Made in USA Since 1909
Lifetime Cookware has been made in the USA since Reynolds Metal began manufacturing the line in 1909. The West Bend Aluminum Company took over production of Lifetime Cookware in 1956. Today Lifetime Cookware is a product of West Bend Cookware by Regal Ware and is still manufactured in West Bend, WI.
It was humble beginnings for two manufacturing companies based in small Wisconsin towns just seven miles from one another. The West Bend Aluminum Company was incorporated in 1911 and the Kewaskum Aluminum Company, eventually purchased by Regal Ware founder, J.O. Reigle, began operations in 1919. Both West Bend and Regal Ware were driven by innovative engineering and expertise along with a relentless desire for continual improvement. These manufacturing pioneers held patents on the first ever "waterless cooker"—made of aluminum—and then, the first stainless steel "waterless cooker." Their focus on providing products of the highest quality, made with pride by skilled workers and backed by service that is unsurpassed, allowed both companies to become well-known and respected leaders in the housewares industry.
In 1968 The West Bend Company was acquired by Rexall Drug & Chemical Company. Over the remaining years of the 20th Century ownership of the company changed a number of times. In 2002 Regal Ware acquired the assets of The West Bend Company and the strengths of these two industry leaders became one.
The Regal Ware story began in 1945 when J.O. Reigle and two associates—L.N. Peterson and Edna Oster—purchased the Kewaskum Aluminum Company. It was incorporated as the Kewaskum Utensil Company and in 1951 the company was renamed Regal Ware, Inc.
Important to Regal Ware's success has been the commitment to remain privately held, as well as its commitment to continuity of management. There were challenges from the start, but this commitment has remained steadfast. The Kewaskum Aluminum Company was under contract with the government to produce 81 mm mortar shells when J.O. Reigle purchased it in 1945. Just eight days later, World War II ended and the founders immediately retooled the plant to produce 1-quart and 1.5-quart sauce pans. Aluminum was scarce at the time so it was decided to begin producing saucepans out of stainless steel. Armed with a two-pan product line, 47 employees, an 18,000 square foot building and a drive to succeed, the company set out to make its mark. Within the first decade of business Regal Ware grew to include a variety of rangetop cookware, coffeemakers and electric appliances, and had become a recognized and respected leader in the industry.
James D. Reigle, the second company president and son of founder J.O. Reigle, guided the company through acquisitions, expansions and product diversification that earned Regal Ware's reputation as a world class source of quality housewares. Regal Ware's commitment to innovation was the driving force behind the manufacture of many popular household products as well as the development of a patented application process that created a superior nonstick coating for cookware with a lifetime warranty. This dedication to innovation set the pace for the company's growth and longevity.
Jeffrey A. Reigle followed in his father's and grandfather's footsteps when he became President & CEO of Regal Ware in 1991. Jeff's tenure has overseen dramatic shifts in worldwide cultural, manufacturing and import/export trends in the past 20 years. Through these uncharted waters Jeff's leadership has navigated the acquisition and integration of The West Bend Company, shifted Regal Ware's retail focus from mass-market to mid- and high-level products, reinforced a commitment to Regal Ware products being made in the USA; and led Regal Ware to new opportunities worldwide during the most challenging recession since the 1930s. Adding to the continuity of leadership, Doug Reigle, son of James D. Reigle, currently serves as Sr. Vice President & COO; and Jeff's sons Matt and Ryan each hold Sales Director positions, representing the fourth generation of the Reigle family contributing to the company's continued success and underscoring the commitment to the future.
Since its inception Regal Ware has employed three and four generations of more than a handful of families. Even today it is not unusual to have two or three members of a single family working at Regal Ware. At the time of the West Bend acquisition in 2002 Regal Ware made the unprecedented decision to combine not only the physical attributes, but to also retain employees from each of these two like-size companies in order to draw on the talents and expertise of both. With increasing complexity of world markets, the development of self-motivated, independent employees has become more crucial than ever-a philosophy first voiced by J.O. Reigle and passed on through the generations of company executives.
Today the Regal Ware name is a mark of quality that can be found on cookware and small appliances in homes around the world—impacting more than 50 million people. In the words of our founder J.O. Reigle, "The strength of our past is the story of who we are today and the stepping stone to a fabulous future."