Happy Birthday: Whirlpool Turns 100 On 11.11.11


By Joan Bennett

What was born hundred years ago in 1911 as a small family business has grown into one of the largest manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances in the world. Today is Whirlpool’s birthday.  To commemorate the occasion, the company is holding employee events across the world, and has also created a sale of anniversary items.

Jeff M. Fettig (Chairman, CEO, Jeff M. Fettig, Whirlpool): We’re proud of our American heritage and our growth to become the world’s appliance leader .

A statement from the company lists some of the key milestones in Whirlpool’s life. We thought you may find a little look back into history interesting.  So here they are:

  • 1911 – The Upton Machine Company is founded to produce electric motor-driven wringer washers.
  • 1929 – Growing demand requires the Upton Machine Company to merge with Nineteen Hundred Washer Company. The new firm is called The Nineteen Hundred Corporation.
  • 1948 – The Nineteen Hundred Corporation successfully launches the first Whirlpool brand name automatic washing machine.
  • 1950 – The company is renamed Whirlpool Corporation; automatic dryers added to product line.
  • 1967 – The company launches the 24-hour Cool Line customer service help line, the first toll-free support program in the United States.
  • 1969 – Elisha “Bud” Gray, chairman and CEO, and John Platts, president, write a letter on sustainability to shareholders, articulating the company’s need to engage in social issues, including reducing the human impact on the environment. Gray then defines a new sustainability-centered business model.
  • 1975 – Whirlpool plays key role in crafting U.S. Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
  • 1986 – Whirlpool purchases the iconic KitchenAid brand.
  • 1998 – Whirlpool begins its long-standing support of the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor.
  • 1999 – Whirlpool initiates partnership with Habitat for Humanity International – donating product and engaging employees around the world to volunteer and help families in 22 countries to obtain affordable housing.
  • 2003 – Whirlpool Corporation becomes the world’s first appliance manufacturer to set a global greenhouse gas reduction target.
  • 2010 – Whirlpool breaks ground on a new, riverfront office campus in Benton Harbor; breaks ground on a new LEED-certified manufacturing facility in Cleveland, Tennessee; and opens the World of Whirlpool, a new product experience and training facility, in Chicago.

You can read more about the company, and how its celebrating its 100th. birthday here.


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