What Is the History of the Rival Manufacturing Company?


Quick Answer

In 1932, Henry J. Talge founded Rival Manufacturing Company, now called the Rival Company, in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Initially, the company focused on the production of specialized die casts.

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Full Answer

Henry Talge, born in Russia in 1892, relocated to the Kansas City, Missouri area in 1925 after taking a number of sales jobs in Chicago, Detroit and New York. The Rival Manufacturing Company's first kitchen product was a manual citrus juicer called the Juice-O-Mat. The "O-Mat" label eventually became a trademark on many of Rival's products, including the Ice-O-Mat, Broil-O-Mat and Can-O-Mat.

During World War II, normal production for the Rival Manufacturing Company halted as the factory was transitioned into the production of wartime products. The increased demand boosted Rival's workforce from eight to over 350 employees. After the conclusion of World War II, Talge's son, Foster, assumed management of the company. Foster continued to grow the company by introducing an innovative product range as well as increasing production.

In 1963, Henry and Foster Talge sold Rival Manufacturing Company to Stern Brothers Investment Bank, who moved production from the Kansas City plant to smaller Missouri towns in an effort to reduce labor expenses, which were high in Kansas City as a result of the union presence.

The company enjoyed a boom in the 1970s as a result of its introduction of the Crock-Pot. However, as quickly as business rose, it fell in the second half of the decade, forcing Rival to continue to move production out of its Kansas City facility.

Since the 1980s, despite the decline of the Crock-Pot, Rival has continued to grow as a result of an aggressive acquisitions strategy and a concerted effort to diversify.

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