The man behind the Kenwood Food Mixer was Kenneth Maynard Wood who was born on 4th October 1916, in Lewisham, London and was brought up on the outskirts in a place called Chelsfield, Kent.
He left the nearby Bromley County School in 1930 to join the Merchant Navy. After 5 years on the ocean waves, he left and began studying Electrical Engineering and Accountancy at night school. A year later in 1936, when just 20 years old he started to sell, install and repair radios and televisions through his company, Dickson & Wood.
Just as war was breaking out, Kenneth sold his company and joined the Royal Air Force in 1939. he was working at the Admiralty developing radar and electronics controls. This work was not so different to the work undertaken at the company which would eventually produce the famous Kenwood Food Mixer.
A Star Is Born
It was during the war he met Roger Laurence, with whom he founded Woodlau Industries on leaving the RAF at the end of the war. By 1947, they had started production of their first kitchen gadget, but it wasn’t a Kenwood Food Mixer.
The A100 was a turnover toaster, an uncommon item in the kitchens of Britain at that time. This was followed by the A200 food mixer and it wouldn’t be long before the first Kenwood Chef would be rolling off the production lines. In the meantime, Roger Laurence left the company and Kenneth changed it to Kenwood Manufacturing Company Ltd.
The 1st Kenwood Food Mixer
By 1950, the A700 Kenwood Chef was born and became an instant success and Kenwood’s products in general were successful.
Kenneth seemed to stick by a simple formula of developing machines for helping with the household tasks producing the most work. It wasn’t long before he was one of Britain’s youngest millionaires.
By 1968, Kenwood Manufacturing was the subject of a hostile takeover by Thorn Electrical Industries Ltd, and Kenneth left. Despite the nature of the takeover he maintained an interest in the company until his death on 19 October 1997 after a short illness. He left a widow, Patricia, two sons and two daughters by his previous marriage and three stepsons.
Wikipedia has a page about Ken Wood.
These are some of the posts and achievements that marked the life of Kenneth Wood.
- On 31 May 1972, Kenneth was granted the freedom of the City of London, as a result of his membership of the Worshipful Company of Farriers
- Between 1972 and 1980 he was Chairman and Managing Director of the Dawson-Keith Group of Companies.
- In 1984 he was appointed Fellow of the Institute of Ophthalmology
- He founded Forest Mere Health Farm
- He invested in Old Thorns Golf & Country Estate club near his Hampshire home with television commentator Peter Alliss
- Chairman of the governors of Wispers School in Haslemere, Surrey
- He was Managing Director of Hydrotech Systems between 1984-87