History

Regal Ware Worldwide is a privately-held, American-owned company that takes pride in making products in the USA at its two manufacturing facilities located in Wisconsin.

quote.pngUsing successful sales and management strategies, state-of-the-art equipment, and astute business acquisitions, Regal Ware's legacy has expanded to embody a history of continuous manufacturing of high-quality cookware dating back to 1911.  The history of Regal Ware Worldwide™ is a story of stability and enduring value amid constant and dramatic change. While remaining committed to the production of one of humankind's most basic and staple products—cookware—Regal Ware has risen to the top of the industry.

An emphasis on quality and pride in workmanship while treating employees with respect has been a key success factor in the history of Regal Ware Worldwide.  Regal Ware’s first products were two stainless steel saucepans.  Today the Regal Ware name is a mark of quality that can be found on cookware and small appliances in homes around the world. Regal Ware products have impacted more than 50 million people in our nearly 100-year history.

Regal Ware’s sterling reputation is widespread, so when the Discovery Channel’s show “Factory Made” wanted to know how to make cookware, they came to Regal Ware.  Two full days were spent in the company’s Kewaskum and West Bend manufacturing locations to document the production of just two of the company’s many products.

Drawing on a legacy of nearly 100 years of cookware manufacturing expertise, Regal Ware Worldwide is the only company capable of USA manufacture of many different cookware constructions at its two manufacturing locations to ensure quality consistency, control, and centralized distribution. Regal Ware’s highly skilled professionals are committed to creating world-class quality products including stainless steel cookware, multi-ply cookware, gravity-cast aluminum cookware, and in-home water purification systems.

history.jpgThe impact that Regal Ware and its products have had worldwide is widely recognized; so much so that in November 2008 the Washington County Historical Society (Wisconsin) opened an entire museum solely dedicated to the history and products of Regal Ware and its acquired companies. This Cookware Museum assures that a single repository exists for all past, present, and future products of this iconic company. In addition, a book documenting the history of the company was released in September 2009. Titled, “The History of the Aluminum Industry in Washington County”, this book tells the story of Regal Ware in words and historical photos.

The development of self-motivated, creative-minded employees is a philosophy passed on by our founders J.O. Reigle, L.N. Peterson, and Edna Oster. The company remains committed to providing opportunities for all employees to develop their talent to the fullest. Employees regularly participate in kaizen events to lend their knowledge and expertise to continuous improvement of the company and its products. This dedicated and responsible workforce has enjoyed a stake and sense of ownership at Regal Ware, exhibited in part by their remarkable staying power. The company’s 25-year club currently includes more than 700 members. It is not unusual to have several members of a single family working at Regal Ware, and the company has employed three and four generations of many current employees.

The bond that exists between Regal Ware and its employees has also prevailed between the company and the community. Corporate headquarters remain firmly planted in the small village of Kewaskum, Wisconsin where it was founded; and manufacturing facilities are located in both the original Kewaskum, Wisconsin location (since 1945), as well as the West Bend, Wisconsin location (since 1911) that was brought into the Regal Ware fold in 2002. The company is known for its generosity in donating products for local non-profit fundraisers, and also for its financial support of local, national, and international worthwhile causes. Employees themselves donate countless hours to local non-profit and service organizations, and are equally generous in support of the area United Way fund. 

Well over 100 students have benefited from educational scholarships funded by Regal Ware over the years. In at least one case, the scholarship recipient went on to become an executive with the company. Joe Swanson, a 1979 recipient of the J.O. Reigle Scholarship, currently holds the position of Senior Vice President of Operations.

