Bringing our best to the world
Our Industry Firsts Come From Putting People First
We never let our passion for helping create today’s special moments distract us from empowering even more purposeful innovations. We understand that innovation takes its first step backward when it stops moving forward. That’s why we’ll never stop pursuing new products that resonate with the people who use them. We work tirelessly to create exceptional design and purposeful technology that blends into the home rather than stands out in a house. Some companies want you to concentrate on them. We’d rather you concentrate on what matters most.
For more than a century, we’ve been innovating and implementing designs that free up more time for what’s important. From the first washing machine to the first stand mixer to the first laundry pair with steam cycles, innovation is second nature to us and essential to our passion. We’re extremely proud of our history of innovation, but we believe our greatest accomplishments are yet to come.
MOMENTS OF INNOVATION
Browse through our innovation “firsts” and learn about our purposeful innovation
FIRST ELECTRIC WRINGER CLOTHES WASHER
LOUIS AND EMORY UPTON
With the help of their business partner Lowell Bassford, Louis Upton and his uncle Emory started the Upton Machine Company in Benton Harbor, MI. They pioneered electric motor-driven wringer washing machines in 1911, which laid the successful foundation of the Whirlpool Corporation.
FIRST ICON KITCHENAID® STAND MIXER
The idea started when Herbert Johnson set out to streamline the way bakers mixed dough. The stand mixers found their way on to all U.S. Navy ships before eventually being found everywhere from homes to professional kitchens. The technology and shape has transformed the way baking gets done since 1919.
FIRST BOTTOM-FREEZER REFRIGERATOR
Amana brand wanted to modernize the way the world stored food. Their teams recognized many customers didn’t access frozen food as often as fresh food. Hence, the bottom-freezer was born in 1947, paving the way for a French door configuration.
FIRST SIDE-BY-SIDE REFRIGERATOR
To appease households outgrowing the top-freezer model, Amana brand introduced the first side-by-side refrigerator in 1949. This revolutionary design made it possible for consumers to keep both fresh and frozen food at eye level. The innovation caught on rapidly and can still be found in homes all over the world.
FIRST SPACE KITCHEN DEVELOPED FOR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT
With a contract from the U.S. government in 1960, Whirlpool Corporation engineers took on zero gravity living. The kitchen included a miniature thermoelectric refrigerator, freezer, three-cavity oven, self-heated water system, storage space for food and disposal units. It was used in all of NASA’s Gemini, Apollo and Skylab missions.
FIRST SELF-VENTILATED COOKTOP
Kitchen cooktops always had to sit under a hood until Jenn-Air brand modernized the way cooktops were installed in 1961. By creating self-ventilation, the cooktop could be fitted anywhere and in any size space. This innovation liberated home chefs everywhere to design kitchens around their needs instead of the cooktop.
FIRST COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE OVEN
Amana brand introduces the first countertop, domestic 150-volt microwave oven, which costs just under $500 and is smaller, safer and more reliable than previous models. The market expands, cooking becomes easier and the Amana Radarange becomes the dominant player in the home microwave oven business.
FIRST 24-HOUR TOLL-FREE CUSTOMER SERVICE SUPPORT PROGRAM IN THE U.S.
Our customers have always been at the center of what we do. In 1967, sales rose to a level that required us to design a customer service program to match. This decision set a trend within the industry and a benchmark for large corporations worldwide.
FIRST ENERGY/WATER-EFFICIENT TOP LOAD WASHER
Whirlpool brand has never shied away from consumer needs—even when it meant redesigning an entire product. In 1998, to get ahead of a market trending toward sustainability, Whirlpool brand designed the first washer to exceed expectations in performance and resource savings.
FIRST LARGE CAPACITY FRONT-LOAD WASHER IN THE U.S.
Consumers get better at multi-tasking every year. Whirlpool brand recognized customers’ needs to accomplish more in less time and innovated a solution in 1999. The large capacity washer design has permanently changed the industry and buyer expectations.
FIRST TOP LOAD LAUNDRY PAIR WITH A STEAM CYCLE
Consumer trends revealed that not all laundry items needed a full wash cycle. In 2008, Maytag brand seized the opportunity to innovate a new way to enhance the laundry room experience by refreshing clothes with steam. This technology also relaxes wrinkles and reduces odors, and has become an industry staple.