Ken Wood (manufacturer)

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Kenneth Maynard Wood
Born 4 October 1916
Lewisham, London, England
Died 19 October 1997
Liphook, Hampshire, England
Nationality British
Engineering career
Significant design Kenwood Chef

Kenneth Wood was a British entrepreneur and business man who is most famous for the development of the eponymous Kenwood Chef food mixer.

Life and career[edit]

Wood was born on 4 October 1916 in Lewisham London, England UK.[1]

A Kenwood Chef

He was brought up in Chelsfield in Kent[2] and was educated at Bromley County School before leaving home in 1930,[1] aged 14 to join the merchant navy for five years, after which he studied electrical engineering and accountancy at night school. A year later, in 1936, he set up his own company, Dickson & Wood, selling, installing and repairing radios and televisions.[1]

In 1939 he sold the company and joined the Royal Air Force where he worked as an engineer at the Admiralty developing radar and electronic controls.

After the war he founded Woodlau Industries,[2] with wartime colleague Roger Laurence, starting production in 1947 with the A100 turnover toaster, an appliance that was uncommon in Britain at that time, and then the A200 food mixer - the predecessor of the Kenwood Chef which was launched in 1950.[1] When Roger Laurence left the company, Wood changed the name to Kenwood Manufacturing Company Ltd.

Kenwood's products were successful because Wood identified household tasks that gave housewives most work and developed machines to do those jobs. Within a few years of setting up the company, he was one of Britain's youngest millionaires. However, in 1968, Wood parted company with Kenwood Manufacturing after a hostile takeover by Thorn Electrical Industries Ltd.[2] although he maintained an interest in the company until his death.

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.[citation needed]

Between 1972 and 1980 Wood was Chairman and Managing Director of the Dawson-Keith Group of Companies and in 1984 he was appointed Fellow of the Institute of Ophthalmology.[1]

He founded Forest Mere Health Farm (now Champneys Forest Mere)[3] and the keen golfer invested in Old Thorns Golf & Country Estate club near his Hampshire home with television commentator Peter Alliss,[4][5][6] both in Liphook, Hampshire, and was also chairman of the governors of Wispers School in Haslemere, Surrey (which closed in 2008).[7]

He was Managing Director of Hydrotech Systems between 1984-87.[8]

Wood died on 19 October 1997 at Liphook in Hampshire after a short illness. He left a widow, Patricia, two sons and two daughters by his previous marriage and three stepsons.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Wood, Kenneth Maynard, 1916-1987, London Science Museum
  2. ^ a b c Making the Modern World [1] (Retrieved 2011-01-03)
  3. ^ One Chef that never goes out of fashion, The Guardian, 20 May 2012 by Rachel Cooke
  4. ^ The Internet Golf Club
  5. ^ The Secret History Of: The Kenwood Chef A700, 28 Jan 2011 [2] (Retrieved 2014-08-04)
  6. ^ Liphook Herald: Lunch marks women's day, 21 March 2013 [3] (Retrieved 2013-03-31)
  7. ^ Shock closure of award-winning school, Midhurst & Petworth Observer, 8 May 2008
  8. ^ Obituary [4] (Retrieved 2011-01-03
  9. ^ Daily Mail Obituary Oct 1997 [5] (Retrieved 2011-01-03)

External links[edit]