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Frederick L. Maytag

AKA Frederick Louis Maytag

Born: 14-Jul-1857
Birthplace: Elgin, IL
Died: 26-Mar-1937
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Newton Union Cemetery, Newton, IA

Gender: Male
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Philanthropist
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Maytag Corporation

Frederick L. Maytag was a farmer until his mid-twenties, then worked for ten years as a farm equipment salesman, travelling from farm to farm. At age 36, he was one of four equal partners in a new business venture, the Parsons Band-Cutter & Self Feeder Company. It sold corn huskers, hay presses, threshing machines, and other farm equipment designed by one of its partners, George W. Parsons, but the machines were apparently not designed too well, as the company was bombarded with complaints and earned a reputation for low quality. Maytag eventually bought out his partners, renamed the business the Maytag Company, and the quality of its products showed a marked improvement.

Maytag's company built its first washing machines in 1907, its first electric washers in 1911, and added a gasoline-powered model -- for homes without electricity -- in 1914. It also manufactured Maytag vacuum sweepers and fountain pens, and Maytag was the majority owner of the short-lived Maytag-Mason Motor Co. By the mid-1920s Maytag's reputation had been reversed, and its washing machines were by far the best-selling in America. In 1922 Maytag's new bottom-agitator washing machines -- the basic design still used today -- were such brisk-sellers that the company discontinued all its other products. Maytag later added optional accessories, allowing its washing machines to also serve as butter churns and meat grinders. By 1927 Maytag had built and sold more than a million washing machines.

His company was headquartered in Newton, Iowa, and Maytag installed the water system, built the electric plant, and gave the town a sizable park, pool, and hospital. He served six years on Newton's City Council and a two-year stint as Mayor, gave a quarter-million dollars to the local YMCA, and he was a principle donor to three nearby colleges. He lost sizable fortunes with his investments in automaking and a railroad company, but reimbursed friends who had invested in these ventures on his advice. On his 75th birthday Maytag's 1,500 employees shared $150,000 from the founder -- a sizable gift at the height of the Depression. At his death in 1938, he was buried in Newton, and left up to $50,000 to each of hundreds of local residents. His company was bought out by Whirlpool Corporation in 2006, and most Maytag brand appliances are now made in Mexico.

Father: Daniel William Maytag (b. 1831)
Mother: Amelia Tarebun Maytag (b. 1837)
Brother: Lewis R. Maytag (b. 1859)
Sister: Martha M. Maytag (b. 1862)
Brother: Theodore Henry Maytag (b. 1864, d. 1931)
Brother: Jacob B. Maytag (b. 1867)
Sister: Emma Maytag (b. 1869)
Brother: Daniel C. Maytag (b. 1872)
Sister: Helena Maytag (b. 1875)
Sister: Anna A. Maytag (b. 1878)
Sister: Viola Maytag (b. 1880)
Wife: Dena Bergman Maytag (m. 1882)
Son: Elmer Henry Maytag (Maytag President, b. 1883, d. 1931)
Son: Lewis Bergman Maytag (Maytag President, b. 1888, d. 1967)

    Maytag Chairman (1921-37)
    Maytag President (1911-21)
    Maytag GM (1894-1911)
    Maytag Founder (1893)
    Mayor Newton, IA (1923-25)
    Iowa State Senate (1902-12)
    German Ancestry

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