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Ken Wood (manufacturer): Wikis


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Kenneth Maynard Wood was born on 4 October 1916 in Lewisham, London, brought up in Chelsfield in Kent and died on 19 October 1997 at Liphook in Hampshire, UK.

Aged 14 he joined the merchant navy for five years[1], after which he studied electrical engineering and accountancy at night school. In 1936, he founded the Dickson & Wood company selling, installing and repairing radios and televisions.

A Kenwood Chef

After the Second World War he set up an electrical firm, Woodlau Industries, with wartime colleague Roger Laurence, starting production in 1947 with a toaster and then the A200 food mixer - the predecessor of the Kenwood Chef which was launched in 1950. It was the 'Chef' which brought Ken Wood immortality (patented May 19, 1950) - the first highly desirable, albeit luxury, appliance to enter kitchens after World War II. The mixer's enormous success was as much a result of Wood's passionate and persistent marketing techniques as his innovations in terms of functionality. Sensitive to stylish design, Wood's motto 'Eye appeal is buy appeal' rocketed the mixer to the top of wedding present lists all over the country.

Successfully penetrating the critical dollar markets, Wood was a millionaire at 38, selling more than 10 million 'Chefs' before parting company with Kenwood Limited in 1968 after a hostile and successful takeover by Thorn Electrical Industries

On 31 May 1972, he was granted the Freedom of the City of London as a result of his membership of the London livery company called the Worshipful Company of Farriers.

He founded Forest Mere Health Farm[2] and Old Thorns Golf & Country Estate[3], both in Liphook, Hampshire, and was also chairman of the governors of Wispers School in Haslemere, Surrey (which closed in 2008).[4]

In 1984, he was appointed Fellow of the Institute of Ophthalmology.[5]

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