The Case of Nearly Being Pushed Through the Wringer

By Rob Lowell, Enservio | September 10, 2018

Unlike today’s automatic washers, where the processes of both soil removal and water extraction (wringing) are done in the same device, early clothes washing required the use of a washer and separate extractor.

We can trace the history of today’s washing machine back as far as 1444, where a device known as the Norwegian Mangle Board was found. Though its primary purpose was to add shine to cloth by wrapping damp textiles around a cylinder and roll the moisture out, it was also used to remove water out of wet clothing. In 1691, the first patent was filed for a machine to help cut the time required to wash clothing (typically a full day process).

The first combination “washer/extractor” can be traced to the 1860’s which was a washing system that included wringers to help remove moisture. The extraction devices, also known as wringers or “manglers” could be quite dangerous. These devices applied extreme pressure between rollers to press the water out of the clothing post-wash – and unfortunately, led to numerous accidental injuries of limbs, and even deaths. These devices were commonly seen in households up to the 1930’s before the advent of the first automatic, self-contained, washer and extractor. Though these devices helped remove moisture, the use of a dryer was necessary to completely remove the moisture from clothing — but that is reserved for another Case Of.

The Situation

Enservio was called in to handle a fire loss claim involving a popular economy hotel chain. The chain asked the team to determine the retail replacement value of four commercial laundry units with an insured stated value of over $20,000 each. As the insured’s stated value far exceeded the value of most commercial laundry equipment, the claim was triaged to the Select team for research and review.

Cracking the Case

The team inquired about key value factors and worked to determine an accurate replacement value. Commercial washer extractors are differentiated by a number of key features, such as dry weight capacity, programmable control types, drive shaft assembly, motor type, and a number of other factors that can help determine a like, kind and quality (LKQ) replacement value. Each of these factors can sway the price considerably, so it was imperative that all factors were reviewed before making a final assessment.

The Results

Through careful research, we determined the original model unit was a Continental Girbau Washer-Extractor. We reached out to our network of suppliers and wholesalers and were able to determine the model was still available from the manufacturer at $7,800, quite a variance from the stated value of $22,000 each. In this Case Of, we were able to stop $60,000 from being pushed through the wringer.

Robert Lowell is an audio/video, appliances & photography specialist for Enservio (, a provider of contents claim management software, payments solutions, inventory and valuation services for property insurers. You can contact him at

Other “Cases” in the series:

Case of the $30,000 Vintage Hollywood Moviola

The Case of the $25,000 Toy Model Car

Case of the Antique Ivory Tusk

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