washing machine: n.

1. Old-style 14-inch hard disks in floor-standing cabinets. So called because of the size of the cabinet and the ‘top-loading’ access to the media packs — and, of course, they were always set on ‘spin cycle’. The washing-machine idiom transcends language barriers; it is even used in Russian hacker jargon. See also walking drives. The thick channel cables connecting these were called bit hoses (see hose, sense 3).

(The next cartoon in the Crunchly saga is 76-02-20:2. The previous cartoon was 75-10-04.)

2. [CMU] A machine used exclusively for washing software. CMU has clusters of these.