Dead Wringer

They were bulky and loud and could squeeze unwary fingers, but millions of Americans relied on them for clean socks, shirts and underwear all the same. Since 1909, Maytag (1982 sales: $440.8 million) has turned out nearly 12 million wringer washers from its plant on the edge of downtown Newton, Iowa. But automatic washers and dryers have drained away much of the business for wringers, and Maytag will stop making them by the end of the year. "We're experiencing a great sense of loss here," laments a company executive. "The wringer was our only product for 42 years."

Maytag, a leading maker...

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