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Cleaning for 35 Years — and Counting

Pair of 35-year-old machines win UniMac Longevity Contest

RIPON, Wis. — The search for UniMac’s oldest model still in service ended at Zengeler Cleaners in Chicago, where the company found a pair of 35-year-old washer-extractors that are still vital to the cleaner’s day-to-day operations.

The 65-pound washer-extractors are run six days a week, starting each day at 5 a.m. and being operated until about 3 p.m.

"As expected, our Longevity Contest delivered a plethora of machines still in service from a variety of vintages," says Steve Bowie, general manager of the on-premises laundry segment for Alliance Laundry Systems. "In the end, Zengeler Cleaners stood alone with their pair of UniMac machines boasting an impressive run."

A fifth-generation owner of the company that dates back to 1857, Tom Zengeler buys equipment that he believes will support his business for years to come, and these machines, bought in the mid-1980s, have fulfilled that requirement.

"One thing is certain: we simply can't have a machine go down," Zengeler says. "The UniMac duo has become that important to the success of our business."

As winners of UniMac’s contest to find the oldest model still in service, Zengeler will receive a new UniMac washer-extractor and matching tumble dryer.

These machines, Zengleler says, will be extra equipment, and not replacement equipment. The 35-year-old models are still part of the cleaner’s daily operations and will not be retired.

"No way … that's just not going to happen," Tom said. "Our UniMac machines are way too important to the success of our business."

Cleaning for 35 Years — and Counting

Zengeler Cleaners owners, Mike and Tom Zengeler in front of their award-winning 35-year-old UniMac washer-extractors. (Photo by UniMac)

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