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Enamored by a demonstration of a restaurant food preparation machine in France, Carl Sontheimer and his wife, Shirley, are convinced they can adapt this technology to a useful home appliance for Americans. Sontheimer, a retired MIT-trained physicist and accomplished cook, makes a daring decision to jump into the highly competitive housewares business with his own company called Cuisinart. The company would initially import an exclusive line of top-quality stainless steel cookware.

Sontheimer begins tinkering with the prototype of the food preparation machine, taking it apart and making refinements. He lengthens the feed tube, improves the cutting blade and discs, and adds safety features to meet American standards.

With great expectations, the Sontheimers unveil the “Food Processor” at the National Housewares Exposition in Chicago.

Determined to make the product a kitchen staple, Sontheimer starts improving the discs and blades. He mixes eggs into a puff shell dough in 15 seconds instead of 15 minutes, chops a pound of meat in less than 60 seconds, and creates flavored spreads, pastries and doughs faster and with less cleanup than ever before.

1975 Sontheimer takes his new techniques and machine to such food authorities as James Beard, Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, Jacques Pépin and Helen McCully. Their accolades and stories praising the machine in Gourmet, The New York Times, and other major publications, help establish Cuisinart as a worthwhile investment for serious home cooks.

Cuisinart’s food processor business explodes, as sales soar from a few processors a month to hundreds a month. At the same time, the overall food processor market dramatically expands to include more than a dozen brands of food processors, representing over 30 models. Prices range from $30 to almost $400.

To keep its leading edge, a new version of the Cuisinart® food processor debuts. Meaningful improvements include a work bowl with 46 percent more capacity than before, and a considerably stronger and more efficient motor.

Diversity reigns, as six new Cuisinart® food processors debut within the past few years.

Cuisinart continues to raise culinary awareness by publishing several highly successful cookbooks. One book, American Southwest, by Anne Greer, receives the R.T. French company’s “Tastemaker Award” for the best cookbook on American cuisine. Meanwhile, Cuisinart continues to roll out new multi-faceted products.

1985 Cuisinart keeps its commitment to culinary education alive with the introduction of a cooking videotape series for consumers.

1986 The Mini-Mate chopper/grinder strengthens the Cuisinart line with high-performance features like a reversible, patented blade.

1988 The Sontheimers, having made Cuisinart the premier housewares brand, decide to sell the company they founded to a group of investors.

1989 Investors sell Cuisinart to Conair Corporation in Stamford, Connecticut, a leading nationwide manufacturer of consumer appliances, personal care products and consumer electronics.

Committed to maintaining its tradition of leadership, Cuisinart introduces The Food Preparation Center, with innovative features like a large feed tube that holds whole tomatoes. With the addition of a whisk attachment, the product performs all the functions of a standard mixer.

Drawing from the success of its full-size food prep machines, Cuisinart unveils a pint size replica of its food processor called The Mini-Prep®. The product, which quickly chops foods in small amounts, is an instant hit.

Building on its quick start at energizing the Cuisinart brand, the company lays the foundation for products that go beyond the original cookware and food processor introductions.

Cuisinart’s strategy for rolling out a diversified kitchen appliance line takes shape, as the company introduces its first hand-held and countertop blenders.

Cuisinart enters the coffeemaker business.

The introduction of hand mixers and toasters gives breadth to an assortment considered among the best in the high-end appliance arena.

1996 Celebrating its 25th anniversary as a leader in culinary tools, Cuisinart unveils a new tagline “Your Kitchen Resource™,” reflecting the company’s representation in a wide range of housewares categories.

1998 Cuisinart enters two new categories—kitchen textiles and hard anodized, non-stick cookware. In March, Carl Sontheimer, Cuisinart’s renowned founder, passes away at the age of 83. In May, Conair acquires the Waring Products Division of Dynamics Corporation of America. The Waring brand is well-known for commercial and high-end consumer blenders and mixers, providing Cuisinart with strategic positions in both the consumer and commercial markets for high-end appliances.

1999 Cuisinart enters the toaster oven broiler category with the introduction of its Convection and Conventional Toaster Oven Broilers with Exact Heat™ Feature. Another Cuisinart innovation, the SmartPower Duet® is introduced, offering consumers the combined benefits of Cuisinart’s SmartPower™ 7-Speed Electronic Blender and a 3-cup Food Processor in a single appliance.

2000 Cuisinart once again revolutionizes the way America cooks, with the new PowerPrep Plus®, the first major redesign of the company’s food processor. The new machine features a Metal Dough Blade, Supreme™ Wide Mouth Feed Tube and sleek European styling. Reflecting today’s sophisticated consumer food trends, the company also unveils a new tagline, “Savor the Good Life®.”

2001 Cuisinart expands its cookware and coffeemaker collections with the introduction of Multiclad Stainless Cookware and the Premier Series Coffeemakers. Both feature newly improved technology, while still retaining Cuisinart’s high-performance features.

Cuisinart teams up with Lifetime Hoan to produce a high-end cutlery line.

Cuisinart continues to diversify with the company’s first citrus juicer and a select group of specialty appliances, such as the Pizzelle Press and the Cordless Electric Jug Kettle.

Cuisinart launches its new countertop cooking appliances that include the Cuisinart Griddler™, Grill & Griddle, two Rice Cookers and the Slow Cooker. The products combine Cuisinart’s legacy of professional performance with the benefits of countertop convenience.

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