Maytag Corporation was a $4.7 billion home and commercial appliance company, headquartered in Newton, Iowa from 1893-2006. With approximately 18,000 employees worldwide, it made and sold appliances.
The Whirlpool Corp. completed its acquisition of Maytag on April 1, 2006. In May 2006, Whirlpool announced plans to close the former Maytag headquarters office in Newton, as well as laundry manufacturing plants in Newton, Iowa, Herrin, Illinois and Searcy, Arkansas by 2007. Following the Maytag closure, all administration will be in Whirlpool's headquarters in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The Maytag name will still be used on rebranded Whirlpool appliances, however most Maytag employees will be terminated, as some were offered jobs in Benton Harbor. The board of directors of Maytag and CEO (a former Whirlpool executive), all received five years severance pay.
|1893||Frederick Louis Maytag arrived in Iowa by covered wagon. F.L., his two brothers-in-law, and George W. Parsons each contributed $600 for a total of $2,400 to start a new farm implement company named Parsons Band-Cutter & Self Feeder Company. They produced threshing machines, band-cutters, and self-feeder attachments invented by Parsons.|
|1893||Threshing machine-related injuries were all too common and a strong need for a safer threshing machine was present. The company successfully met this need by developing a threshing machine feeder, a device which fed straw more safely into the threshing cylinder.|
|1902||The company was the largest feeder manufacturer in the world, and by 1904, the Ruth was the most popular model.|
|1905||Maytag introduced the Success Corn Husker and Shredder.|
|1907||Maytag's first washing machine, the "Pastime", was produced. F.L. Maytag decided to produce these machines during the periods of seasonal related downturns in the farm implement sales. The "Pastime" washers utilized a wooden tub. A dolly was turned by a hand crank via wooden pegs. This turning action would pull clothes through the water and force the clothes along the corrugated tub sides producing cleaning action. A pulley device was provided to the machine allowing it to be operated from an outside power source such as a tractor or windmill.|
|1911||A model of the Pastime with an electric motor was unveiled.|
|1915||Maytag developed its Multi-Motor gasoline engine washer. This allowed customers in rural areas without electricity to utilize the automatic washers.|
|1919||The first aluminum washer tub was produced by Maytag. Prior to this, it had been believed in the industry that aluminum tub washers could not be built. This aluminum tub proved to have numerous advantages over the wooden tub, which had issues with leaking and rotting.|
|1920||L. B. Maytag, son of the company's founder, began serving as company president.|
|1922||Howard Snyder invented the vaned agitator. The agitator is placed inside the tub and mounted in the bottom of the tub. The concept was that instead of washboarding or dragging the clothes, they would be gently agitated. Maytag first introduced this new washer, the Gyrafoam, and became exclusively an appliance company.|
|1924||By 1924, one of every five washing machines were made by Maytag in Newton, IA.|
|1924||Maytag introduced its first iron.|
|1925||Maytag was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.|
|1926||The company was now headed by Elmer Henry Maytag, another son of F.L. Maytag.|
|1926||On October 12, five trainloads packed full with Maytag Washers were shipped out to the country. At this time, it was the world's largest single shipment of merchandise. Maytag broke their own record in May of 1927, and shipped out eight trainloads.|
|1927||Maytag had produced over a million washers.|
|1929||Maytag realized earnings of $6,838,883.00, a pre-war high. Maytag also survived the Great Depression without having a loss for any year.|
|1934||Maytag begins production of Maytag Toy Racer automobiles on October 11.|
|1940||E. H. Maytag died and his son, Frederick Louis Maytag II (grandson of F.L. Maytag), became Maytag's head at the age of 29.|
|1941||Maytag Toy Racer production ends on December 1. During World War II Maytag no longer produced washing machines and instead concentrated on the war effort. From 1941 to 1945, Maytag made design improvements on and manufactured special components for military airplanes. These parts were used in sixteen different types of combat aircraft, including the B-29 Super Fortress, the B-17 Flying Fortress, B-26 Marauder, and the P-51 Mustang.|
|1946||The war ended and washing machine manufacturing was geared back up in Newton, IA. Maytag began selling ranges and refrigerators.|
|1948||Maytag's plant number two was opened in Newton, IA. This facility manufactured Maytag's first automatic washers, the "AMP", introduced that year. This was the start of a new age in washing machines for Maytag.|
|1951||The Korean War was underway, and Maytag built parts for tanks and other military equipment alongside the washing machines.|
|1953||Maytag introduced its first automatic dryer.|
|1954||Maytag's first television advertisement was aired.|
|1958||Maytag introduced the commercial coin-slide washers used in laundromats.|
|1961||Maytag's corporate headquarters building was dedicated.|
|1962||Upon the death of F. L. Maytag II, George M. Unibreit became chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and E.G. Higdon was named president. The company would never again be led by a Maytag family member.|
|1966||Maytag produced its first line of portable dishwashers. Additionally licensed its first Maytag home appliance center.|
