by Lew McDaniel
A washing machine so old it doesn’t have a fancy name – just a cryptic series of numbers and letters for a model number. Sure, the harvest gold color is out of date and it lacks fancy digital controls. None the less, our 30 year old Maytag top loader washing machine just keeps on frothing up the suds. From fill to rinse, Old Yaller has functioned flawlessly for this family of two.
Well, 4+ since over the years our dogs have occasionally messed up something that normally would not require washing, like innumerable throw rugs they just absolutely had to muddy up. Or the cat birthing rug our cats insisted on using each time a new litter was due, except for the one litter born in the washing machine when we forgot to close the lid.
Old Yaller is a simple machine that only allows you to set load size, water temperature, and whether you want to keep the suds or not (an important feature in rural areas that rely on wells). It lacks the electronic sophistication available today that makes more precise settings possible. So far, our clothes don’t seem to know the difference. Plus, the old fashioned push buttons and rotary dial have always worked just fine, thank you.
At $265 1978 dollars, Old Yaller has certainly proven to be a worthwhile investment. If there were any changes we would have liked to see, an end of wash signal, such as a buzzer, would have been helpful in preventing forgetful folks from leaving items in the washer a tad too long.
Over these 30 years, no repairs have been needed. The machine runs as well as it did the day we brought it home. Clicking down the time between cycles and with no sound deadening at all, it is a little noisier than a modern washing machine. We think of the timer’s tick, tick, tick as the sound of money being saved.
Sooner more likely than later we will have to replace Old Yeller. When that time comes, we’ll make the change to LCD readouts, touch panels, and probably a selectable end of wash alert. Time will tell whether new technology lasts 30 years.