Thread Number: 74306  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
"Old timer" collector
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Post# 981053   2/2/2018 at 20:50 (193 days old) by pumper (SE Wisconsin)        

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Post# 981059 , Reply# 1   2/2/2018 at 21:45 (193 days old) by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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Very neat. Impressive collection. I like the one that was child powered! Seeing the treadmill to provide animal power reminded me of something my grandmother, who was born in 1888, told me. They had a treadmill powered washing machine on the farm. They used a dog to provide the power. If they didn't tie him up Sunday night he wouldn't be around on Monday morning to do the wash! He wasn't stupid.

Post# 981061 , Reply# 2   2/2/2018 at 22:26 (193 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        
A really nice man and very cool museum --

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I've been out to Lee's farm, about 8-10 years ago.  It's really impressive to see all of the machines, lined up in rows.  He keeps the machines clean and tidy and has many interesting examples that do "run" to show the unusual motions and sounds some of them make.  There is no "washing" being done per se,  but his care and attention to detail is mind boggling on the scale that he's accomplished.   His workshops are also very interesting, he sandblasts and custom matches and paints many of his finds to restore their glory.  He also has a metalworking shop for fabricating broken parts and integral machine pieces that he needs to make the machines  whole again. 


The LG washer and dryer set they have in the house now are newer than the LG set that was there when I visited with Greg M years ago. He had done some consulting work for LG and they "paid" him with a new washer and dryer set.  Like in the story, he had very little interest in the newfangled machines, but his wife spoke highly of their performance at the time.  


He showed us his library in the house with a room full of binders of advertising, patent printouts and thousands of other drawings, blueprints and research he's done over the many years of his hobby.  He wrote a book "Save Women's Lives" you can see on his website, a pretty comprehensive story of the early days of washing machine history.  


Even nearly a decade ago, he was worried about what would become of his collection, it's so large that it limits the options for absorbing the whole thing at once.  He'd reached out to the Smithsonian Museum and I believe the Colorado University and state historical organizations, but they weren't interested.   It's a little  disheartening to see that still weighing on his mind.


Post# 981063 , Reply# 3   2/2/2018 at 22:32 (193 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        
John L......

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He's looking for a home for all those have a museum......

Post# 981078 , Reply# 4   2/3/2018 at 02:35 (193 days old) by gredmondson (San Francisco, CALIFORNIA)        

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I was there a few years ago. Go if you can! it is amazing.

Post# 981081 , Reply# 5   2/3/2018 at 05:27 (193 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Beautiful collection, but I can't imaging what that collection would sell for.

Post# 981084 , Reply# 6   2/3/2018 at 06:00 (193 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Hardest thing for collectors of anything is to

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Begin letting go and or making arrangements for after they are gone.

In the art and other "collectible" worlds things are donated to museums, and or one is established/created. If one has the funds of course the latter can mean a collection remains in place with the original home becoming a museum. That does take money however to create an endowment large enough to last into *eternity*.

Other than that the other often difficult but sad option is to begin selling/moving things on while one still lives. This way the collector has some control over where things end up and hopefully sells and or chooses recipients. well.

So many of the original companies that made those washers are either long gone, and or now part of worldwide conglomerates (Whirlpool, Electrolux, etc...) that even doing something along the lines of what Miele has in Germany might not prove possible.

Then you just have the sheer size of that collection. It would take a huge space to display even just a fraction of the machines Mr. Maxwell has restored. What then becomes of the rest? It looks as if you'd need storage space the size of an airplane hanger to hold everything Mr. Maxwell has, but to what purpose? By this one means if the surplus to requirements appliances aren't or cannot be displayed or used, what then becomes the purpose of storing them for posterity? Again space won't be cheaply had (unless donated), so someone would be paying quite a lot of money to warehouse old washing machines.

Post# 981086 , Reply# 7   2/3/2018 at 06:17 (193 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Just think

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When Mr. Maxwell was starting out collecting how "stock" was no problem. *LOL* Things were auctioned off or just given away because few thought anyone had any interest in "old" appliances especially washing machines. That Easy shown in Mr. Maxwell's trailer photo looks rather pristine.

Now of course it's take what you can get; and money, money, money. People want $$$ for any old rusted and clapped out thing they've found in basement.

Post# 981112 , Reply# 8   2/3/2018 at 14:16 (192 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

These old machines are only important to us. Truth is, once we are gone, our families and survivors will call the local Got Junk place and have it hauled off to the krusher.
A harsh reality of poor planning and the belief one will live forever.

I would rather move it along while I am alive and watch somebody enjoy tinkering with it.
Were it not for the generosity of people like Greg Nunn, Steve Bisso, Jason Dumont, Peter Haritatos, John Lefever, Mark Harmon, Hans and Donald, and others, I would never have had the opportunities to play with these old classics.

I hope Lee Maxwell can get them into protective custody before he reaches check-out time.

Post# 981113 , Reply# 9   2/3/2018 at 14:25 (192 days old) by good-shepherd (New Jersey)        
This way the collector has some control where things end up

Good point. I might add same goes for belongings in general.

I go to lots of estate sales, often the homes of elderly or deceased people.
Its depressing in a way to see strangers (myself included) rummaging through a lifetime of someones possessions, right down to their clothing and favorite easy chair.

Best to sort those things out while you still can rather than disinterested relatives liquidating everything to the lowest bidder.

Post# 981198 , Reply# 10   2/4/2018 at 07:17 (192 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
For those who have never been....

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