Amana Appliances began in 1934 when Amana, Iowa, native George Foerestner founded The Electrical Equipment Co., and accepted the challenge from an Iowa City businessman to build a dependable beverage cooler.
Two years later the company began making a new product, walk-in beverage coolers, or cold-storage lockers, for use in grocery stores and restaurants. This operation was sold to the Amana Society and renamed Amana Refrigeration, with Foerestner continuing as principal manager.
Since then, Amana has claimed a number of appliance-industry firsts, many of which are shown below. Last August, it was acquired by Maytag Corp., and is now integrated into Maytag Appliances.
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1941 Amana moves to its main office and production site in Middle Amana, Iowa.
1943 Fire destroys most of the Middle Amana plant, which is later rebuilt. Amana continues as a wartime supplier of walk-in coolers for the military. As the war ends, production is shifted to home freezers.
1945 Dr. Percy Spencer, an engineer for Raytheon Co., discovers the principle of microwave cooking, based on radar research from World War II. Following the discovery, Raytheon develops and patents a microwave oven which it trademarks as Radarange®, but production is limited to large, expensive units for institutional use. Twenty years later, Ray-theon would purchase Amana in order to capitalize on the microwave oven.
1947 Amana becomes first manufacturer to nationally market an upright freezer for the home.
1949 Amana introduces first side-by-side refrigerator.
1954 Amana is first to patent a self-defrost refrigerator.
1956 Through its acquisition of the Deepfreezer Co., Amana provides “Deepfreeze®” food freezers to the public. Amana begins manufacturing central air conditioning systems for the home.
1965 Raytheon Co. of Lexington, Mass., purchases Amana.
1967 Amana introduces the Amana Radarange®, the world’s first 115-volt portable countertop microwave oven.
1967 Caloric Corp., Topton, Pa., is acquired by Raytheon.
1969 Amana begins making furnaces.
1975 Amana becomes first manufacturer to market touch-controlled microwave ovens.
1976 Amana purchases Corning’s range line and begins providing smoothtop ranges to the public.
1979 Amana unveils Rotawave® cooking system in microwave ovens, which evenly distributes microwaves in the oven cavity.
1979 Speed Queen Co. of Ripon Wis., and Modern Maid of Chattanooga, Tenn., are acquired by Raytheon.
1982 Amana introduces its first line of laundry products, manufactured at Speed Queen.
1988 Amana becomes first U.S. manufacturer of quartz-halogen cooktops. The company also introduces its first line of built-in refrigerators and the industry’s first 24-in. deep freestanding refrigerators.
1989 Amana introduces the first refrigerators with see-through interior storage space organizers.
1991 Caloric and Speed Queen marketing functions are consolidated with Amana.
1991 Amana is first to use a new halo-shaped quartz halogen element to provide more even cooking
1992 Amana begins production on the first gas cooktops with burners installed directly through the glass cooktop surface.
1992 Amana acquires Raytheon’s Industrial Microwave Processing group. Production of the high-powered batch and conveyorized heating systems moves to Amana, Iowa.
1993 The remaining operations of Caloric Corp. are consolidated under Amana. The Raytheon Appliance Group now consists of two companies, Amana and Speed Queen.
1993 Amana acquires assets of Menumaster, Inc., from a subsidiary of Litton Industries. Menumaster commercial microwave ovens are sold worldwide for use in vending and foodservice application.
1993 Amana becomes the first U.S. manufacturer of a commercial microwave oven with a scanner to read bar-coded cooking instructions.
1993 Amana introduces the first clothes dryer with a stainless steel cylinder, reversible door and the largest door opening in the industry.
1995 Amana introduces its first complete set of stainless-look appliances, including a side-by- side built-in refrigerator, mirrored wall ovens, gas and electric cooktops and dishwashers.
1995 Amana begins manufacturing its first freestanding electric ranges and commercial microwave ovens with convection-cooking
1995 Amana is first in industry to eliminate CFC in its complete line of refrigerators, nearly a year ahead of the Federal deadline of Jan. 1, 1996.
1996 Amana introduces its first 84-in. high deluxe built-in bottom-mount refrigerators and the industry’s first 70-in. high built-in bottom-mount refrigerators.
1996 Amana unveils the Wave Oven™, the first oven for the home using halogen energy to cook food.
1997 Goodman Holding Co., LP in Houston, purchases Amana’s home-appliance, commercial- cooking and HVAC business segments from Raytheon. Goodman operates Amana as a limited partnership, doing business as Amana Appliances and Amana Heating and Air Conditioning.
1997 Amana adds to its built-in, integrated refrigeration line with an 84-in. tall, 48-in. wide built-in side-by-side model.
1998 Amana introduces a completely redesigned dishwasher line and Radarange line
1999 Amana introduces a more compact Easy Reach™ bottom-mount refrigerator-freezer with 18-cu.-ft. capacity.
1999 Amana introduces a Radarange microwave oven with a stainless steel front and stainless trim kit for the most complete stainless-look microwave industry-wide.
2000 Amana changes the shape of refrigeration in the U.S. with the introduction of the Amana Curvaceous™ contour-front refrigerator in bottom-mount and top-mount configurations.
2000 Amana introduces its first stainless steel gas and electric ranges.
2000 Amana unveils its Classic Radarange® microwave oven.
2000 Largest capacity laundry pair (conventional dryer and top-load washer) are launched by Amana. Washer is 3.3 cu. ft. and the dryer is 7.15 cu. ft.
2000 Amana introduces The Big Oven ™ with 5.14 cu. ft. of capacity, making it the industry’s largest capacity, standard-sized, 30-in. oven.
2001 Amana launches its Easy Reach Plus™ bottom-mount refrigerator, featuring the EasyFreezer™ pullout freezer drawer.
2001 Newton, Iowa-based Maytag Corp. acquires Amana Appliances.