Maytag Twins or 'Look-a-Likes'?

| March/April 1999

1108 Emery Lane, Clarksville, Indiana 47130

The twin cylinder Maytag, or 'Model 72,' began its life sometime in 1937 and was in continuous production and distribution until late into the year 1960. Quite a tribute to the popularity of the little twin cylinder. However, some explanation is due at this point in regard to the sale of the twin during the '50s and '60s. I haven't any positive proof 'twins' were being produced by the Maytag company at this time. There is a good possibility the engines distributed at that time had been in 'storage.

'Maytag first advertised the 'twin' as a 'reliable replacement' for the popular one-cylinder or Model 92. The 92 had been available for some ten years prior to the introduction of the Model 72. It is doubtful the twin (despite its long life) ever surpassed or equaled the popularity of the single cylinder 92. The unique sound of the exhaust from a running single cylinder Maytag is still a favorite among today's gas engine collectors. No doubt it is one of the most recognized exhaust sounds heard at any engine show.

Photo #1: This photo provides an overall view of three types of mufflers used by Maytag. There may be others. Reading left to right: the round aluminum muffler was cast by the LeClaire Co.; the flat elongated muffler was from the Simer Co. of Minneapolis, Minn. (see photo #3 for a closer view), and of course the popular flex-tube with the cast iron muffler. This is a short flex-tube used just for the photo. I have had flextubes fifteen to twenty feet long. Photo #1 also shows the 'flywheel' guard, plus the special bracket needed to attach the twin to the underside of a Maytag washing machine.

The twin, or 72 as it was commonly referred to, was used primarily as a source of power for the Maytag washing machines. Even as late as the early '30s, some brands of washers were hand operated; thus a ready power source such as the twin had a great deal of influence on Americans' work habits. However, the twin was also popular on numerous other types of machinery of that time period. These included generating bat tery chargers, corn shelters, water pumps, and a variety of lawn mowers. Despite its diminutive size, the twin cylinder was instrumental in the way tasks that required physical labor were performed during the '30s.

Some said of Maytag twins, 'If you have seen one, you have seen them all, because they all look alike.' Nothing could be further from the truth. Maytag twins are all similar; however, as these photos indicate, there were a number of differences, some were just slight and difficult to spot, but others were much more significant.