You know the name ‘Whirlpool’…most people throughout the country owned, at one time or another, a Whirlpool product:
Washing Machine
Microwave Oven
Trash Compactor
Ice Maker

You had to have at least one of those made by Whirlpool, right? Well, the internationally-known brand ‘Whirlpool’ was created right here in Michigan.

Going by Whirlpool's history, 22-year-old Lou Upton was from the city of St. Joseph in Berrien County. In 1908, after investing in a company that failed to get anywhere, he was offered a product to compensate for his monetary loss. He acquired the rights to a washing machine that required the owner to wash clothes by hand. Upton’s mind began to race and he concocted the idea of a washing machine that ran on electricity.

By 1911 he had created and patented a wringer-washer that operated by electricity. No more hand-cranking those wringers anymore! Thanks to his brother Fred, Uncle Emory, and Lowell Bassford, Lou founded the Upton Machine Company and began churning out electric washers.

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Customer orders began flooding in – too many, in fact. So, in 1929 Upton merged with the Nineteen Hundred Washer Company from New York and became the Nineteen Hundred Corporation. During the 1930s, the company started working on other electric appliances and products.

When World War II struck, the factories shut down normal production and worked on components for the military. When the war ended, appliance production resumed, and soon more home appliances were being cranked out to meet the demand of Baby Boom parents and their households. In 1949, the company name was finally changed to Whirlpool with its famous insignia.

In 1955, a merger with the Seeger Refrigeration Company began a successful run of Whirlpool refrigerators.

In 1960, the U.S. Government contracted Whirlpool to make the first experimental space kitchen.

As time went on, they acquired more companies under the Whirlpool banner:

Whirlpool is still going strong in the 2000s.
And it all began in St. Joseph, a town in the lower left-hand corner of Michigan.

Whirlpool founder Lou Upton passed away on October 9, 1952, just one day before his 66th birthday.

WHIRLPOOL, Created in Michigan


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