Who designs the plastic knobs on washing machines?

Posted By on March 31, 2012


Take two on the “who designs these things?”

A couple of weeks ago I posted on the rust inside an automatic icemaker and wondered why a better grade of material that could resist the rust wasn’t used inside a freezer so prone to moisture. Today the  knob on our GE clothes washing machine snapped off and after inspection I wondered if perhaps it could have been a little more beefy? I’ll try to repair, but it could have been better engineered.

washerknob6 washerknob5

A small plastic clip slides into the slot around a plastic knob holding it to a brass post. This knob then controls both the twisting, pulling and pushing action to set times, cycles and to turn the machine on and off. It seems to me that expecting the fairly small amount of plastic to hold particularly the “pulling” motion year after year is asking a bit much??? I’m not sure how other manufactures design their “mechanical knobs” (as opposed to electronic), but General Electric’s Select line of washers could have used a sturdier knob, in my opinion.

Let’s see how well a little epoxy holds?



  • Reminds me of the mailbox we used to have. Rather than the usual plastic or perhaps pressed sheet steel, we had a durable one that was a thick cast alloy. How did it die? The wimpy hinges. They corroded and eventually snapped from the daily opening and closing of the front door of the mailbox.

    • I think I’ve seen those durable mailboxes. Always seem to be weak links in even the best looking products. I just hope manufacturers fix their mistakes and improve their products. (BTW … welcome home Scott)

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.