New Jersey to Florida to Maine Maytag


| June/July 1996



Four generations of Meixells'

HC 32, Box 319 Bath, Maine 04530

This is a 'short' story about a Maytag washing machine restoration project that I began in late November 1994, to be completed by Christmas Day 1994 as a gift to my grandparents. I found out that, as in all restoration projects, it turned out to be much more work than I had anticipated. My father, mother and my VERY understanding wife, Carolyn, came to my rescue in order to help my dream become a reality. I'll begin with a little history on how we became interested in gas engines in the first place.

In 1962 Russell Meixell found a Witte hit-and-miss kerosene (walking beam headless style) engine with the original shipping tag still attached. It had been used a little, but was almost new. He bought it and thus a series of things began that got his son, his grand sons, and his great-grandsons all hooked on gas engines. Katherine, his wife of 65 years, is just as well known at engine shows as he is. At the time I began writing this story, Russell ('Pappy') was 84 and Katherine ('Grammy') was 82. Now, 33 years later, Russell has a very respectable collection of over 100 engines, many of which my father Robert, my brother Bob, and I found for him all over the country. My father has about the same number, and Bob and I have a few interesting machines. Russell is an active member of Blue Mountain Antique Gas and Steam Engine Association and a member of Maine Antique Power Association. My father is one of the founders of MAPA, which participates annually at the Owls Head Transportation Museum Rally in August. Russell, Katherine and Robert have displayed engines at every one of these rallies. 1994 was the twentieth one!

That is a very brief history. You all know how much time, effort and fun go into 30-plus years of collecting. Now on to the actual project:

While visiting my sister in New Jersey, I noticed an old Maytag wringer washing machine sitting outside of an antique shop near her home. I stopped and bought it for a very reasonable price. Much to my wife's dismay, my prize ended up in the back of the van all the way to Florida and then back to my home in Maine! Two years ago I had brought home a Maytag twin cylinder engine from my grandfather's to repair for him. It occurred to me on the way home from Florida that I might install the Maytag twin on the washing machine, and give them to Pappy as a unit. The washing machine was currently equipped with the original electric motor.

I decided that I should try to deter mine which engine was the correct one for the washing machine I had purchased, so I looked in the Gas Engine Magazine classified ads and contacted Mr. L. G. Simpson of Simpson Motors, 3306 Amherst Pike, Madison Heights, Virginia 24572. Mr. Simpson through out my entire project turned out to be a wealth of information and a very patient supplier of parts and advice to a novice Maytag restorer. Many thanks to him for his help