Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Iowa I Opener: Amana Refrigeration

High Amana Store
For just about everyone, the name Amana means one thing: appliances. In the 1920s,William Foerstner managed the High Amana Store, which sold beverage coolers, bicycles, radios and other items. He was assisted by his son, George, who founded Amana Refrigeration in 1934--two years after the end of the Amana Colonies commune--the Great Change.

Foerster's Amana first manufactured beverage coolers, they later expanded its offerings to include refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers. In 1967, it produced the first commercially successful microwave oven designed for the consumer market, the Radarange.

The High Amana Store is still owned by the Foerstner family, antiques and vintage retail display fixtures can be found inside.

As for Amana Refrigeration, it is now part of the Whirlpool Corporation. There is an Amana plant in Middle Amana--bottom mount freezers are built there--and in July they were looking to hire 100-150 workers. Good news for tough times.

Amana plant, Middle Amana, Iowa
Next: A final look at the Amana Colonies.

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