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Washing Machine - Bendix, Automatic, circa 1951 Object Reg. No: ST 026358

Alternative Name(s): Front Loader, Washer

Bendix Automatic Home Washer, front loading. Accompanied by brochure entitled 'How to use your Bendix Automatic Washer'. Bendix first made washing machines in 1938, and were being advertised for sale in Australia from at least 1949. This model Bendix was advertised in the English edition of 'Ideal Home' magazine in February 1951. 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'.

This example was acquired by the Museum in 1968. Although probably only 14 years old, it shows signs of corrosion from use, and its top may have been re-painted.
White enamelled front-loading washing machine. Control knobs on panels on upper left and right of front; manufacturer's label between. Left control panel is labelled 'WATER', and has two grey plastic knobs, one labelled 'RATIONER' with settings for low, 5, 7 and 9, and the other labelled 'TEMP' with hot and warm options. Right control panel has a knob for time selection. Main door has glass porthole; rectangular 'drain screen' door below.Top hatch for loading powder. Losses of enamel from use, particularly on upper left and right corners, below top.

The filter for the washer is a cylindrical metal component, with circular end, possibly made from aluminium. The circular end has a rubber seal around it, and metal latch in the centre. The barrel of the component is perforated with many circular holes, The metal is covered in a white powdery film. The latch has rusted.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Dr R. Wettenhall, 1968
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 94 cm (Height), 64 cm (Width), 68 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: laundry equipment, washing machines, front loading washing machines, 1996 front load washing machibe
Themes this item is part of: Washing Machines Collection, Domestic & Community Life Collection
Primary Classification: DOMESTIC LIFE
Secondary Classification: Laundering - Washing
Tertiary Classification: appliances - electric
Inscriptions: In raised red lettering on adhered label at upper front centre: 'BENDIX / Automatic Home Washer'.
Place & Date Manufactured: Birmingham, England, Great Britain, 1951

This model Bendix was advertised in the English edition of 'Ideal Home' magazine in February 1951. The machine may have been made over a longer period of time; however, this is the only firm date sourced so far. It is not clear when Bendix introduced this model to Australia. Further advertising research may reveal more information. 1938 was the first year that Bendix made washing machines.
Manufacturer: Bendix, Birmingham, England, Great Britain, 1938-1955

1938 was the first year that Bendix made washing machines (date of patent applied).
Importer: Levin & Co. Ltd., Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1954

Advertised in Australian Home Journal, April & July 1954. Describes the role of the Federal Import Restrictions of 1952 regarding the waiting lists for the product. Sole Australian Agent - Levin & Co. Ltd, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide & Brisbane.
References: Early advertisements for Bendix machines in Australian newspapers include Advertising. (1949, April 16). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from
Display advertisement for this machine: Advertising. (1954, April 2). Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from


Jeannene Mosley Posted on 20 Apr 2015 11:35 AM
My grandfather,Arthur Hall was hired by Mallory in Indianapolis,IN and designed the mechanisms for the first Bendix washing machine. He died March 3, 1937 and did not receive one of the first 10 machines he was granted.

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