|Chuck Roast and Vegetables in Slow Cooker|
Just as we have coke/Coke, kleenex/Kleenex and bush hog/Bush Hog, so, too, we have crock pot/Crock-Pot. According to that infallible source, Wikipedia, the slow cooker was first introduced by Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago as the Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker. “The Rival Company bought Naxon in 1970 and reintroduced it under the Crock-Pot name in 1971.
Youngsters may not know this, but Crock Pots did not originally have removable crocks, and they certainly were not immersible. Talk about hard to clean! Rival introduced removable crocks in 1974.
It doesn’t take much to amuse me on rainy Thursday morning. Here’s what I’ve uncovered about Mr. Naxon, inventor of the slow cooker.
My Dad, Irving Naxon, invented the crock pot, the then-called Naxon Beanery. He retired in 1971 and sold his business to Rival Manufacturing. They streamlined the design, renamed it the crock pot, and the rest is American culinary history. But what was his inspiration for its creation in the first place, you might ask?
My grandmother Tamara Kaslovski Nachumsohn, grew up in a small “shtetl” in Lithuania. She told my dad, when he was a young child, that when she was growing up back in the old country, each Friday afternoon her mother would send her to the local bakery with their pot of prepared but yet uncooked “cholent.” There it would be put into the oven for a full day, while the family observed the Sabbath and the hot oven cooled to warm while not in use for that same period. At sundown she would go to the bakery and bring the family their delicious pot of steamy stew.
Dad remembered the story and was inspired to find a way to create a heating element that surrounded the pot in the same way that an oven would have. He wanted to find a low cost, low electricity use solution. I remember our having a Beanery at home during the 1950′s and 1960′s. We used it to “boik” potatoes, roast corn, make delicious stews and soups. Mom used to put old fashioned oatmeal in it before we went to bed and we woke up to a steaming pot of hot cereal.
Miller [Rival President at the time] said the Bean Pot was almost an afterthought during the negotiations. “No one paid any attention to it,” he told the Kansas City Times. “We almost forgot about it.”
After the acquisition, Miller asked Rival’s home economist to experiment with the product. She developed an entire recipe book of dishes, with and without beans, that could be used to produce gourmet meals. The cooker’s casing was redesigned to give it a dressy look, and it was renamed the Crock Pot. The Crock Pot made its debut at the National Housewares Show in Chicago in 1971, and it retailed for about $25.00.
Sales skyrocketed in the first few years. The Crock Pot posted sales of $2 million in its first year, leaping to $10 million in 1972, doubling to $23 million in the next year, totaling $57 million in 1974, and topping at $93 million in 1975. Like any buying craze that takes over the country, sellouts were common at retail stores. One retailer planned a major promotion of the Crock Pot, but canceled all advertising after its employees bought every Crock Pot prior to the store’s opening.
Jarden Corporation, is a provider of a diverse range of consumer products with a portfolio of over 100 brands sold globally, operating in three primary business segments – Outdoor Solutions, Consumer Solutions and Branded Consumables. In 2012, Jarden was ranked #371 on the Fortune 500. On December 31, 2011, Jarden’s market capitalization was approximately US $2.7 billion and the company had over 23,000 employees worldwide.
By the way, the Wikipedia entry on Jarden “appears to be written like an advertisement.”
Jarden doesn’t actually produce anything. It acquires companies that produce things.