I've Got Two Hart-Parrs

One With Three Legs And The Other With Four

| January/February 1994

35901 WCR 31, Eaton, Colorado 80615

Here I am again at GEM since the WMCA (Washing Machine Collectors of America) has no members nor a magazine with proud pictures on its cover and throughout its inside.

About three years ago someone told me that the Hart-Parr tractor company had made a washing machine and finding one was put at a high priority. On a hunt through South Dakota, and Iowa in 1992, I found two on successive days and haven't seen another since. Both my machines look the same except for the number of legs, so I'm not sure if they are different models or merely represent a minor design change. Nor am I sure that these were the only models made by the company.

As found, both were pretty rough, with a couple of the legs rusted through; however each came complete with all the essential pieces. The unrestored four-legged one is pictured in Fig. 1. During the first phase of the restoration, the complete machine is totally dismantled, requiring plenty of WD-40, heat, patience and a few choice words.

Like many of my other machines of this era (late 1920s), the parts exhibit a very interesting demonstration of the genius of the people who designed and made them. After cleaning and painting, the parts look like new with the exception of several rust and acid pits in the gears and shafts. I have found much of the grease used in early washers was very corrosive, sometimes to the point of nearly dissolving fairly large portions of gears and/or shafts. Most of the moving parts of the three-legged Hart-Parr are shown in Fig. 2. The double cone agitator and the wringer clutch housing are shown in Fig. 3. Washing machines having inverted cones as agitators are generally called suction or vacuum washers. The frame of the machine along with the wringer and double-cone agitator are pictured in Fig. 4. The HP induction motor is suspended from a large shaft directly under the middle of the frame. It is interesting to note that of the 250 or so machines which I have restored, there have been only two electric motors which could not be made to run. There is so much cast iron in the stator that the rotor could be locked for a fairly long time before burning the motor out.

The rotary motion provided by the motor is transferred up the side of the tub to a 'transmission' housing attached at the top of the frame. The very interesting mechanism, Fig. 5., in this housing translates the rotary motion to an oscillating one which rocks the two vacuum cups of the agitator alternately up and down.


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