February 10, 2007


And the man behind the brand is...
Bill Tappan

W.J. “Bill” Tappan was well-known in the Ohio Valley in the 1880s. There wasn’t a single door in the territory he had not knocked on trying to sell the iron stoves he cast in his foundry. Many of the farmers were poor and Tappan often accepted payment in vegetables and grains because he felt folks should be able to cook on a good stove.

In 1891, after Tappan had stoked his foundry for ten years, a solar eclipse darkened the eastern half of the United States. He viewed the astronomical event as an omen and changed the name of his entire company from the Ohio Valley Foundry Company to the Eclipse Company. Perhaps it was an omen meant specifically for Bill Tappan because his Eclipse Stove was soon selling beyond the Ohio Valley and became one of the best-selling ovens in America.

Tappan went on to become one of the leading innovators in the American kitchen, becoming a name synomous to cooking. In 1920 the old Tappan cast iron stove gave way to sheet steel and the modern range. In the 1940s the company name reverted back to the Tappan Stove Company and when it introduced the first commercial microwave oven in 1955 there was no need to take it door to door as Bill Tappan had done 75 years earlier. It was readily accepted as the quintessential American convenience.

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