Q: I have an old wooden washing machine I'd like to know more about. It has the date "May 5, 1896" on it and the words "Power Washer, Associated Manufacturers Co." The state name in the mark is Iowa, but I can't make out the city. Can you tell me who made this and about how old it is?
A: Your "power washer" was made by Associated Manufacturers Co. of Waterloo, Iowa, a company known mostly for its gasoline engines. The company was formed c.1908 when the Iowa Dairy Separator Co. and the Sherman Smith Co. combined with Theodore C. Menges's engine works. Associated Manufacturers Co. began making gasoline engines in 1909. The date "May 5, 1896" is a mystery, but it may refer to a patent issued on that date to another washing machine manufacturer for a part of the wringer. A washing machine similar to yours was made by Associated Manufacturers Co. in 1917. It was sold under the name "Amanco Hand and Power Washer." It had a belt pulley that operated the engine and a power wringer. The Associated Manufacturers factory was demolished in the 1960s.