Old-fashioned Amish washer

We started the week with Amish GPS but now head in the opposite direction, technologically speaking.

Brenda shares photos today from the Carroll County, Tennessee Amish settlement, of an old Maytag washing machine.  Brenda has previously shared photos from Amish wash day in this settlement, so this makes a good follow-up.  Amish are known to use old-fashioned machines but this one seems more venerable than the norm.

Amish Wash Machine

You can see the patent information and years here, giving a clue to its age.  I don’t know the precise age of this machine but have found examples of the “Gyratator” online from the 1920s and 1930s.

Maytag Gyratator Washer

By the way I quite like the Gyratator name.  It sounds like the type of pseudo-futuristic name you’d hear on the Jetsons.  It’s more than a gyrator, it’s a Gyratator.  Beyond gyration.  Perhaps the technology was cutting-edge for that era.

More on how Amish wash clothes.

Words worth pondering

This is unrelated to the above, but I thought I might tack it on this post today.  Linda shares a few sayings from the November 2012 issue of the Calvary Messenger, a Beachy Amish publication, offered without comment:

  • -“True Christianity is fascinating. Is that why it has been studied so much more than practiced?”
  • -“Some folks are so lazy that if their ship came in they’d expect others to unload it for them.”
  • -“Shiftless people seldom get it into high gear.”
  • -“Spendicitis” has put too many a man under a mountain of debt.
  • -“Hatred is a boomerang that hurts the thrower more than its intended target.”
  • -“The most dangerous lies are those that most resemble the truth.”

Spreads have been named

I’ve just posted the names of the Amish spreads from yesterday’s post as well as a closer-up version of the note.  We had some good guesses but only one person got all three right.

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Proof of the ‘Maytag Repair Man’ commercials

      I Imagine that if the Amish family that owns that piece of equipment got in touch with the Maytag Company to enquire about repair the service person would probably ask any of the following questions:
      “Are you pulling my chain?”
      “What museum are you calling from?”
      “You have a what, now? From what year?”

      But in all seriousness, that machine does look in pretty good condition and good working order.

      I like the quotes by the way. Especially the “Spendicitis” one. It particularly matches the theme of the washing machine and a well maintained machine will last forever attitude.

    2. Alice Aber


      My goodness does that bring back memories!! We had a Maytag very similar to this one when I was a kid growing up. Wash day was Saturday and it took all day!! 5 kids, 2 adults and only 2 long clotheslines to dry them on. Mom had to work 6 days a week so Saturday was the day we did laundry. We started about 5am and honestly were usually not done before supper. Needless to say there is both good and a little bad in those memories. As a kid the last thing I wanted to do was spend my Saturday doing laundry, LOL. Of course now I would love to have one of those old machines again. 🙂

      Love the sayings too, LOL.
      Blessings, Alice

    3. New York State of Mind

      My parents had a washer similar to that one when I was a kid, too. Mom always did the wash on Monday. Of course, in those days you hung the clothes outside to dry. You had to be carefull with the wringer-you could get your arm caught if you didn’t watch it. I know, I did it. Back when my parents got married, they couldn’t afford a new washer, so they bought a used one. My parents got married in the 1930’s. I prefer the new ones to these old ones, but this one brings back memories.

    4. SharonR

      Old Fashioned Amish Washer

      Yes, I remember my mom, using one of these when I was little — back in the 1950’s. She did not work outside of the home, so I remember that machine on the back porch; I remember her later on, always doing her washing on Mondays, too. She always used a clothesline, up until she moved out of her house (at age 98), and she went into an Assisted Living. Even then, she wouldn’t use the dryer, and I did that for her. lol I don’t know if that dryer intimidated her, or what? Or she just enjoyed having me around during her last days. ha.

      I do like those quotes — so very true!!

      Thanks for sharing,

    5. Margaret

      Loved the picture. My mom used one just like that when I was a kid. Maytags were made to last forever, too, back then.

      We have a pair of Maytags we bought the first year we were married, that still work great! Thirty-four years and going. I did have to call a repairman for the washer a few months ago – and it ended up being a simple thing. The repairman said if we ever wanted to get rid of them, he wanted to buy them. He said the new ones may be more energy-wise, but they broke down more frequently, and cost a lot more to repair. My bill was $60. I love my Maytags!

