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Iowa History Daily: November 8 - Foerstner & Amana Refrigeration

Iowa History Daily: On November 8, 1908, founder of Amana Refrigeration Inc. George Christian Foerstner was born. A leader in commercial and household refrigeration, Foerstner’s Amana grew to signify one of Iowa’s most iconic brands.

Born in High Amana, one of the seven villages of the Amana Society, Foerstner completed an eighth-grade education. Foerstner worked for his father at the village store on a sales route for car tires, batteries, radios, and bicycles.

With the repeal of Prohibition, Foerstner noticed the emerging market for beverage coolers and used $3,500 in personal savings to start the Electrical Equipment Company. he sold the company to the Amana Society. Foerstner remained manager of the firm, the Electrical Department of the Amana Society. In 1947 the company manufactured its first refrigerator for private household use. Unusually for the time, the company ran advertisements featuring celebrities including Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, and Gary Cooper.

When the Amana Society decided to sell the Electrical Department in 1949, Foerstner and a group of investors bought the company and reorganized as Amana Refrigeration Inc. Raytheon Corporation bought Amana Refrigeration in 1965, but Foerstner remained as president of Amana, which functioned as a largely autonomous subsidiary. By 1969 Amana had developed the Radarange, the first home microwave oven marketed in the United States. Foerstner retired as chief executive officer at Amana Refrigeration in 1978 and as chairman in 1982. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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