Whirlpool Corporation

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Whirlpool Corporation
Traded as NYSEWHR
S&P 500 Component
Industry Household appliances
Founded St. Joseph, Michigan (1911)
Founder Louis Upton
Emory Upton
Headquarters Benton Charter Township, Michigan, United States
Area served
Key people
Jeff M. Fettig
(Chairman and CEO)
Products Major and Small appliances
Revenue Increase US$ 19.9 billion (2014)[1]
Decrease US$ 1.188 billion (2014)[1]
Profit Decrease US$ 650 million (2014)[1]
Total assets Increase US$ 20.002 billion (2014)[1]
Total equity Decrease US$ 4.885 billion (2014)[1]
Number of employees
~100,000 (2014)[1]
Website www.whirlpoolcorp.com
Showroom in Hong Kong

The Whirlpool Corporation is an American multinational manufacturer and marketer of home appliances, headquartered in Benton Charter Township, Michigan, United States, near Benton Harbor, Michigan.[2][3] The Fortune 500[4] company has annual revenue of approximately $20 billion, 100,000 employees, and more than 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Gladiator GarageWorks, Inglis, Estate, Brastemp, Bauknecht, Indesit and Consul. After acquiring the Maytag Corporation on March 31, 2006, the Whirlpool Corporation surpassed Electrolux to become "the largest home appliance maker in the world."[5]

In the U.S., Whirlpool has eight manufacturing facilities: Amana, Iowa; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Cleveland, Tennessee; Ohio: Clyde, Findlay, Greenville, Marion (and Ottawa, Ohio).


Before they founded the Upton Machine Company on November 11, 1911, Louis Upton (Lou) worked as an insurance salesman and his uncle, Emory Upton, owned a machine shop. Following a failed business venture, Lou acquired a patent to a manual clothes washer and he approached Emory to see if he could add an electric motor to the design. With the aid of a $5,000 investment from retailing executive Lowell Bassford, they began to produce electric motor-driven wringer washers.[6][7] Soon after its founding, Lou's younger brother Fred joined the company. Their first customer, the Federal Electric division of Commonwealth Edison, ordered 100 machines, but a fault in the gear transmission led the customer to threaten their return.[8] After the machines were recalled and repaired, Federal Electric doubled the order.[9] They remained a customer for three years, when they began to produce their own washers. The loss of Federal Electric forced Upton to diversify temporarily until, in 1916, they landed Sears, Roebuck & Co. as a customer. Sears began selling two types of Upton wringer washers under the "Allen" brand,[6] one for $54.75 and a deluxe model for $95. Sales grew quickly and in 1921, Sears appointed Upton as their sole supplier of washers.[6][10] To avoid becoming over-reliant on Sears, Upton began marketing a washer under their own brand name.[6]

The increasing volume of sales led Upton to merge with the Nineteen Hundred Washer Company of Binghamton, New York in 1929, adopting the name Nineteen Hundred Corporation. The company was relatively unaffected by the Great Depression; during World War II, its factories were converted to armament production. In 1947, it introduced an automatic, spinner-type washer sold by Sears under the "Kenmore" brand, and a year later, sold by the company under the "Whirlpool" brand name. Lou retired as president in 1949, and was replaced by Elisha "Bud" Gray II.[6]

In response to the post-war consumer demand for convenience products, the company launched a range of home laundry products including wringer and automatic washers, dryers, and irons.[6] In 1950, The Nineteen Hundred Corporation was renamed as the Whirlpool Corporation. In 1951, the philanthropic Whirlpool Foundation was established.

To better compete with more diversified manufacturers, in 1955 Whirlpool acquired Seeger Refrigerator Company and RCA's air conditioner and cooking range lines. The company changed its name to Whirlpool-Seeger Corporation and began using the RCA-Whirlpool brand name.[6] Whirlpool acquires appliance division from International Harvester Company. In 1956, a 100-acre (0.40 km2) administrative center was opened in Benton Harbor, Michigan. In 1957, the RCA Whirlpool Miracle Kitchen was introduced with an estimated 15 million television viewers. The company changed its name back to Whirlpool Corporation.

