|Headquarters||Boca Raton, Florida, United States|
|Key people||Andrew C. Hill (CEO & President)|
home and health products
Sunbeam Products is an American brand that has produced electric home appliances since 1910. Their products have included the Mixmaster mixer, the Sunbeam CG waffle iron, Coffeemaster (1938–1964) and the fully automatic T20 toaster. Sunbeam is owned by Jarden Consumer Solutions after Jarden's acquisition in 2004.
In 1897 John K. Stewart and Thomas Clark incorporated their Chicago Flexible Shaft Company, which made horse trimming and sheep shearing machinery. In 1921 the company produced its first Sunbeam branded household appliance, the Princess Electric Iron (with an option to buy a fireproof metal storage box). The name "Sunbeam" came from a company wide contest to rebrand its growing home appliance business. Edwin J Gallagher (1897–1983) a buyer and traffic manager for the company won the contest and received a check for $1,000. The company did not officially incorporate its name to Sunbeam until 1946.
In 1928, the company's head designer, Swedish immigrant Ivar Jepson, invented the Mixmaster mixer. Introduced in 1930, it was the first mechanical mixer with two detachable beaters whose blades interlocked. The Mixmaster became the company's flagship product for the next forty years, but the brand also became known for the designs, mainly by Robert Davol Budlong, of electric toasters, coffee makers, and electric shavers, among other appliances.
Purchases and acquisitions
Sunbeam bought out the Rain King Sprinkler Company and produced one of the most popular lawn sprinkler lines of the 1950s and 1960s. Meanwhile, Sunbeam continued to expand outside of Chicago. By the end of the 1970s, as the leading American manufacturer of small appliances, Sunbeam enjoyed about $1.3 billion in annual sales and employed nearly 30,000 people worldwide. The John Oster Manufacturing Company was acquired in 1960 by Sunbeam Corporation. In 1981, after Sunbeam was bought by Allegheny International Inc. of Pittsburgh, most of the Chicago-area factories were closed and the headquarters moved from the Chicago region. During this time the companies Allegheny controlled included John Zink Company (manufactured air pollution control devices) and Hanson Scale (manufactured bathroom scales and other balance machines).
Allegheny's 4 principal divisions, including Sunbeam, went into decline through the mid-1980s. Since Sunbeam-Oster was one of the most important divisions, responsible for nearly half of all sales, the stockholders were very concerned about the leadership. In 1986, the stockholders accused the Chairman and CEO, Robert Buckley of mis-appropriating funds. Buckley's successor, Oliver Travers, downsized considerably and by 1988, the company was essentially just Sunbeam and Oster. The decline continued aided by the stock market crash of October 1987 and Allegheny filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the fall of 1989 an investment group called Japonica Partners  purchased the remains of Allegheny for $250 million ($470.8 million today) in hostile takeover. The company was renamed Sunbeam-Oster Company, Inc. At this point the business was then divided into 4 divisions: Outdoor Products, Household Products, Specialty Products, and International Sales. The company headquarters were moved again from Pittsburgh to Providence, Rhode Island and then finally to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. By late 1991, Sunbeam-Oster's sales had increased 7% enabling it to make the Fortune 500 list.
In 1996, Albert J. Dunlap was recruited to be CEO and Chairman of Sunbeam-Oster. In 1997, Sunbeam reported massive increases in sales for its various backyard and kitchen items. Dunlap purchased controlling interest in Coleman and Signature Brands (acquiring Mr. Coffee and First Alert) during this time. Stock soared to $52 a share. However, industry insiders were suspicious. The sudden surge in demand for barbecues did not hold up under scrutiny. An internal investigation revealed that Sunbeam was in severe crisis, and that Dunlap had encouraged violations of accepted accounting rules. Dunlap was fired, and under CEO Jerry W. Levin, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2001.
Soon after Sunbeam filed for bankruptcy, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Dunlap and four other Sunbeam executives, alleging that they had engineered a massive accounting fraud. The SEC said $60 million of Sunbeam's supposed record $189 million earnings for 1997 were the result of fraudulent accounting. It also said that Dunlap had falsely created the impression of massive losses in 1996 to make it look as if Sunbeam made a dramatic turnaround the next year. Along with Dunlap and several other officers, the SEC also sued Phillip Harlow at Sunbeam's accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. Dunlap was ultimately banned from serving again as an officer or director of a public company.
Emerging from ruin
In 2002, Sunbeam emerged from bankruptcy as American Household, Inc. (AHI), a privately held company. Its former household products division became the subsidiary Sunbeam Products, Inc.
Jarden has continued to grow their brands, purchasing the Holmes Group in 2005, K2 in 2007, and Mapa Spontex in 2009. More recently, Jarden purchased Aero International and Quickie Manufacturing. In September 2011 Jarden Corp. was predicted to be a good bet for low risk earnings growth.
Currently, the Sunbeam-Oster industrial design team is directed by Augusto Picozza in Boca Raton, Florida. Picozza and his creative staff, which includes industrial designers Adam Day, Joe Palermo, Bill Goralski, Doug Goodner, Todd Strobel, Channing Miller and Brandegee Pierce, focus on keeping the brands relevant and bringing functional improvements to consumers. The industrial design team often works with outside product consultancies such as TEAMS Design, Altitude, Beyond Design, Rorke Design and many others to design award winning products.
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