Maytag Automobile

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Fred Duesenberg and August Duesenberg came to Des Moines Iowa from Rockford, in about 1900 to establish a bicycle shop. The Duesenberg's wanted to produce a automobile in about 1906. They had Des Moines Lawyer, Edward B. Mason to finance the their design and the building the first Mason automobile. While F. L. Maytag was still using washers as a way to fill the seasonal slumps in farm equipment production, his interest turned to a new development in manufacturing the automobile. He was taken with the success of a Des Moines, Iowa. builder of autos, Edward Mason, Maytag decided to invest in the company. In 1909, he did just that, purchasing 3/5's of the company, Owning $75,000 of the $125,000 for which the company had capitalized. Mason Automobile Co. became known as the Maytag-Mason Motor Co, with the production facilities being moved from Des Moines to Waterloo, Iowa. Accompanying the Mason name and background came two of the most famous designers and builders of cars in the early days of automotive engineering, Fred and August Duesenberg. Their knowledge and craftsmanship contributed almost totally to the success of the Mason and later the Maytag-Mason automobile. When F. L. Maytag joined with Mason to build cars, the Mason was a 2-cylinder model that was noted for its hill-climbing ability. The chain-driven automobile had a horizontally opposed engine of 5-inch bore and 5-inch stroke. located under the floor board at about the center of the car. The crankshaft ran crosswise so that it could be cranked from the right side.

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Picture of the Maytag auto taking eight people up a fifty percent grade, No other car, regardless of horse power was able to do this.

Of the few Maytag-Mason automobiles still in existence is a 2-cylinder, 24 horsepower car on exhibit in the Maytag company's museum in Newton, Iowa. It weighs 1,950 pounds, has a 96-inch wheel base and-travels at a top speed of 45. m.p.h. When it was manufactured in 1910, it sold for $1,350. In 1910 a 4-cylinder auto was introduced by the Maytag-Mason Motor Co. Priced from $1,250 to $1,750, and available in six models.. it was considered one of the finest autos in its price class for that era. This car,  also noted  for its hill climbing ability, soon was the bearer of a gear drive which replaced the original chain-drive. With all of the knowledge of the Duesenberg's and the backing of the Masons and Maytag's, however, the car was not the success the 2-cylinder had been. Stiff competition in the then new but growing automobile industry made it hard on the Maytag-Mason Motor Co. F.L. Maytag sold his stock in the Maytag-Mason Co. to William Galloway, a Waterloo industrialist, June 29 1910. The company's name was change back the Mason Motor company January 12 1912.  Fred Maytag never ventured in to automobile making again. Maytag lost a considerable investment in the auto undertaking, as did a number of his friends who had bought stock. However, 12 years later, although not obligated to do so, Fred Maytag paid back the stockholders losses to the amount of somewhere over $20,000. Fred and August Duesenberg went on to create there very well built automobiles for the rich and famous.


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