In 1962, the company's research laboratories won a contract from NASA to develop the food and waste management system for Project Gemini.[11] In 1966, Whirlpool dropped the RCA name so the brand name became Whirlpool. The following year, the company introduced a 24-hour helpline. By 1978, annual revenues exceeded $2 billion.

In 1986, Whirlpool acquired KitchenAid, a division of the Hobart Corporation. It also announced that it would close most of its manufacturing facilities in the St. Joseph, Michigan area by the end of 1988.[7] In 1987, it began selling compact washers in India and acquired a majority interest in Inglis of Canada. In 1988, Whirlpool bought a 53% stake in the large-appliance division of Philips N.V., creating a joint venture called Whirlpool International. The purchase made Whirlpool the world's largest manufacturer of major appliances, with annual sales of approximately $6 billion. The 47% stake was bought from Philips in 1991, completing the acquisition.[12][13] In 1989, Whirlpool acquired the Roper brand and Bauknecht of Germany.

Whirlpool entered the Indian market in the late 1980s as part of its global expansion strategy. It founded joint venture with the TVS Group and established the first Whirlpool manufacturing facility in Pondicherry, and manufactured washing machines. In 1995, Whirlpool acquired Kelvinator India Limited and marked an entry into the refrigerator market as well. The same year the company also saw acquisition of major shares in TVS joint venture and later in 1996, Kelvinator and TVS acquisitions were merged to create, Whirlpool of India Limited. This expanded the company's portfolio in the Indian subcontinent to washing machines, refrigerator, microwave ovens and air conditioners. Whirlpool of India Limited headquartered in Gurgaon, and owns three manufacturing facilities at Faridabad, Pondicherry and Pune.

In 1997, the company acquired a majority stake in Embraco, a Brazilian world-leading maker of compressors for refrigeration. In 2000, it acquired Brazilian appliance maker Multibrás, owner of the brands Brastemp and Consul, including its stake on Embraco. In 2001, Inglis Ltd. changed its name to Whirlpool Canada. Whirlpool continues to market Inglis appliances to this day.

By 2004, annual revenues exceeded $13 billion. In 2005, Maytag Corporation shareholders voted to accept Whirlpool Corporation's stock purchase. After the U.S. Justice Department approved the merger in 2006, the company acquired Maytag, including the Maytag, Jenn-Air, Amana, Jade, Magic Chef, Admiral, Hoover, and Dixie-Narco brands. It sold Dixie-Narco to Crane Co., and Amana Commercial to AGA.

In 2007, Whirlpool sold Hoover to Techtronic Industries, TTI Floorcare.[14] and Jade Appliances to Middleby Corporation. It also closed plants in Newton, Iowa; Searcy, Arkansas; and Herrin, Illinois; resulting in the sudden loss of 4500 jobs in the affected communities. In 2008, Whirlpool announced the closure of plants in La Vergne, Tenn; Reynosa, Mexico; Oxford, Miss; and Jackson, TN.

In 2009, Whirlpool acquired WC Woods from Bankruptcy[15] and closed the company's Evansville, Indiana plant;[16] Whirlpool has received $19.3 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding as part of its Smart Grid Investment Grant program [17]

Whirlpool celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2011 and unveiled its 100th Anniversary logo as well as an updated corporate logo.[18] Also, took over former KarstadtQuelle brand Privileg from Otto Group.[19]

In 2011, Whirlpool announced the closure of the Fort Smith, Arkansas plant.[20] The following year, Whirlpool opened a new manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee replacing a 123-year-old facility. The $200 million project added about 130 jobs to an established workforce of 1,500. The 1-million-square-foot (93,000 m2) facility manufactures premium cooking appliances for Whirlpool's portfolio of brands. The project also includes a distribution center.[21]

In August 2013, Whirlpool announced it would acquire a 51% majority stake in China’s Hefei Sanyo (a joint venture between Japan's Sanyo Electric Co, now a unit of Panasonic Corp, and Hefei State-Owned Assets Holding Company Ltd, the investment arm of the local state government) for $552 million and give the company leverage to expand in the Chinese appliance market.[22]

