Maytag Corporation

Founded in Newton, Iowa, by F. L. Maytag in 1893, the Maytag Company began as a manufacturer of farm tools. The company’s sales pattern reflected the seasonal nature of farming, so Maytag looked for a new product line that would be less susceptible to fluctuations in demand. In 1907, Maytag produced its first washing machine, a manual model. Maytag soon began to develop a line of washing machines, launching its first electric washing machine in 1911 and, in 1915, a washer powered by gasoline for homes without electricity. By the mid-1920s, Maytag had a 20 percent share of the U.S. washing machine market.

After World War II, Maytag diversified into the production of other white goods (stoves, washing machines, and refrigerators). Although Maytag continued to have a healthy share of the washingmachine market, its strategy seems to have been based on gaining a reputation for reliability rather than innovation. Its first automatic washing machines hit the market in 1948, ten years after these machines first appeared. Five years later, it added automatic clothes dryers to its product line. Maytag was also slow to move into the dishwasher market, introducing its first countertop dishwashers in 1966. Maytag did achieve an industry first in 1985, with the introduction of a stacking washer and dryer.