Caloric

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This article is about the appliance brand. For the Caloric theory, see Caloric theory. For the unit of energy, see calorie. For the neurological test, see Caloric reflex test.

Caloric is a brand of kitchen appliances, currently owned by JMM Lee Properties, LLC, which dates back to 1903.

History[edit]

Caloric Corporation began as the Klein Stove Company in Philadelphia in 1890.[1] The Caloric brand was introduced in 1903.[2] It was reorganized in 1946 as the Caloric Stove Company in Topton, Pennsylvania.[3] The company was renamed Caloric Appliance Corp. in 1954 and became famous for offering a complete package of kitchen appliances in the 1950s and 1960s. Its most popular product was their built-in wall oven. In 1967, it was acquired by Raytheon Corporation which also owned Amana refrigerators and Speed Queen laundry products. By the early 1990s, Caloric was absorbed into Amana and the Caloric brand was phased out. The Topton plant was shut down in 1991.[4] In 1997 the company was purchased by Goodman Global, a heating-and-cooling manufacturer who sold it to Maytag (now part of Whirlpool) in 2002.[5]

One important feature of the gas Caloric stove in at least the 1960s was the "infrared burner". It was advertised as cooking by radiant heat. The infrared burner, the only burner in the oven, was a large rectange at the top of the oven with a screen on the bottom. The gas burned inside and the screen glowed. This was truly different from other gas ovens which had two burners: one in the bottom used for baking, and another at the top used for broiling both of which were tubes with flame coming out. What makes the "infrared burner" interesting is IEEE Spectrum July 2014 "Recipe for a better oven" mentions catalytic broilers that cook by infrared light but "This technology, however, needs work before it can be cost-effective for the home kitchen." Yet Caloric stove had affordable infrared cooking for home use in the 1960s! I am sure it was not as efficient as the new modern catalytic broilers, never-the-less it was radiant heat. Two final comments to demonstrate the accuracy of this paragraph. One slogan of Caloric stove was "Better because it is gas, best because it is Caloric." Second, my dad was a regional representative of Caloric stove in a wide area around Minneapolis. I learned all this from him. He was a great salesman. I was proud of him, and still am.

The Janesville Caloric Company factory existed from 1908 to 1924. It manufactured the Caloric Cooker, a “fireless cook stove,” precursor to today’s slow cooker. The company operated out of an old furniture factory. The Caloric Cooker consisted of an insulated cabinet with one or more deep wells fitted with soapstones on the top and on the bottom. After the stones were heated and the food was put into the wells, one stone was placed at the top and the bottom of the stove. You could close the lid and the meal would be cooked without danger of its burning. About 150 men were employed by this company when it was in full production. The cookers sold for $8.50 – $15, depending on the number of wells, and came with a 160-page book on how to use it. The company moved operations to Pennsylvania in 1924. In the 1960s, the Caloric Company launched the iconic ad slogan “Now you’re cooking with gas.” — University of Wisconsin Digital Collections

Revival[edit]

JMM Lee Properties announced in 2012 the reintroduction of Caloric appliances beginning with a line of stainless steel ovens and ranges in the fall of 2012. They plan on adding more built-in and countertop appliances over the following year.[6]

References[edit]