In July 2014, Whirlpool announced it has agreed to pay 758 million euros ($1 billion) to buy a 60 percent stake in Italian rival Indesit.[23] In December, Whirlpool completed a successful mandatory tender offer for the remaining shares and delisted Indesit from the Milan Stock Exchange. Indesit is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Whirlpool Italia Holdings S.r.l.[24]


Whirlpool Corporation has seven employee-run diversity networks that are involved with business, employee, and community projects to address the needs of the groups they represent. These diversity networks are The Women's Network (WWN), the Veteran's Network (WVA), the Whirlpool African American Network (WAAN), The Pride Network (PRIDE), the Whirlpool Asian Network (WAN), the Whirlpool Hispanic Network (WHN), and the Young Professionals Network (YP). http://www.advocate.com/business/equality-allies/2013/09/03/whirlpool-corporation-invested-diversity

LGBT Commitment[edit]

In 2004, Whirlpool received a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) released by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equal rights organization Human Rights Campaign. At the time, Whirpool was the first and only major appliance manufacturer to be awarded a perfect score.[25] To date, Whirlpool Corporation has achieved a perfect CEI score for 11 consecutive years.[26] Notably, Whirlpool has offered domestic partner benefits since 2002 and has been a corporate leader nationwide on LGBT issues. Additionally, Whirlpool was the first appliance maker to feature same-sex families in its advertising in the United States.[27]

Charity work[edit]

Whirlpool Corporation is a principal supporter of Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building low-cost, affordable housing. The company's commitment to Habitat for Humanity has exceeded $34 million and it has donated more than 73,000 appliances for Habitat homes. The company plans to support every Habitat home built globally by 2011, either through product donations, cash, or home sponsorship.[28]

In November 2006, Whirlpool started the annual Building Blocks program, designed to raise awareness and help eliminate substandard housing in the United States. Each year the program recognizes an outstanding U.S. Habitat for Humanity affiliate and its relationship with its local community by holding a week-long build in the affiliate’s community. The program kicked off in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2006 when Whirlpool united 100 local residents with 100 Whirlpool employees and volunteers from 100 Habitat affiliates. These 300 volunteers built 10 homes on one block from Nov. 5–10, 2006. Whirlpool built nine homes near Phoenix, Arizona, in May 2007, and nine more homes in Dallas, Texas in October 2008. The 2009 build is set to begin August 31 in Atlanta, Georgia.[29]

In 2006, more than 20 Whirlpool India employees participated in the week-long Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP) in India, which resulted in the completion of 100 homes in a village near Mumbai. In 2005, Whirlpool India began a partnership with Habitat for Humanity India. Volunteers from Whirlpool participated in the build organized by Habitat for Tsunami victims in the southern part of India.

In June 2005, Habitat for Humanity held its annual Jimmy Carter Work Project in Benton Harbor, Michigan. This week-long effort culminating in the completion of more than 230 houses in Michigan. Whirlpool was the lead sponsor for the build and 270 Whirlpool employees from 19 nations worked together to build 10 houses during the week.

To facilitate Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, Whirlpool worked with Habitat to support “Operation Home Delivery.” Whirlpool employees helped construct approximately 50 pre-built homes in New York’s Rockefeller Center that were boxed and shipped to Louisiana and Mississippi and later erected with the help of Whirlpool employees in St. Tamany Parrish, Louisiana. In January 2007, Whirlpool chose to hold its annual sales meeting in New Orleans. As part of that meeting, more than 1,000 Whirlpool employees spent one day volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in an effort to continue rebuilding New Orleans’ residential areas.

Since 2004, Whirlpool has sponsored entertainment icon Reba McEntire’s music tours to raise awareness and more than $500,000 for Habitat for Humanity.

Cook for the Cure: Cook for the Cure presented by KitchenAid, was created in 2001 to give passionate cooks a way to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Cook for the Cure has raised more than $4 million through donation-with-purchase programs, special fundraising events, auctions and grass roots initiatives. KitchenAid also supports breast cancer foundations in other countries including Canada, France, Germany, South Africa, Greece and Israel.


