The History of Oster® Brand

The history of the Oster® brand began in 1924 when Mr. John Oster saw an opportunity to market a hand-operated hair clipper. The new product was designed to cut and style women's hair. Four years later, a new motor-driven clipper was introduced, and soon, The John Oster Manufacturing Company became a manufacturer of choice for professionals in the grooming industry.

In 1946, John Oster made a decision to diversify from barber equipment to small house electrical appliances and purchased Stevens Electric, the company that invented the liquefier blender in 1923. Soon after, the first Osterizer® blender was introduced. With the success of this one model, Oster Manufacturing Company began building its fine name and reputation in the small appliances industry. As time passed by, blenders became more powerful and began to perform a variety of food preparation tasks, like grating, grinding, chopping, pureeing and much more. With such appliances as breadmakers, juice extractors, mixers and toasters, the Oster® brand has grown to be a symbol of quality and style in the industry.

In 1960, the John Oster Manufacturing Company was acquired and became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sunbeam Corporation.

  • The Stevens Electric Company owner, Steven J. Poplawski, invented the drink mixer in 1922 to make Horlick's malted milk shakes in drug stores.
  • The Stevens Electric Company introduces the first liquefier blender.
  • John Oster Manufacturing Company established in the garage of John Oster in Racine, WI; ladies hair clippers are launched.
  • In an effort to diversify Oster Manufacturing Products from barber equipment to small household electrical appliances, John Oster purchased the Stevens Electric Company. At that time, Stevens Electric Company mainly manufactured drink mixers for soda fountains and bars. With the acquisition of this company, John Oster instructed his engineering staff to find ways of improving mixers for other uses. At the time, Steven J. Poplawski was already experimenting with a mixer to blend and chop foods such as vegetables, to reduce them to a fluid state. The Oster engineers completed the experiments that Mr. Poplawski had started, and a new product was introduced. This product came to be known as the "Osterizer®" blender, which has become the staple of Oster® blenders today.
    John Oster's sons, John Jr. and Robert, had by this time gained experience in the business. John Oster, Sr. appointed John Oster, Jr. president of the firm and head of the Commercial Division in Milwaukee WI. Robert Oster was appointed Vice President and Treasurer of the company and head of the Avionic Division in Racine, WI.
  • The #40 Rod Mixer, used exclusively for preparing malted milks, was marketed. In October of that year, the "Osterett" mixer, a forerunner of the portable hand mixer, was produced. This mixer was a great success and is still produced for South American and Central American markets.
  • In May 1949, the Oster® Model 202 hair dryer went into production, accelerating diversification of products.
  • The Oster® Model 500 Double-Action knife sharpener was put on the market in 1950, featuring two overlapping sharpening wheels - a feature which is still exclusive to Oster® sharpeners.
  • The year 1955 was a year of introductions. The "Osterizer®" blender was improved and the first two-speed model was marketed.
  • In the commercial division, sales were soaring because of new products being produced. Massage pillows, humidifiers, and ice crushers were pouring off the lines. A plant was built in McMinnville, Tennessee in 1959 to help meet demands. The McMinnville facility expanded in 1962 as more products were transferred from Milwaukee for production in Tennessee.
  • In 1960, the John Oster Manufacturing Co. was acquired by Sunbeam Corporation of Chicago and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sunbeam. A stock transfer of 230,000 shares of Sunbeam stock was the price of the acquisition. Operations continued without interruption with the same officers in charge. Sunbeam felt that Oster® products would augment their lines. The knowledge of both firms' sales, engineering, and manufacturing staff were combined with increased sales as the goal. This goal was realized almost immediately in the Commercial Division.
  • In 1961, Sunbeam founded a subsidiary, Products Specialties, Inc., to provide wholesale Oster® products to merchandising firms under the merchandiser's brand name.
