tub to help keep the machine inside the laundry room if an off-balance spin cycle happened, and also had a switch to detect that and stop the machine. The door would lock on this machine during the spin cycle, in case some idiot were to open it and stick their hand inside. In my opinion, if someone is that stupid, they deserve the consequences. Bet they wouldn't do it again!

I usually run everything 'til the doors fall off, and when the washer got to that point, I went out and bought a new one. A front-loader of course. Now there are many to choose from, and I wound up with a Kenmore, made by a company called Electrolux. Not sure if it's the same company that makes the great vacuum cleaners, but I hope so. They make them for several brands, including GE. This one has a door that swings sideways (of course the wrong way for my washer-dryer layout, and I miss the convenient place to put the laundry when removing it, falls on the floor often) and no scale or water level control. It's "automatic" which I assume means "one size fits all". This one has NO transmission, but simply a motor and one belt. Everything is accomplished by varying the speed and direction of the motor. I think that will prove to be very reliable. And it has a pretty good brain for off-balance loads, it slowly comes up to spin speed, and if it detects vibration, it slows down to re-distribute the load, and then tries again to spin. I've seen it take several tries, then "mission accomplished". I've had it about 2 or 3 years now, and so far, so good, nothing fell off of it yet. This one is stingy on the water it uses, and I don't think it washes quite as well as it's predecessor. The door lock is a little "overly safe" too. It locks the door through the entire cycle, instead of just the spin cycle. If I decide to add one more item to the load, I have to unplug the machine, and wait about 2 minutes before the door will open.

Now for the reasons that we always had a front-loader:

My parents were always somewhat frugal with spending money. Although the machines have always been more expensive up-front, they are better in several ways.

They use considerably less water. Not that water is terribly expensive, but heating it is! Especially with an electric water heater, which is what we always had. And cheap or not, there is no point wasting anything that you don't have to waste. I'm sure that over the years, those machines saved hundreds of thousands of gallons of water! You know some day, we'll run out of clean water, might as well put that off as long as possible!

They use less detegent. Remember, using LESS of ANYTHING is good! When that drain water leaves your house and the Government takes custody of it, they have to spend your tax dollars to remove nasty things from it, or just dump it into the environment as-is. At a certain point in time, probably not all that far away, the environment itself will turn into a nasty thing!

The tumbling action is said to be easier on your clothes, making them last longer, so you don't have to buy new ones as often, so you don't have to throw your old ones away as often and have the Government haul them away with a gas-guzzling, road wrecking, smoke belching  garbage truck and put them in the Big Hole In The Ground where everything goes, and stays, forever!

The most important reason to buy one: My parents alway had one, I always had one, and therefore YOU should have one!

Why did I choose a Kenmore? I said earlier that I squeezed about 32 years out of the White-Westinghouse washer. Before we had that washer, my parents bought a new Kenmore electric dryer. At the time, I thought it appeared to be a pile of junk, much thinner sheet-metal than our old Philco dryer was built from, and a pretty cheesy looking motor and belts and such. It was made for Sears by Whirlpool. Much to my surprise we squeezed almost 40 years out of the thing! Sure I had to take the motor out and oil it ("lifetime lubricated") a time or two, and change the belt and drum rollers a few times, but we surely got our money's worth out of the thing. When I bought the new Kenmore washer, I decided that the door was ready to fall off of the old dryer, and went for the matched set. But the door on the new dryer opens sideways, again the wrong way for me, and again lacking the convenient place to set the laundry on the door like the old one.

I've figured out why the doors now open sideways on washers and dryers. Because some IDIOT must have stood or sat on an open door, causing the machine to tip over on top of them. I think the machines should all be that way, let those IDIOTS learn the hard way! Darned lawyers, ruining it for anyone with a brain.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: My sister replaced her trusty Westinghouse front loader a few years ago. She made the mistake of not having me help her choose new machines, and wound up with a $3000 LG pair. We call it the "space shuttle". It has all the fancy electronic controls, LED tub lights that can't simply go on and off, but have to fade in and out. It has a "steam" cycle on both the washer and the dryer -??  The washer sounds like a jet taking off. But in the end, it's cumbersome, clumsy, and takes much longer to do a load!

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