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Washing Machine Assembly Line in Maytag Plant in Newton, Iowa, 1949

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Employees at work on washing machine assembly line in Maytag plant. Newton, Iowa. October 1949.
Courtesy of State Historical Society of Iowa, "Washing Machine Assembly Line in Maytag Plant," 1949


Employees at work on the washing machine assembly line in the Maytag plant in Newton, Iowa. During the 1950s, the laundry and kitchen appliance industry grew rapidly. Maytag was manufacturing washers and dryers for commercial self-service laundries and commercial operators. Since Maytag was a much smaller company, they decided to limit manufacturing of washers and dryers, alongside marketing ovens and refrigerators built by other companies. The company was known for its reputation and renamed the corporate office in Newton, Iowa, as "One Dependability Square."

Source-Dependent Questions

  • Look at the photo and describe what is happening.
  • The Maytag company limited their manufacturing to washers and dryers. For a small company, why would this be an economically smart move?
  • Compare this assembly line at Maytag to the assembly line at the Ford factory. What is the same? What's different?