  • In August of 1963, John Oster, Jr. resigned as President to devote his time to personal interests. S.D. Moorman, a Vice President of Sunbeam Corporation, was appointed temporary President of John Oster Manufacturing Co. On November 1st, 1963, John Oster, Sr., the founder of John Oster Manufacturing Co., died, bringing an end to the Oster family's connection with the company.
  • In January 1964, Mr. Moorman became Chairman of the Board and Robert F. Draper was elected President of the company.
  • On June 1st, 1967, Robert F. Draper, President of John Oster Manufacturing, Co. was moved to Sunbeam in Chicago and Gerald S. Parshalle became President of the John Oster Manufacturing Co.
  • In 1969, Mr. Moorman left the company and Mr. Parshalle was made Chairman of the Board. G. William Orr became the company's President. Mr. Orr had joined the John Oster Manufacturing Co. in 1952 as Sales Manager and was Executive Vice President of Sales at the time of his appointment to the presidency. Two new products, the electric fondue pot and the electric chafing dish, were developed and marketed in 1969 and 1979. These products have been readily accepted by consumers and sales promised to be above forecast for the holiday season.
  • On May 4th, 1971, the company was re-named Oster Corporation. On May 11th, 1971, the Barber & Beauty Division was renamed the Professional Products Division since pet supplies and products became a major factor during the past five years.
  • Hanson Scales (bathroom scales) was added to Sunbeam Corporation.
  • Oster® Professional Products Department manufactured and sold a line of commercial blenders (bar mixers), to the restaurant, bar, and food service industries. These blenders had 1.5 horsepower motors.
  • Allegheny International, Inc. acquired Sunbeam Corporation. At that time, Sunbeam Corporation had sales of $1.2 billion. The John Zink Company (air pollution control devices) was added to Sunbeam Corporation.
  • Allegheny International Corporation, the parent company for the Sunbeam Corporation, was forced into bankruptcy.
  • Investors Michael Price, Michael Steinhardt and financier Paul Kazarian bought out Allegheny's creditors and created the Sunbeam-Oster Company.
  • The Sunbeam-Oster Company changes its name to Sunbeam Corporation.
  • With the introduction of the Oster® In2itive® blender, a revolutionary technology was born. The new blender/food processor/smoothie maker featured pre-programmed cycles that automatically determined blend time and blade direction for delicious drinks and foods.
  • The commitment of the Oster® brand to inspire consumers to experiment in the kitchen and create delicious meals at home is supported by the launch of the newly created Oster® InspireTM collection. The beautifully designed line is ideal for cooking enthusiasts who desire to take their skills to new heights.
    The brand’s new advertising campaign underscores the emphasis on home entertaining through the introduction of vivacious, confident and adventurous Diva characters with a flair for entertaining with style. The characters were created by Kirsten Ulve, a New York-based illustrator whose work has been highlighted in numerous publications in the States and abroad.
    The most vibrant rising culinary star of The Food Network, Michelle Bernstein, has been chosen to be the newest spokesperson for the Oster® brand. Michelle’s cuisine features distinctive flavors and colors of Latin-inspired cooking. As Oster® appliances assist Michelle in her creative, passionate process of preparing exquisite meals, this union will instigate imaginative cooking at home. Michelle was recently awarded the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award for her signature menu in Azul, the well-known 120-seat restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami, Florida.

Oster® Appliance Timeline

1923 - First Liquefier Blender
1924 - Ladies’ Hair Clippers
1933 - Portable Massage Instrument
1946 - Cocktail Mixer, Osterizer Blender, Professional Hair Dryer
1948 - Rod-type Mixer, Portable Mixer
1949 - Airjet Hair Dryer
1950 - Deep Fryer, Electric Fondue, Egg Cooker/Poacher, Double-Action Knife Sharpener
1955 - Hairvac
1956 - Meat Grinder, Meat Grinder Icer Attachment
1956 - Juicer Attachment for Blender
1957 - Icer Attachment for Blender, Can Opener Attachment for Meat Grinder
1958 - Massage Pillow
1959 - Foot Massager, New Vibrating Massager with Handle
1960 - Humidifier
1961 - Can Opener, Frypan, Iron
1962 - Can Opener & Knife Sharpener, Ice Crusher
1963 - Carousel Rotisserie Broiler
1977 - Kitchen Center
1980 - Automatic Juice Extractor
1981 - Sandwich Maker
1989 - Breadmaker
2000 - Translucent Blenders, Toasters
2001 - In2itive® Blender and Blend-N-Go®
2002 - Toaster Ovens
2003 - InspireTM Collection, Core Blenders
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