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 at the time of acquisition, it shows signs of corrosion from use and its top may have been re-painted.

Physical Description

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.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Home & Community

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Dr R. R. Wettenhall, Dec 1968

  • Place & Date Manufactured

    Kingsbury Road, 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, Warwickshire, England, Great Britain, 1938-1955
    1938 was the first year that Bendix made washing machines (date of patent applied). The business was originally established in the USA in 1924, engineering equipment such as brakes. Around 1944 it established a British subsidiary.

  • Importer

    Sydney, Levin & Co. Ltd., 51-57 Goulburn Street, Sydney, Greater 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.

  • Inscriptions

    In raised red lettering on adhered label at upper front centre: 'BENDIX / Automatic Home Washer'.

  • Brand Names

    Bendix (Washing Machines)

  • Classification

    Domestic life, Laundering - washing, Appliances - electric

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    68 cm (Length), 64 cm (Width), 94 cm (Height)

  • Exhibition Collection Management

    680 mm (Length), 640 mm (Width), 940 mm (Height)

  • 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 [Link 1] Display advertisement for this machine: Advertising. (1954, April 2). Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from [Link 2] 'Bendix Home Appliances', Grace's Guide to British Industrial History, [Link 3] retrueved 5/2/2019.

  • Keywords

    Front Loading Washing Machines, Washing Machines, Laundry Equipment