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Aloha- Plus a 1950s tumble dryer!

Noble V-Ratter Registered
Posts: 1601

Good evening! I am still alive, safe and sound. I've been busy floating about with my girlfriend (as us "younguns" do).  I thought i'd best pop in to say hi, and let you all know im not dead (Unlike the Brexit plans.........)

I've also been busy with a full time job, which is driving a minibus for a local taxi firm (and the council) taking young disabled children to school, Plus the house renovation is a never ending story of course. 

I am still dabbling, and although no radios have touched my workbench in a year or so, i'm messing about with vintage bicycles, and my latest acquisition is something a bit different. A 1950s Parnall Tumble Dryer!

I spotted the dryer on ebay, and after putting in a cheeky offer (£25) I raised it to £50 and won it. Upon pickup I was greeted by a middle aged couple who love everything vintage, and are hoarders a bit like me. They were pleased it was going to a good home and a bit in shock I was going to use it. 

A quick search found Parnall used to make aeroplanes, but they realised that making planes in the middle of Bristol wasn't a great idea, so moved onto appliances, through a number of buyouts etc. 

I collected the dryer, and was surprised at it's condition (and weight!). aside from some expected rust here and there it was very sound. 

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I immediately got it home, and after some initial checks found the motor, elements and switches to be in working order. That really is all there is to it! I powered it up and it clunked into life, It ran, but very loudly you could tell it wasn't too happy.

I set about dismantling it, the first thing of course was replacing the perished mains cable, after this I set about trying to figure out how on earth to get the drum out. In the end it turns out you have to undo about a thousand screws, and the entire rear assembly (with pullys attached!) lifts out with the drum. Upon removal I found no bearings to go wrong at all. The drum rested on a large shaft and pully, which was not worn and just required a clean and grease up. It really was built like a boat (or plane.)

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After some lubrication it was very obvious why it was running so loudly, 64 years of fluff had accumulated at the base of the drum, surrounding it and affecting the free-movement. It was also caked in old oil, which had gone hard and formed a crusty pile of fluff. This was obviously removed. 

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You can see above how much there really was, and half of it isn't pictured as it went up the hoover!

I lowered the drum back into the outer casing, and after messing around for 30 minutes to get all the screw holes to line up, finally rested it into its position. Screwed it back together and then moved onto the motor.

There are two pullys, one connecting the motor (a big beefy BTH offering) and drum - and one connecting the first pully to the fan which attempts to deal with the fluff, and provides the warm air. 

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The motor spun very freely, and required nothing other than a wipe to remove some of the grime. The motor was very cleverly hinged at the base of the machine, to enable you to service it. It was also fully height adjustable so pretty much any belt could be fitted.

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The belts were very old, but had no obvious signs of wear, so were put back. I chedcked the heating elements which were clean, and free from burn marks (these are mounted above the drum and are a basic belling fire type) I put it all back together, and after a few adjustments with belt tension it was running very smoothly indeed! 


The dryer has 4 temperature settings, Low, Med, High and Cold. It also has a big chunky timer. It also features an overheat limit stat, which kicks in when temperature is reached. The neon lights to indicate the heating element is alight, and extinguishes when the element is off confirming the thermostat works well. 

The only thing that doesn't work is the door switch, which is actuated by a rod, I suspect the rod has snapped and been lost so i've bodged it for the time being. But it's not rocket science to switch the dryer off before you check on clothing!


So in total it was £50 well spent, a 64 year old dryer which runs like new, and I genuinely cannot see why it wouldn't run for another 64 years. It uses no more electric (in my opinion) than a modern equivalent as it will dry a load in just under an hour, and sound output is around 70dB which is average for modern ones. And best of all, NO BEARINGS TO BREAK!

I do also appreciate how much money this must have cost, and how well-off the original owners must have been, when most people had nothing but a clothes airer, or washing line. If they were lucky they'd have a Flatly (Which I also have). But a tumble dryer? No chance... 

Topic starter Posted : 30/04/2019 9:05 pm
Alex728, Lloyd, PYE625 and 2 people liked
Noble V-Ratter Registered
Posts: 1339

Good work.

Posted : 30/04/2019 9:51 pm
Famed V-Ratter Registered
Posts: 4990

Looks like you have tumbled yourself a bargain there Jamie ! Just don't get in a spin over it. ? 

Posted : 30/04/2019 10:16 pm
Doz liked