Keys ala Maytag

By Staff
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130 Serpentine Drive, Bayville, New Jersey 08721

I live along the eastern shores of New Jersey about midway
between New York and Atlantic City. It is somewhat difficult to
find antique engines in this area because few farms still exist
here, and electricity was introduced into the area relatively early
in the century. What is even more elusive is the engine powered
machinery, such as corn shelters and pump jacks which are so
prevalent in the Midwest. After six years of beating the bushes I
had collected about ten engines, but I had no machinery to belt
them to.

I work in the hardware business and one unique thing about
hardware people is that they never throw anything away. As a
result, hardware stores, especially the old fashioned kind, are
notorious for warehousing junk over the years. While poking around
a storage loft one day, I found an old key duplicating machine that
had been retired thirty years earlier due to a burned out motor. I
had restored a Maytag single about a year ago and it had proven to
be easy starting and very dependable. Since the Maytag was
specifically designed as a substitute electric motor, I thought
that it would be ideal to power the key cutter. In fact, when I
looked at the original motor tag on the cutter, it stated the rpms
as 1050, just like the Maytag. A little experimentation with pulley
sizes was all that was necessary to get the proper rpms at the

For the past few months I have had the key cutter and several
engines on display at the hardware store to promote our club, The
Pinelands Antique Engine Association. I hear a lot of interesting
comments by my customers. One man came up and asked if they were
‘spit and miss’ engines. I replied that most of them were
of the hit and miss variety, however on occasion they could become
‘spit and cuss’ engines.

The key cutter is intended to be a fund raiser for our
organization. Our yearly show is held on a Sunday in October at the
Historic Batsto Village, Batsto, New Jersey. If you would like more
information about our group and its activities, please feel free to
write or call (908) 269-6580.

Maytags are often criticized for the annoying smoke and noise
that they make. Although I couldn’t do anything about the
smoke, every time the Maytag; fires it now makes beautiful music by
jingling all the keys that hang on the display. Some may consider
the Maytag to be the ugly duckling of the engine world, but
isn’t it remarkable how these little engines have been utilized
to do everything but drill people’s teeth. Drill teeth?
Hmmmmn….maybe I’ll scratch around the back of that hardware
store some more!

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines