Is there an Ekco in your kitchen? I know there is in mine! This classic company has made so many different kitchen and household gadgets, I’m sure I haven’t seen them all. They are actually a cool company. Here’s one Ekco gadget that I use all the time!
The one above is one that is for sale in my shop but I have one of my own that is my go-to-gadget for slicing tomatoes. Such a simple thing, but it works much better than me trying to slice the tomatoes evenly by hand and it works in seconds. Perfect tomatoes for sandwiches and burgers.
So what’s the story on Ekco? Well, the name has the initials for the founder, Edward Katzinger and it’s his Company. According to an awesome book I’ve referenced before “Spiffy Kitchen Collectibles” by Brian Alexander, Edward Katzinger was a tinsmith by trade. He immigrated here in the 1880s and settled in Chicago.
He decided to set up a shop making tin pans for the baking industry. That is what he focused on and he did it well. His company flourished.
In 1916, Alexander says that Edward’s son, Arthur joined the company. They began to expand in the 1920s, which I would think would have been tricky because of the impending crash that they didn’t realize was coming. But they persevered. They acquired another company during the 20s and became a leader in the tin pan business.
In the 1930s they acquired the A&J Company and began producing utensils and gadgets. Arthur took over in 1939 after the death of his father and changed his name from Katzinger to Keating.
An article at “FundingUniverse.com” goes into the different acquisitions that Ekco made over the next 35 years and chronicles their growth. FundingUniverse states that the company went public in the early 1940s and began acquiring even more companies.
Arthur continued to run the company through the 50s and 60s. During that time they really expanded the different types of items they made. There were items for the kitchen, the mudroom (shoetrees), bathroom, and more.
American Home Products acquired Ekco in 1965 with Arthur Keating passing in 1967. From here it gets kind of difficult to follow. FundingUniverse.com goes into all the hands that exchanged this company through the 1990s, and there were quite a few.
Ekco was eventually part of Ekco Group, Inc. which was based in my home state of New Hampshire. Eventually Ekco Group, Inc. was acquired by WKI Holding Company out of Rosemont, Illinois. Ekco still puts out items including their Baker’s Secret line of bakeware.
Even though they are still making products, their vintage stuff is very collectible. They used to make items in red, yellow, turquoise, pink and black. No surprise here, red is the color collectors look for the most (me included!). Black is collected the least.
Do you have a memory of an Ekco kitchen gadget from your childhood? Tell me about it! I love hearing from all of you! I hope this has given you some good information about a company that was started by a young entrepreneur who came to America to find his dream and grew that dream into a house-hold name.
I wish you all a great week! Remember to party with me this week at the awesome link parties listed on the right.