By Martin Vedris
SYDNEY: This year marks the 60th anniversary of appliance manufacturing for Kenwood, which was founded in Woking, UK, in 1946 by Kenneth Wood and launched its first product in 1947 — the A100 Turnover Toaster.
Today Kenwood products are distributed in over 40 countries and the company produces over 200 different models.
In 1946, the company that later became known as Kenwood Manufacturing Company Ltd was registered by Kenneth Wood and Roger Laurence. This year, 2007, celebrates the 60th anniversary of its first commercial product coming off the production line which is believed to have been on 21 May 1947.
According to Kenwood, the company’s A100 Turnover Toaster, was noted for its superior quality, innovation and design at a time when people were accustomed to the inferior quality of post-war goods.
The company was founded on Wood’s belief that in post-World War II, with the continuing liberation of women, there would be growing demand for labour-saving appliances in the kitchen. He reportedly believed that in the future every chore in the kitchen would be done at the touch of switch.
The A100 Turnover Toaster achieved great success until the late 1950s when it was overtaken by the automatic pop-up toaster . Today, Kenwood sells 500,000 toasters a year and has sold five million in the past 10 years alone.
The toaster was followed by the launch of a Twin Beater Mixer. With his team of designers, Wood developed the mixer into what was to be the start of over 50 years of the Kenwood Chef generation.
The first shipment of Kenwood Chefs were snapped up from retail store Harrods in just one week, where it was first sold for just over £19 ($46 AUD). Kenwood has sold over 15 million Chefs since its launch.
Kenneth Wood sold the sold the company to Thorn Industries Ltd in 1968. Then in 1989 Kenwood management bought the company from Thorn EMI, floating the company on the London Stock Exchange in 1992. Kenwood became part of the De’Longhi Group in 2001. Kenneth Wood died in 1997, aged 81.
Interestingly, according to Kenwood, a Kenwood product is sold every two seconds worldwide and the company has sold 90 million products in the past 10 years alone. Kenwood is also reportedly used in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.