Ken Wood (manufacturer)
Kenneth Maynard Wood
|Born||4 October 1916|
Lewisham, London, England
|Died||19 October 1997|
Liphook, Hampshire, England
|Significant design||Kenwood Chef|
Kenneth Wood was a British entrepreneur and businessman, who is most famous for the development of the eponymous Kenwood Chef food mixer.
Life and career
He was brought up in Chelsfield in Kent and was educated at Bromley County School before leaving home in 1930, aged fourteen 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.
After the war, he founded Woodlau Industries, with wartime colleague Roger Laurence, starting production in 1947 in Woking with the A100 turnover toaster, an appliance that was uncommon in the UK at that time, and then the A200 food mixer - the predecessor of the Kenwood Chef which was launched in 1950. When Roger Laurence left the company, Wood changed the name to Kenwood Manufacturing Company Ltd. The company moved to Havant in Hampshire in 1961, then employing a workforce of 700.
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 although he maintained an interest in the company until his death.
He founded Forest Mere Health Farm (now Champneys Forest Mere) and the keen golfer invested in Old Thorns Golf & Country Estate club, his then-Hampshire home, with television commentator Peter Alliss, both in Liphook and was also chairman of the governors of Wispers School in Haslemere, Surrey (which closed in 2008).
He was managing director of Hydrotech Systems between 1984-87.
On 7 Sept 2017, a blue plaque in memory of Kenneth Wood was unveiled in Goldsworth Road, Woking at the site where the company first started in 1947.
- The Guardian, 20 May 2012.  (Retrieved 2016-04-28.)
- Wood, Kenneth Maynard, 1916-1997, London Science Museum.
- Making the Modern World.  (Retrieved 2011-01-03)
- One Chef that never goes out of fashion, The Guardian, 20 May 2012 by Rachel Cooke.
- The Internet Golf Club.
- The Secret History of: The Kenwood Chef A700, 28 January 2011.  (Retrieved 2014-08-04.)
- Liphook Herald: Lunch marks women's day, 21 March 2013.  (Retrieved 2013-03-31.)
- Shock closure of award-winning school, Midhurst & Petworth Observer, 8 May 2008.
- Obituary.  (Retrieved 2011-01-03.)
- Daily Mail Obituary, 21 October 1997. [permanent dead link] (Retrieved 2011-01-03.)
- "Woking honours Kenwood founder with blue plaque". Surrey Advertiser. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.