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Kenwood


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(established 1947)

The Kenwood domestic appliance company was established in Woking, England, in 1947 by the engineer‐entrepreneur Kenneth Wood and Roger Laurence, commencing with the manufacture of the A100 Turnover Toaster, which followed well‐established precedents. However, the company's second product, the A200 food mixer (1948), signalled a change in the company's fortunes. Its successor, the Kenwood Chef was launched at the Ideal Home Exhibition of 1950 and proved highly attractive to housewives who delighted at its ability to chop, mince, mix, and knead. Wood's marketing flair had much to do with the success of his company, which, by the mid‐1950s was exporting more than 80 per cent of its products with a turnover of £1.5 million. However, the Chef became a design classic as well as a commercial success with its stylish redesign (A307) in 1960 by the industrial designer Kenneth Grange, who had been brought in by Wood and who was to become closely associated with the design of a number of the company's products. However, after a number of setbacks the company was taken over by Thorn Electrical Industries in 1968. A more flexible kitchen appliance, the food processor, had been established by Pierre Verdun with his Robot‐Coupe (1963) and geared to the mass market by Carl Sontheimer's derivative Cuisinart (1973). Kenwood moved into the food‐processor market in 1979 with its Processor‐de‐Luxe (A352), followed by the Gourmet range (1982). In 1989 the company was bought out from Thorn EMI by the management and, three years later, was launched on the Stock Exchange to become Kenwood Appliances plc. In 1993 the company took over Waymaster for weighing scales and water‐filter products, setting up its Housewares Division in the same year. The company, whose headquarters are located in Havant, England, now has manufacturing facilities in the UK, Italy, and China and a distributor network in over 80 countries.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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