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Rare miniature Ling-Temco automatic dishwasher — New Old Stock in original box

LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retroHold onto your dirty dishes, and get ready for some in-the-flesh kitchen appliance amazing: An itsy bitsy 1950s Ling-Temco “eye level” automatic dishwasher — New Old Stock in the original box. Previously, we’ve seen the Ling-Temco in a 1961 advertisement and in Peggy’s aunt’s kitchen before. But yowza — here’s one new in the box to lust after! 

LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retroThe Ling-Temco dishwasher — which looks to be about the size of modern day microwave oven — was designed to be mounted under wall kitchen cabinets at eye level, into the base cabinet right under the countertop, into a wall, or even as a floating or suspended dishwasher. The dishwasher itself is a thing of beauty: Gold and silver decorative front panels frame a glass door that allows the user to sit back, relax and watch the dishwashing process — good, clean entertainment and a much needed break from domestic duties.

Matt writes:

A friend of mine hosted a Mid-Modern event at a house in Kettering that you wrote about.  She suggested I reach out to you regarding a very special item I have.

LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retroIt’s a Ling-Temco Automatic Dishwasher “Eye Level” from the late 50s.  It’s very rare.  It seems they were made in Texas, and marketed to builders all across the country with the idea they would install them in their new model homes.  The product didn’t sell as well as the larger, under-counter versions, and quickly disappeared from the market.

LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retroBelieve it or not, it’s new and still in the original box.  This is a museum quality item.   The serial number suggests it’s the 357th one to roll off the assembly line.  It was originally shipped to an architectural firm in Columbus, Ohio.

LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retro LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retro LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retroTo the right person (or museum), I believe this item could fetch quite a price.  Whenever else are rare and obscure kitchen appliances discovered new, in the box, and including all the original documents and instructions?

LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retro LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retro LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retro LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retroI think this is one of those amazing finds you come across once in a lifetime. The truth is, I bought it at the garage sale of an elderly couple in a small town in Southwest Ohio. I didn’t haggle too much and feel like I got a pretty good deal on it.  Honestly, I have no idea what to do with it, and bought it only because I feel I am the right person to be the custodian of this treasure until I find someone else to love it.  I really do think it belongs in a museum, but maybe I’ll find an individual who will care for it.

LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retro LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retro LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retroLING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retroI found a letter written to Popular Mechanics in the September 1975 issue in which the writer asks where he can buy parts for his dishwasher.  He states that all his correspondence requesting parts have been returned undeliverable, and he doesn’t know what to do.  The staff of PM responded by explaining “James Industries in Will Point Texas” manufactured it for Ling-Temco, and they’re out of business now.

I do not intend to take it out of the box.

LING_TEMCO_automatic-dishwasher-retroWow, what a find Matt. We’re so glad you recognized how special this dishwasher is and became its custodian. Note Pam’s addition — this appliance seems to have been introduced for sale in 1961.

Mega thanks for letting us share the photos of your find here. We hope you can find a proper home for this museum quality piece of kitchen history.

Read more:

ling temco dishwasher
More photos from 1961 advertising materials for the Ling-Temco dishwasher
ling-temco
Peggy’s aunt’s Ling Temco, installed

  1. JKM says:

    What a find! Ling-Temco became Ling-Temco-Vought aka LTV, better known as a a huge defense contractor making aircraft components. Their main headquarters was in Dallas. I had no idea appliances were once in the mix. I’d love to have one in a kitchen with a glass-doored Flair oven. How futuristic!

    1. Lydia says:

      Yes, the LTV story is interesting. Mr. Ling sold stock in his company from a booth at the State Fair of Texas! I used to work in downtown Dallas across the street from the LTV tower. I didn’t know they had ever made mini-dishwashers, though!

    2. Janice C says:

      My dad retired from LTV in the 70s. I had no idea that Ling-Temco ever made home appliances. My dad worked on the F4U Corsair and the C130 Hercules cargo plane.

  2. Rudy says:

    I don’t even care if it works well…..it’s just so COOL! Actually brilliant! There are Youtube videos of similar countertop dishwashers that some people seem to like but this is much more sleek and integrated. I could see it having it’s place as long as it doesn’t leak or break a lot!

