Built to last, not surpassed: Your old appliances still on the go

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The white goods in your home are no longer manufactured to be as durable as in previous generations, the Whitegoods Trade Association acknowledges.

Prices may have fallen for washers, freezers and mixers, but so has their expected lifespan.

It's a popular subject among readers of the BBC News website and many have been keen to share their appreciation and pictures of decades-old appliances still in working order, here is a selection of some of your stories and pictures.

John Adams' Kenwood Chef

Several readers have sent in stories and pictures of their food mixers, especially models of the Kenwood Chef.

John Adams' machine (above) was inherited from his mother, who in turn inherited it from hers.

"It is over 40 years old and still gets used every week for baking, and it still works perfectly."

Probably a touch older is the Kenwood mixer bought in Singapore in 1968 and currently used by the daughter of Fiona Lamb.

An applied life
Model 700D Kenwood Chef Tim Barthorpe's Model 700D Kenwood Chef, purchased 1960

Older still is this Model 700D Kenwood Chef (right), which belongs to Tim Barthorpe from Orkney.

It was purchased in 1960 and he inherited it from his wife's stepmother. Tim still possesses and uses the full set of accessories the machine came with.

"It's not a museum piece. I use it on a regular basis.

"I rely on it at Christmas for pudding mixing and for chopping all the meat for my 5lb pork pie!"

However, Patricia Neil of Camarthenshire may have piped Tim with a Kenwood Chef, and the china bowl it came with, bought in 1955 and still used every week.

Aside from recently snapping the whisk, Patricia says she still has "all the original bits," although uncertain what some of them are for.

The gifts that keep on giving
Modeq electric clothes airer A wedding present from 1955, still airing clothes

Claire Saunders' mother is still utilising her Modeq electric clothes airer (right), received as a wedding present, also in 1955.

"It is used at least three times a week, year-round, and has never needed servicing or repair," says Claire.

Another wedding present continuing to prove its value is the Sharp microwave of Jane Green, "working perfectly" after 26 and a half years.

"It's had a couple of new plates," admits Jane. "And a few new bulbs, but apart from that, no problems at all."

Meanwhile, Mike Skonieczny got in touch from Royal Oak, Michigan, USA, to say the toaster his parents received on their wedding day in 1960 is "on the counter now looking quite shiny and ready to go".

1978 JVC Amplifier

Harry Wallace sent us this picture of his 1978 JVC Amplifier, which has "never missed a beat, still going strong!"

However, a modern amplifier Harry recently purchased from somebody else "didn't even last a year".

Should make a lovely accompaniment to the CD player still used by Wally Wharton of Edinburgh, part of his Pioneer stereo system from 1986.

Frozen in time
Prestcold refrigerator Also recognisable from Call the Midwife

By nearly a decade, the picture of the oldest home appliance in service received by the BBC was this one (right) of a Prestcold refrigerator.

Owned by Lis Graham, the fridge was originally purchased by her father in 1946 and has only needed one replacement part since the turn of the millennium.

Today it plays a background role in BBC period drama Call the Midwife.

By comparison, the second-oldest fridge we received notice of belongs to Mrs J Storrar of Fife, whose Frigidaire, made by General Motors, was bought in 1949 by her husband's grandparents. In third place, and relatively youthful, is the refrigerator of Nigel Thomas's mother which "has been working for 52 years".

Highlights from the dozens of stories received include a Goblin vacuum cleaner Model 702P, "still going strong following my late parents' purchase 51 years ago," according to Raymond Gardiner, and a 29-year-old Black and Decker drill belonging to Kevin Hammond.

Of all the washing machine models we have been told of, Mary McCloskey's Zanussi 918 appears to be the oldest, having run for at least 31 years.

And, of all the microwaves, Lyn Packman's National Panasonic Genius, bought by her father in August 1980, is the oldest model still in service we have been told about.

Finally, Louise Wadsworth has notified us of her Hotpoint Aquarius DF61 dishwasher, working for 24 years with no repairs. The secret, she says, is to "just clean the filter in bleach and run the machine with a detergent cleaner once a month".

Take a look at some more of your pictures
1960s Hygena kitchen

Of the many submissions we received, Edward Norton may possess the greatest number of functioning but decades-old appliances. His 1960s Hygena kitchen contains a 1958 GEC fridge; 1985 Hoover washing machine; 1960s New World gas range and "many other bits and bobs all still working and all used regularly".

Fridge inside and out

Martyn Hilton is another owner of a Prestcold refrigerator, which has accompanied him throughout his life, from Cheadle Hulme in England to its current home in Bangkok, Thailand. "I couldn't bear to be parted with it," says Martyn. "It weighs a ton. Ironically, everybody assumes it's a new, 'American-style' fridge."


We were also sent this image of a 650w microwave which David Hillen won in 1989 for correctly predicting the first three horses in a race at Beverley Racecourse, Yorkshire.

TV, washing machine, hoover

Then there is the Ekcovision TC267 television set from 1955 sent in by Barrie Fairbairn, "working and in regular use"; Gary Tibballs' Hoover Electron 1100 washing machine from 1981; and the Hoover Junior 1346, bought by Dale Who's mother in 1969.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their stories and images of technology which has refused to bow to time.

Written by Richard Irvine-Brown

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