Made In the USA: Micro-Kitchen Miracle
What do extended-stay hotel rooms, “mother-in-law suites”, luxury watercraft and aircraft, assisted-living units, tiny houses, high-end motor homes, and apartments in high-rent cities have in common?
Yes! The answer is a micro-kitchen, whose components usually include: refrigeration, coffeemaker, microwave, and a cooking surface.
Okay, one more: What do apartment rooftop gas grills, apartment balcony charcoal hibachis, and condo “community” outdoor propane-fueled grills have in common?
Yes! The answer is open-flame liability. But you also get credit if you said they’re all cooking surfaces, in which case I think you might see where we’re going with this…
Kenyon International is all about innovative cooking surfaces that not only fit into tight and/or otherwise challenging spaces, but also perform flawlessly under adverse conditions. Kind of like the company itself!
Kenyon International’s Made in the USA history follows what is starting to become a familiar trajectory: A colorful founder’s legacy is preserved decades later by an industry maverick determined to buck the corporate consolidation and overseas manufacturing trends of the late 20th century.
The company began in 1931 after a brilliant MIT graduate and barnstorming airplane pilot named Theodore Kenyon filed his first patent for a boat speedometer. Eventually, the ensuing Kenyon product line of marine and aviation instruments would evolve to include cooktops and alcohol stoves for marine applications, but, over the years, financial struggles and a changing business climate forced a series of new owners and an uncertain future for the company.
By the early 80’s Kenyon was owned by International Marine Industries, and in 1988, when most U.S manufacturing was being moved overseas, IMI brought Florida entrepreneur Phillip Williams up to the Clinton, Connecticut HQ to run what remained of the company. The next eight years were spent heads-down designing sea-worthy ceramic glass cooktops and refrigeration appliances that would become the standard for yachts around the world.
In 1996, Williams and his friends partnered to buy out the company. It’s been growing under his private control ever since. The immense popularity of their cooktops and electric grills continues to feed a growing demand for shore-side design solutions where space is at a premium and/or gas (and flames!) are not an advisable option.
In fact, today, only 15% of Kenyon’s sales are for marine products. The rest is for cooktops and grills used in residential, hospitality, institutional, academic, military, and mobile interiors, making Kenyon International the largest manufacturer in North America of two-burner ceramic glass cooktops and high quality stainless steel electric grills.
Don’t you just love it when a commitment to employees and the local economy pays off in such a big and beautiful way? We do, too! Watch here to see what makes today’s Kenyon International truly unique :