Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kelvinator is an appliance company owned by Electrolux of Sweden since 1986. It takes its name from William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, who developed the concept of absolute zero and for whom the Kelvin temperature scale is named. The name was thought appropriate for a company that manufactured ice-boxes and domestic refrigerators.
Kelvinator was founded in 1914, in Detroit; in 1926 it acquired Leonard, which had been founded in 1881. In 1928, George W. Mason assummed control of Kelvinator; under his leadership the company lowered its costs while increasing market share through 1936.
On January 4, 1937, the company merged with Nash Motors to form Nash-Kelvinator Corporation as part of a deal that placed Mason at the helm of the combined company. In 1952 it acquired the Altorfer Bros. Company, which made home laundry equipment under the ABC brand name.
Nash-Kelvinator became a division of American Motors Corporation when Nash merged with Hudson in 1954. Kelvinator introduced the first model frost-free side-by-side refrigerator in the early 1950s. In the 1960s, Kelvinator refrigerators introduced "picture frame" doors on some models allowing owners to decorate their appliance to match décor of their kitchens.
Acquired from AMC by White Consolidated Industries in 1968, Kelvinator joined a company that had acquired the rights to Frigidaire (formerly owned by General Motors), Gibson, Tappan and White-Westinghouse product lines. In the early 1990s, the name of the Dublin, Ohio based holding company changed to Frigidaire Company. In 1986, Frigidaire Corporation was acquired by Sweden's Electrolux and Carrier acquired Kelvinator. In 2005, Carrier sold the Kelvinator division to National Refrigeration of Spartanburg, SC. National Refrigeration continues to manufacture Kelvinator bunkers, dipping cabinets, blast chillers, reach-ins and low- and medium- temp merchandisers. The Kelvinator name lives on at Electrolux, too, though, in the form of Kelvinator Commercial, which markets chest freezers, ice cream freezers and reach-ins with a stainless steel door.