|1967||Character actor Jesse White appears in the first "Maytag Repairman" TV commercial.|
|1972||Daniel L. Krumm succeeded E.G. Higdon as Maytag president and treasurer, and two years later he was named chief executive officer.|
|1975||Maytag introduced Maytag-equipped home style laundries.|
|1981||Maytag acquired Hardwick Stove Company.|
|1983||Maytag discontinued production of wringer washers, after 76 years.|
|1985||Maytag introduced the first ever stacked washer/dryer.|
|1986||The Maytag Company became the Maytag Corporation. It acquired Magic Chef, and started selling a full line of appliances.|
|1987||Maytag Corporation added a line of front-loading commercial washers.|
|1989||Maytag acquired the Hoover Company.|
|1989||Gordon Jump first appears as The Maytag Repairman.|
|1991||Maytag contracted with Montgomery Ward & Co. for the exclusive use of the Admiral brand (acquired in the Magic Chef acquisition) on its consumer electronic goods. (Admiral would later become exclusive to Home Depot after the Whirlpool Corporation purchased Maytag).|
|1992||Maytag began manufacturing of dishwashers in Jackson, Tennessee.|
|Hoover Europe began Hoover free flight promotion.|
|End of Hoover free flight promotion.||1994||Hoover introduced the first SteamVac extractors.|
|1997||Maytag introduced a high-efficiency washer, the Maytag Neptune.|
|2001||Maytag acquired Amana.|
|2005||Maytag became the subject of a takeover battle between a private investment group in the United States (Ripplewood), a three party group comprised of Blackstone, Baird and Haier Corporation, a Chinese appliance manufacturer, and the Whirlpool Corporation. On December 22, Maytag stockholders agreed to sell Maytag to Whirlpool, ending Maytag's 112-year history as an independent company.|
|2006||On March 31, Whirlpool Corp. completed its acquisition of Maytag and began integrating the two appliance companies.|
|2007||Clay Earl Jackson becomes the new Maytag repairman featured in advertising campaigns. During this year, Maytag also celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Pastime washing machine by releasing the Centennial Washer and Dryer pair.|
Maytag sold multiple small appliances including a cordless iron under the Maytag brand, a mixer and blender under the Jenn-Air, as well as the popular Skybox and Rookie home vending products.
In floor care, Maytag owned the Hoover brand, the market leader in North America and the floor care brand with the highest consumer recognition and buying preference.
In commercial products, Maytag owned Dixie-Narco, a leader in refrigerated soft drink and specialty vending machines as well as Jade cooking products and Amana commercial cooking products.
Maytag had presence in markets around the world, including sales operations in Australia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. The corporation's export sales and marketing, licensing of brands, and international joint ventures was coordinated by Maytag International in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Maytag International, was based in Schaumburg, Illinois, handled the sales, licensing and business ventures of corporate appliances and floorcare brands in overseas markets as well as the administrative support for the international sales organization. This network extended to more than 70 countries worldwide.
Maytag International was responsible for export sales and licensing of the corporation's appliances and floor care brands and joint ventures in overseas markets. This network extends to more than 90 countries worldwide. The main office is located in Chicago with major subsidiary offices in Burlington, Ontario (Canada), Monterrey (Mexico), Sydney (Australia), and London (England) and region sales offices in Beirut (Lebanon), London (England), and Guaynabo (Puerto Rico).
Ol' Lonely, or "the lonely repairman", is a character in Maytag advertisements, created for Maytag by the Leo Burnett advertising agency. He was initially played by Jesse White, beginning in 1967. Ol' Lonely is representative of the professed dependability of Maytag products. Maytag advertisements stated “Ol' Lonely’s predicament is testimony to the durability and reliability of Maytag appliances. Now if only he had something to do with his days.”
In 1986, the repairman was joined by Newton, a basset hound named for Maytag’s headquarters in Newton, Iowa. In 1989, character actor Gordon Jump first appeared as Ol' Lonely in the advertisement “Biker.” In total, Jump appeared in more than 77 Maytag commercials and print advertisements. He made appearances at events for employees and customers and also was actively involved in several philanthropic and charitable causes.
Actor Hardy Rawls was hired to play Ol' Lonely after Jump's retirement in 2003, although he appeared only in print advertising and personal appearances. Gordon Jump died two months later on September 22 2003. In French-speaking Quebec, Ol' Lonely was played by Paul Berval. For a period of time Maytag gave Ol' Lonely a younger sidekick character known as the 'Maytag Apprentice', played by actor Mark Devine. However, in 2005 Maytag cancelled his contract. Maytag also elected not to renew Rawls' contract, instead holding open auditions. Indianapolis Colts backup quarterback Jim Sorgi was among those who auditioned. On April 2 2007, Maytag announced that Clay Earl Jackson of Richmond, Virginia had been selected to fill the role of Ol' Lonely.
The "Maytag repairman" has become a commonly-used metaphor for a professional whose services are rarely needed, such as "Most people in town now have their own cars, making the local bus driver like the Maytag repairman."