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Magic Chef, Inc. (formerly the American Stove Company) is an appliance brand currently owned by CNA International Inc.
St. Louis origins
In the 1850s John Ringen, a German immigrant to the United States, began a tinshop in the major river port city of St. Louis, Missouri. His business prospered and in 1870, he took in a partner, George August Kahle, who had immigrated to America in 1867. The business sold housewares, early washing machines, and cooking stoves they called "quick meals". In 1881, George Kahle persuaded his brothers-in-law, Charles and Louis Stockstrom to set up a shop to make stoves. These four principals then organized two corporations, the Ringen Stove Company and the Quick Meal Stove Company.
American Stove Company and the Magic Chef brand name
Quick Meal manufactured the stoves with Ringen Stove handling the entire output of Quick Meal's production. The phenomenal growth of these two companies during the 1880s and 1890s led to the merger of eight other stove companies in St. Louis, Chicago and Cleveland in 1901 to form the American Stove Company. American Stove introduced the first oven temperature control device in 1914, and in 1929 began using the brand name Magic Chef. The Magic Chef name was so successful as an oven and stove brand that American Stove Company changed its name to Magic Chef, Inc. in 1951. The company remained well known for its gas stoves, but attempts to spread the brand to other household appliances were unsuccessful.
Sales and spread
In 1957, it was merged with the Food Giant Markets of California. In 1958, it was sold to Dixie Products, a small stove company of Cleveland, Tennessee. Magic Chef also made home furnaces and that operation was sold to Lennox International. By 1986, the company had become the 249th largest industrial company in the nation and it was sold to the Maytag.
Whirlpool Corporation acquired Maytag Corporation in 2006, however Magic Chef has been spun out to CNA International Inc./MC Appliance Corporation which imports and markets small appliances under several brand names.