making them well worth the money. Any time you mention the brand name, people automatically know who and what you’re talking about. Shelves of kitchen appliance stores and big retailers like Sears and JC Penny are lined with silver and black and white machines all set up and ready to be taken home to mix baking ingredients or brew together a cup of coffee with a strong punch behind it. Cuisinart is one of them. Whatever your needs, these appliances have abilities in spades, from pizza ovens to Cuisinart espresso machines.
The brand came to life through the ingenuity of Carl Sontheimer. Taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sontheimer became an engineer and physicist and owned a company by the name of Amzac Electronics. In 1967 he decided to sell the company, but wasn’t yet ready to settle down into the life of retirement. Instead, he brought his skills with electronics into his love of cooking, and after seeing restaurant food preparation machines, he and his wife Shirley believed there was no reason they couldn’t create a smaller version fit for the kitchen at home. Reengineering the designs of the larger restaurant versions, he created smaller processors and thus, Cuisinart was born.
Carl Sontheimer decided to bring his creations over to America in 1973 and showcased it during the National Housewares Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Initially sales were poor. Even though America was creating more elaborate meals at the time and excited about kitchen goodies, people saw the processor as nothing more than an overtly elaborate blender. However, these same food processors caught the eyes of renowned cooks and food writers Julia Child and James Beard. Julia and James realized that quick and easy slicing and dicing meant faster, finer food as well as easily creating healthy meals. The popularity of these two culinary connoisseurs lead to a domino effect – suddenly everyone had to have this food processor. While popularity can occasionally be a fluke, such was not the case here. The brand took off like a rocket when people realized that the products were indeed as fantastic as Julia Child and James Beard claimed. Suddenly it was featured in prominent magazines such as Gourmet and the New York Times. Sontheimer didn’t know it then, but his creation would last for over 25 years into the time of the Cuisinart espresso machine.
Within a few years, the sales of the company nearly doubled and by 1977 an estimated number of $50 million worth of appliances had been sold. It wasn’t long before other companies realized the popularity and money surrounding the brand and competition finally began to surface. Still, they couldn’t keep up with the one and only processor, which continued to dominate the market despite competitors marketing cheaper products. They continued with their pricing and quality, creating new models of varying sizes over the years until finally critics demanded different appliances altogether. Sales began to fall in 1988 and the Sontheimers sold the company for $60 million. People began to reject the processor – that was still all the company produced and it was considered too big, bulky, and complicated for everyday users at this point. Serious cooks had use for multiples blades and settings, but the average consumer used only one or two and often had less space on the counter for one.
Finally, in 1989 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a little dark spot in the history of Cuisinart that most people would be shocked to hear. Indeed, had the Conair Corporation not purchased the company, you might not have that Cuisinart espresso machine today. Conair pumped up the marketing for the product and in 1990 began to make additions to the appliance line – not only improving the current processor, but adding new appliances altogether and situating them under the Cuisinart name. In 1993 a hand-held countertop blender and a pasta maker appeared. In 1994 they added coffee makers. With European tastes on the rise, it wouldn’t be too long before Cuisinart espresso machines took the stage. By 1996 they added in toasters and hand-mixers, all of which allowed for plenty of options and considered high end kitchen appliances.
In 1996 they celebrated their 25th anniversary of business and by this point they had created products to fit within 70% of appliance categories, finally fulfilling consumers’ cries for multiple appliances, so much so that people are happily satiated and find almost anything they want on the shelves. In 1997 they created the industry’s first iced cappuccino and hot espresso machine. Consumers had demanded specialty coffee products and they delivered with the Cuisinart espresso machine. They continued on with kitchen utensils, towels, and other accessories, and in 1998 they jumped into bakeware.
What they Are Known For
Most people associate the name with food processors, but after 25 years of remodeling and listening to consumers, they make everything from hand mixers to Cuisinart espresso machines. Not once has the brand wavered on quality. In fact, when Sontheimer still owned the company, he refused to come out with a new product because he believed he had created the best one available and saw no way to improve upon it. The brand’s mission now is to help people “Savor the Good Life,” offering dozens of various appliances and accessories for any kitchen, from the professional cook to the everyday Joe baking some cookies. They strive to create products above the typical standard and help provide people with culinary information. They have won multiple awards in various categories from the iParenting Media Awards to the Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award. They do all they can to provide their products to people across the country for whatever culinary need possible. They’ll never back down from their stance on creating only superior products at prices people are comfortable paying. By making sure of this, they hope to allow everyone to do what they believe everyone ought to – “Savor the Good Life.”