  3. Roundhouse Sarah says:

    Wow! What a cutie! I love the fact that it has a glass front panel. I’ve always thought that the dishwasher should have some sort of viewing window. How am I to know if everything is working properly in there?! I had the hardest time figuring out if my last dishwasher was working well, it made a lot of noise but items weren’t that clean and I found myself wanting to see what was going on in there.
    This is truly a great find. I’m glad it’s in the right hands and that we were all able to view it here.

    1. Steve H says:

      Does anyone remember how stores like Sears would always have an operating display dishwasher with a glass front? As a kid I was always fascinated by that, and I wondered why they weren’t really made that way.

      1. Janet in ME says:

        My dad sold GE appliances and he had a portable with a see-through top on display so you could watch it clean the dishes. And yes, we kids loved it. I would guess most of the major manufacturers did this when they began to be a must-have in the early sixties.

    2. Gerry Boucher says:

      Back in late 70’s early 80’s the Sears store in mall had a demo dishwasher with see thru door I would always stop and watch it go around a few minutes and think how cool that would be to have in the house

  4. Steve H says:

    I love that all of the advertising features a phone on the counter. Apparently they felt that watching your dishes getting cleaned would inspire you to want to call all of your friends.

  5. Robin, NV says:

    The best thing about old appliances is that they were stylish. I love the glimmer of gold on the left side and the starburst on the door. I really wish we had more choices than blah white boxes these days.

    1. Jovon Tucker says:

      I totally agree! That is the one of the main reasons I got a vintage refrigerator instead of a modern one! I am about to undergo MAJOR remodeling because we just bought our first house and the kitchen literally has nothing in it except ugly modern flooring. I wanted to get a vintage refrigerator (and found one!) because of the awesome hood-like door. I HATE the boring, same old same old, white and black boxes you get with modern day appliances. Plus….something you buy new from the store doesn’t come with a story like their vintage counterparts do, ya know?

      Pam…I have recently found this most amazing site through my research for the remodel and OMG, I love love love this site! It’s one fo the only, sites I regulary read and look forward to the next post, LOL.

    2. Laurie Louise says:

      I know! Can you imagine cars coming in only three colors? Or anything else, for that matter? I’ve got a line on an aqua fridge, tucked away in the back room of a used appliance store. The owner’s supposed to call me tomorrow after he digs it out. Wish me luck!

    3. tammyCA says:

      Exactly. The vintage has the prettiest & neatest design and details on utilitarian…everything now is dull, dull, dull. And, things did last a whole lot longer than all the easily breakable plastic appliances.

      1. Jovon Tucker says:

        Honestly, you just have to keep your eye out! I have also heard of plenty of people saying it took a year ad a half to finish their kitchen because they couldn’t find the correct cabinets or something, but you know what? It’s going to make that kitchen (or any remodel really) that much more special because it is EXACTLY what you want and just think of the tales you’ll have about acquiring each piece? How you had to travel 2 states to get your sink, or you stayed up for three nights trying to pick out the perfect wallpaper….anyone else feel that way?

  6. Carole says:

    Cool find! I never even knew there was such a thing. And to think that a few years ago when I saw a sink style dishwasher on tv I thought the small scale dishwasher was a new and innovative idea. Not really.

  7. Jen says:

    That is just incredibly cool. This is the sort of thing the Henry Ford Museums in Michigan might love to get their hands on!

    1. Frau says:

      I used to work at Henry Ford Museum (well, the school that’s attached). My classroom was outside the round Buckminster Fuller house, super cool. They have a decades display of houses, I bet you they would like it! You should contact them!
      Did you know that the museum collection was really just Henry Ford’s hoarding tendencies gone wild? Why collect one vacuum cleaner, when you can own every single model ever made? I hear the “back rooms” are amazing…

    2. Mary wyatt says:

      Absolutely! Any inquiries to the museum should be directed to Jeanine Head Miller, the Curator of Domestic Life.

  8. Jay says:

    Very stylish looking, I like anything with glass. This certainly falls into major appliance category given its need for a permenant hook-up but it harkens back to the day when small electrics were solid, classy looking and built to last. My last kitchen wasn’t even big enough to accomodate one of these. Hmm, i wonder just how much you could wash – wish there was a dish loading diagram.

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