Whirlpool Corporation developed Freeze-dried ice cream in 1968 under contract to NASA for the Apollo missions.[30]

Major brands[edit]

Whirlpool also manufactures certain appliances under the Kenmore label, (manufactured for Sears Holdings Corporation) and Crosley top load washers. Whirlpool has expanded the marketing of Inglis appliances which are sold in the United States at Best Buy stores. Whirlpool also manufactures IKEA brand appliances for IKEA, Top Load laundry for Crosley and Admiral appliances for Home Depot.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Whirlpool: WhirlpoolCorporation-AnnualReport2014 Retrieved on April 6, 2015
  2. ^ "Contact Us." Whirlpool Corporation. Retrieved on April 28, 2010.
  3. ^ "Benton charter township, Michigan." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on April 28, 2010.
  4. ^ "Fortune 500 List". Fortune. February 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ Newman, Rick (March 11, 2006). "With Maytag Buy, Whirlpool Is Awash in Sales". U.S. News and World Report. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "History of Whirlpool Corporation". Reference for Business. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Whirlpool trying not to hang town out to dry". Chicago Tribune. January 12, 1987. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Frederick S. Upton and Frederick S. Upton Foundation". Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Whirlpool corporation, 100 Years at a Glance" (pdf). Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  10. ^ Lee M. Maxwell (1 January 2003). Save Womens Lives: History of Washing Machines. Oldewash. pp. 49–. ISBN 978-0-9729710-0-3. 
  11. ^ "January 1962 through December 1962". NASA. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Deal With NV Philips to Make Whirlpool the Biggest Appliance Maker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Whirlpool-Philips". The New York Times. August 1, 1991. Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  14. ^ Lam, Judy (December 7, 2006). "Whirlpool to Sell Hoover Business For $107 Million to Techtronic". The Wall Street Journal. (subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ Bailey, Sara (December 9, 2009). "Whirlpool to purchase W.C. Wood". Putnam County Sentinel. 
  16. ^ "Whirlpool to close Evansville plant". Evansville Courier & Press. August 28, 2009. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  17. ^ Lombardi, Candace (October 29, 2009). "Whirlpool wants to pull plug on 'dumb' appliances". CNET. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  18. ^ "Whirlpool Corporation Unveils 100th Anniversary Logo" (Press release). Whirlpool. November 8, 2010. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  19. ^ "Haushaltsgerätemarke: Otto verkauft Privileg an Whirlpool" [Appliances: Otto sells Privilege to Whirlpool]. Handelsblatt (in German). March 25, 2010. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  20. ^ "Read Whirlpool's Complete Statement on Closing the Fort Smith Plant". Arkansas Business. October 27, 2011. Retrieved 2015-07-09. (subscription required (help)). 
  21. ^ "Whirlpool Opening New Plant In Tennessee". manufacturing.net. Associated Press. April 12, 2012. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  22. ^ a b Rohit, T. K.; Kelleher, James B. (August 13, 2013). "Whirlpool buys 51 percent stake in China appliance maker". Reuters. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  23. ^ "UPDATE 3-Whirlpool to buy 60 percent of Italy's Indesit for $1 bln". Reuters. July 11, 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  24. ^ "Mandatory tender offer launched by Whirlpool Italia Holdings S.r.l. for 34,244,635 ordinary shares of Indesit Company S.p.A." (PDF) (Press release). Whirlpool Italia Holdings S.r.l. December 8, 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  25. ^ "Whirlpool Corp. receives ‘perfect’ score on equality". The Herald-Palladium (St. Joseph, Michigan). November 24, 2012. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  26. ^ "Whirlpool Corporation Named One Of World's Most Admired Companies For Fifth Consecutive Year" (Press release). Whirlpool Corporation. February 24, 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  27. ^ "Whirlpool Corporation Celebrates 10th Consecutive Perfect Score On Human Rights Campaign 2013 Corporate Equality Index" (Press release). Whirlpool Corporation. December 11, 2013. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  28. ^ "Whirlpool Brand and Habitat for Humanity announce house build locations for 2013". Habitat for Humanity. 
  29. ^ "Social Responsibility: Habitat for Humanity". Whirlpool.com. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  30. ^ Palmer, Roxanne (July 19, 2013). "A History Of Ice Cream Innovations, From Ancient China To NASA Astronauts And Dippin' Dots". International Business Times. Retrieved 2015-07-09.  The license is now held by Action Products International, Inc.

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