Regal Ware Historical Timeline

1911 Incorporation of The West Bend Company, to be acquired by Regal Ware in 2002.
1919 Founding of the Kewaskum Aluminum Company, later to be named Regal Ware, Inc.  The patented Aluminum Waterless Cooker is introduced.
1930s The Kewaskum Aluminum Company keeps employees on the payroll during the Great Depression with activities such as grounds maintenance and painting the building.
1945 J.O. Reigle and 2 associates purchase the Kewaskum Aluminum Company and incorporate as the Kewaskum Utensil Company.
1950 Product line rapidly expands to include a full line of high quality aluminum cookware and electrics.
1951 Corporate name is changed to Regal Ware, Inc.
1955 Regal Ware revolutionizes the cookware industry with the introduction of colorful anodized accessories.
1956 Regal Ware introduces stainless steel waterless cookware for direct sales
1960 Regal Ware becomes one of the first companies to feature Teflon® nonstick coated cookware, dramatically changing the way the world cooks.
1964 Regal Ware purchases Buckeye Aluminum of Wooster, Ohio.
1965 James D. Reigle is named President of the Company. The PolyPerk® coffeemaker is introduced and, in a few short years, becomes America’s best selling percolator.
1967 Regal Ware acquires the cookware division of Norris Industries.
1969 The National Aluminum Manufacturing Company of Peoria, Illinois becomes the third major acquisition in the 1960s for Regal Ware.
1970 Building on its lead in fashion cookware, Regal Ware introduces decorative stripes to its wide selection of colored items.
1972 Regal Ware purchases the cookware division of Sunbeam Corporation.
1976 Regal Ware celebrates production of 5 million canteens for the Boy Scouts of America. Boy Scout canteens were one of the earliest products manufactured by the company.
1977 Regal Ware introduces the Temp Tone® knob, a unique feature in direct sales cookware.
1979 Regal Ware acquires Dallas, Texas-based Saladmaster®, a recognized leader in cookware sales.
1984 Regal Ware purchases Club Products from Standex Industries, including the Kitchen Fair® Division.
1985 Regal Ware is among the first to recognize the potential of automatic bread makers and introduces “The Bread Machine by Regal.”
1990 Regal Ware’s commitment to innovation continues with a patented process to apply a lifetime warranted non-stick coating.
1991 Regal Ware expands marketing efforts in England and Europe. Classica® joins the Regal Ware family of brands.
1992 Jeffrey A. Reigle assumes leadership of Regal Ware as President and Chief Executive Officer.
1995 Regal Ware celebrates the 50 Year Anniversary of the incorporation of Regal Ware. Arthur Anderson and the Milwaukee Journal name Regal Ware, Inc. among the top 30 privately-held Wisconsin companies.
1999 Regal Ware exits the entry-level retail cookware market and focuses sales and marketing efforts on cookware sold direct-to-the-consumer by direct sellers, a market that has remained a cornerstone of the company since its founding.
2002 Regal Ware acquires assets of The West Bend Company of West Bend, Wisconsin, including the Lifetime®, Royal Queen®, and West Bend Cookware® brands.
2005 The Regal Ware Worldwide™ identity is introduced as a visible symbol of the corporation’s drive and core value values of Integrity, Dedication, Performance, and Pride.
2006 Regal Ware is named the recipient of Orion’s Environmental Stewardship Award for an energy-efficient lighting project in its manufacturing facility in West Bend, Wisconsin. The environmental impact over the lifetime of the fixtures installed will decrease air pollution and environmental damage by 22,620 tons of carbon dioxide, 6,169 tons of carbon, 83 tons of sulfur dioxide, 193 tons of nitrous oxides, and 3 pounds of mercury. This is the equivalent of planting 5,534 acres of trees.
2008 Regal Ware Worldwide hosts plant tours as part of Industry Week’s 2008 Best Plants Conference, focusing on the company’s commitment to Lean Manufacturing disciplines. Washington County Historical Society opens a Cookware Museum devoted to the products of Regal Ware and its acquired companies.
2009 Regal Ware is featured in two episodes on the Discovery Channel’s show, “How Stuff’s Made.” One episode focused on Regal Ware’s cast aluminum product, while the second showcased the company’s stainless steel manufacturing capabilities.
2011 Regal Ware celebrates 100 years of manufacturing quality cookware in West Bend and Kewaskum, Wisconsin.