The Kenmore 40052 is a front-loading, consumer electric washing machine with mechanical controls. It is no longer in production and is generally not available, although the Kenmore 44102 appears to be almost identical except that the latter's controls are front-mounted.
[ The Hypertwins 18:15, 1 March 2006 (EST) ] We had been very happy with our unit, purchased sometime around 2000. It was always reliable, did a good job with delicates, had a very effective spin cycle, and was generally pretty quiet except on the extremely fast spin, where it produced a smooth (almost soothing) kind of roaring sound (a bit like a jet engine).
We had some plumbing issues which caused the washer drain to overflow on a couple of occasions (about a year apart); the washer started making some faint clunking noises after the first episode, but these went away after a day or two and we chalked it up to incomplete drainage. After the second episode (late February of 2006), however, the clunking noises came back more loudly than before, and did not go away. We had a Sears tech come out and take a look, and without taking anything apart (he listened to the noise and wiggled the tumbler-cylinder a bit), he estimated over $450 to repair it. Apparently a metal strap (one of several) holding the drum onto the central axis had snapped, which would require replacing the whole drum (about $200) and Sears would also want to replace the main bearing(s?), and it was a two-man job. [Note to self: post the repair estimate here].
Rather than pay nearly $500 and only have a partially-new unit, we opted to pay $150 more for an entirely new model (a Kenmore 44052), hopefully with improvements. In hindsight, only a week or two later, it probably would have been better to pay the $450+; see Hypertwins vs. the Kenmore 44052 for the full agonizing details.