Quality Appliances Don't Always Stay That Way

jimjanhenryFebruary 23, 2008

This in response to CPanther's posting regarding Kitchen Aid Mixers.

I worked for Norge in the early 60's, as a techy in the engineering lab, for two years. Norge appliances had a very good reputation for quality. The first year working there, the engineers would draw up some change and come waltzing into the lab crowing about saving a nickel or dime on a part. We would have the part made and install it on an existing washer or dryer or air conditioner. It would test OK. At the end of the model year, the new appliances were manufactured using all the changes. I spent the second year at Norge working at the end of the production line, trying to get the new models to even stand up under their own weight. Seems that when ALL the changes were applied, too much cheapening resulted. Some "quick fixes" were implemented, and the appliances were sent out to the marketplace. (Including Montgomery Ward, who dropped Norge that same year.)

If anyone wonders why the maker of those wonderful, high-quality Norge appliances no longer is in business, I assume it is because their products finally were revealed for what they had become.

My position: We cannot assume that because an appliance has been well-made in the past, that it will be so in the future. And the manufacturers surely are not going to tell us about the difference. We need to communicate, just like CPanther did in the previous message, about changes in quality as they become apparent.

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Not to mention all the companies that use slick and abundant advertising on products designed cheaply and made un-repairable to begin with.note Europro Shark.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 11:34AM
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Ah would that it were so vis a vis Norge. My first washing machine, circa 1954, was a Norge. It should have come with a lemon painted on the lid! We didn't have much money--my husband was in school on the GI Bill and I was working for a pittance. Good thing my husband is an engineer, because he did all the repairs, and there were a lot of them, until we could afford to buy another washer.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 12:36PM
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Like many appliance brands, Norge changed hands several times over the years. Got bought out by Admiral and Magic Chef IIRC, who in turn got bought out by Maytag. And what little was left of Maytag is now owned by Whirlpool.

Maytag's excessive cost cutting in their final years all but destroyed their once-stellar rep for reliability. Someone thought they could save a few cents by eliminating the seal around the rinse agent dispenser in their dishwasher doors; instead, it allowed the stuff to leak out and start fires, prompting a costly recall. And their new line of front-load washing machines was disastrously unreliable, worst by a wide margin in CR's surveys, and prompted a class-action lawsuit. Even all of the cheapening couldn't make Maytag's inefficient factories profitable, so their refrigerator and laundry facilities were shut down. The "Maytag" badge lives on for now, but mostly on rebranded Whirlpool products. Although they own the rights to the name, I don't think they're using the Norge brand at all anymore, although i still see Norge-branded commercial Laundromats.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 3:35PM
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I had a Norge dryer puschased in the early 1970s. It ran for 26 years with only 1 small repair. You can only dream of that length of service these days.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 3:12PM
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My wife and I purchased a large Norge chest freezer in the summer of 1961 for, I think, about $126.00. The freezer has sat on the back porch, open to the weather for the past 50 years. We defrosted that freezer today(Aug. 8, 2011), and it is running as well as ever, AND no repairs in all that time (just some minor touch-up painting)!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 9:04PM
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I don't know why, but when I see the Norge name I think of Chicago.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 7:59PM
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