    6. Linda

      How does the agitator work? Is there a button to push or pull to engage it (with a motor underneath the washer), or does someone have to stand there and move the “lever” back and forth?

      Some Amish communities have a Maytag wringer washer repairman. This machine might be similar in age as the repairman!

    7. Dan

      I do not understand why this settlement is not included in your list for Tennessee, under states? I imagine you don’t update your state listing often because it changes frequently, due to large Amish family sizes, which by the way, I love.

      It’s neat to know that the Amish also now exist in Carroll County, TN, and not just Lawrence and McNairy. I imagine there are other settlements as well.

      1. Actually, it’s there Dan (look under “Small Tennessee Amish Settlements”) https://amishamerica.com/tennessee-amish/

        You’re right it does change frequently. I plan to do a wide update of all the states next year.

    8. Denise

      A long lasting product made in Iowa!

    9. Don Curtis

      Mark's washer

      I know that Mark has a Maytag washer. I asked him about how it works. He said that it is powered by a Honda engine. The exhaust is piped out through the basement wall and exhausts out under the front porch. He went through the steps he uses. 1. Separate the clothes by color. 2. Fill the washing machine with water from the basement spigots and hose. 3. Fill the two rinse tubs. 4. Make sure there is gas in the gas tank of the Honda engine. 5. Start the engine by pulling the cord and then engage the agitator by pulling out on the gears knob on the side of the washer. 6. Put the laundry detergent in. Mark says he uses liquid Tide because it is less likely to clog up in the drain as powdered soaps. 7. Put in the whites and let them be agitated for about 15 minutes. 8. Mark uses a stick to pull the clothes out of the hot laundry water one by one. 9. Run each of the whites through the wringer and let the soapy water go back into the washer. Let the wrung out clothes fall into the first rinse tub. 10. Swish the clothes around in the rinse tub until well rinsed out. 11. Run the clothes on-by-one through the wringer, again. Swing the ringer so that the rinse water falls back into the first rinse tub. As the clothes run through the wringer let them fall into the second rinse tub. 12. Swish the clothes around in the second rinse tub until they are well rinsed out. 13. Run the clothes through the wringer. Swing the wringer so that the rinse water falls back into the second rinse tub. As the clothes come out of the wringer let them drop into a laundry basket. 14. Take the laundry up the basement steps in the basket and outside to hang up on the outside line if weather permits. If not, hang the clothes on the lines in the basement. Then do everything all over again with your colored shirts, then Sunday church clothes, then denim trousers. Mark then lets all of the water out of the tubs and puts in fresh water in all of them. Repeat the above steps on bedsheets, and last of all on the towels. Listening to Mark explain all of this sure made me glad that all I do is thow my clothes in the washer, add some detergent, and push a button. Take them out. Throw them in the dryer and push a button.

    10. Andrea

      When i was a small child in 1968 about 3yrs old we had a washer very much like this, my mum tells me that i put t
      a hole box of soap suds in the tub when my mum was not watching. Too my sounds of joy my mother came to see, and she says i was jumping up and down saying its snow its snow, well as you can guess the suds were every where. My mother loves to tell me this every know and then. Thanks for the picture old washing machines are the best, well i think so. 🙂

    11. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Maytag, Mule-, Mother- Power

      Maybe I’ve forgotten from an earlier blog post, but are there conservative Amish families who chose to use washboard and soap-and-water-in-a-bucket elbow grease technology? Or are most Amish groups well above that level of tech?

      1. Interesting question Shom. There might be some hand-washing that goes on in a pinch (I had to do it myself lately when my washer broke) but I haven’t heard of anyone who uses it as a primary means of cleaning clothes. Even the very low groups use washing machines. But maybe there’s someone out there.

    12. Rose G

      Old Fashioned Amish Washer

      I had a Washing Machine ExactlyLike This One!!!! Back in the 60’s 70’s!!!!! Exactly like it!!!!! Loved it and No, I’m, not Amish!!! Lol