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My famous washing machine



This is not your typical appliance resurrection: I don't use the words “desperate” and “beloved” casually when I say we are currently engaged in a desperate battle to keep our beloved cottage washing machine going.


Technically, this is Maytag model #A-406, serial #157974DQ.


But, believe me, it's much more than that. Our Maytag was here when we bought the place, way back in 1992. And it was no spring chicken then.


But good luck trying to find out exactly how old it is. I've tried. The online calculators that figure out manufacture dates based on serial numbers generally only go back to 1980.


We're guessing our baby dates back to the 1960s – much older than our children, but an efficient attendant to them as they grew up dredging sand and rocks on Lake Huron, and slipping (sometimes unintentionally, they claim) down the muddy slope, into the creek.


I've heard that repairing appliances older than four years is generally not economical, given the value of technological advancements. That would make trying to repair a machine that is perhaps 60 years old a fool's errand, at best.


But that's part of the allure of saving it. In addition to its role in family lore, our washing machine is kinda-sorta famous. It's the same model immortalized by William Eggleston, who helped make color photography an art form.


Our daughter saw an exhibition of Eggleston's work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and was stunned to see an icon of her childhood on display. She shot the accompanying photo of Eggleston's photo.


It's part of a series Eggleston shot in the 1970s. So the machine's at least 50 years old. But with the word “Automatic” proudly emblazoned on the front (as if there were another kind – manual? really?), I'm thinking it's more likely vintage 1960s.


Luckily the leak from the bottom of the machine only emits about one bath towel's worth of water each outing, so we have some time to find out what's ailing the old girl.


Since geriatric appliances are out of vogue – gauche, even – finding a “doctor” with knowledge of her vintage is another obstacle.


So, we're bracing ourselves for The End.


The cruelest blow? We know it's unlikely we'll find a replacement as hale and hearty.


 

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7件のコメント


ゲスト
2023年7月28日

Im a 66 yr old lady and fix all my appliances. Its easy. The problem with mechanical (no circuit boards and strong transmission) washers & dryers is they last too long. Repair folks want to sell you a new one. Im guessing its a hose..or the hold/cold inlets that get plugged up with sediment. Parts direct and other parts sites have good videos fast delivery. Schematics are also available online if not for your specific model then a similar one. Dont give up!

いいね!

ゲスト
2023年7月20日

Sharon, I can relate. When I bid goodbye to my stove a few years ago, it was a 1962! Westinghouse, I think but I can't recall. I repaired and repaired over time (and not too expensively) but all things come to an end. I wish your Maytag well. (I bagged my washer and dryer, both 1995s, right before Covid and the dishwasher (same year) last year. NOTHING will have the longevity these appliances did. Ah, the stories, you, Kip and I can share at our next gathering! ~ jeanie

いいね!
Sharon Emery
Sharon Emery
2023年7月21日
返信先

Jeanie, I can't believe how old that stove was. A true soldier!

Sharon

いいね!

ゲスト
2023年7月20日

Hi Sharon,

Our Maytag, circa 1995 could be your washer's daughter and has no known artist affiliation. What it does have is a stellar track record of cleaning clothes without repairman intervention in all that time. Until now. The spin cycle is louder than a 747 taking off and it finally wore out its bearings. Replace them? "No way", says the repair service. Now we're faced with buying a new washer that costs twice what the old one was and will last one-third as long. I hate to think of these workhorses filling up a landfill. Maybe I'll build an appliance Hall of Fame and immortalize them 'cause they don't make 'em like they used to!


Kip Bohne

いいね!
Sharon Emery
Sharon Emery
2023年7月20日
返信先

Kip, My condolences! We have a Maytag of that vintage downstate. But it's still going strong. So you can't find anyone to repair a 1990s model???? That just wrong!

Sharon

いいね!

ゲスト
2023年7月19日

Hello Sharon,

There's an old Maytag in my basement that was here 10 years ago when I bought this little house. It's a real workhorse, no plastic parts, and I will certainly cry if it ever becomes unrepairable! Definitely a relic from the earliest days of the automatic era, it even has a second tub to catch the wash water to be reused for rugs and work clothes and such. It's been repaired only once in our years together, and that was to replace the belt that turns the tub. The repairman was quite impressed by the good condition it's in, and we laughed that it would probably outlast both of us! Good luck on saving your machine and all…

いいね!
Sharon Emery
Sharon Emery
2023年7月19日
返信先

Bethany, I love this story -- your machine does sound older than mine! What a gem. Wishing you and your machine all the best. And wishin and hopin for mine...

Sharon

いいね!
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