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'1,500 machines, 1,500 stories': The man who collects washing machines

Posted at 9:48 AM, May 24, 2019

Tucked away in the small town of Eaton, Colorado, there’s a time machine capsule dedicated to one type of technology, and one man who has dedicated 35 years of his life to this collection.

“My museum is called Lee Maxwell’s Old and Unusual Collection,” said 89-year-old Lee Maxwell. “I took up this hobby about 35 years ago, and it’s turned into an obsession. My collection is unusual that’s for sure.”

Maxwell collects washing machines. He is the owner of the only washing machine museum in the country.

“Why? Well a lot of people ask me why,” Maxwell said. “Since I’m not a golfer or fisherman, and I don’t like to bungee jump, I couldn’t afford corvettes, so I chose washing machines.”

Maxwell said he owns a washing machine from every state, some dating back to the 1800s.

“Over 1,500 machines,” Maxwell said. “The number is kind of a secret though, because I told my wife, Barbara, I would stop at a thousand. Keep that under your breath. 1,500 machines, 1,500 stories.”

For 35 years, Maxwell traveled the country collecting washing machines to bring back to his home of 17 acres.

“I spent a lot of time here the last 35 years,” Maxwell said, while standing in his warehouse full of washing machines. “I have to find a good home for it. There are some folks around the US that are interested in it. I want to find a home close to northern Colorado. I’m eighty-nine years old now, I would like to go eleven more years to really see it blossom.”

Maxwell said he has a few organizations interested, but he did not want to give any more details. He hopes it will continue to grow as the largest washing machine museum in the country.

“There are three attributes you have to have to be a washing machine collector,” Maxwell said. “You have to have space, you have to be insane, and you have to have a saint for a wife. And I got all three.”