When you think about buying a manufactured product, chances are you only think about two things: "Does it work for what I need it for?" and "Can I afford it?" However, there is also the "story" of the product, the "brand". These days I think many of us cynically believe everything manufactured is made in China. It's a bit depressing, since that means in buying those products we are getting involved in a story that's not close to home. Nothing against the Chinese, where would we be without some of their wonderful and affordable products after all? But it would be nice to know that there are still quality, innovative, essential products that are part of an ongoing American story. The line of Presto products are an example of just that; quality American made ingenuity going back over 100 years.
To recap their entire history here would be too much, but it is interesting to briefly outline where National Presto Industries came from. Started in 1905, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the company that would become National Presto Industries was already on the cutting edge. They manufactured a product that makes life in the kitchen faster, easier, safer and more affordable: Pressure cookers and canners. Their industry got a boost in 1917 when it was determined by the USDA that pressure canners were the only way to safely can low-acid foods, helping to stop deadly cases of food poisoning.
Most of their products were more commercially focused until, in 1939, they revolutionized the industry by introducing their "Presto" line of in home, saucepan-style pressure cookers. These pressure cookers make food preparation fast, easy, less expensive and yet more healthy. Amazingly, this is still true even today. Compared to a microwave pressure cooking is often faster and more desirable, given the higher quality and better tasting food you get as a result.
However, despite their boon in the market place, National Presto Industries suspended their production of pressure cookers in WWII. This was in order to assist in the production of needed rocket fuses for the war effort.
After the war, pressure cooker production expanded with the opening of a second plant in 1953. Once again this plant was located right in the USA--Jackson Mississippi. As production expanded so did the Presto product line, with innovations that included newfangled electric kitchen and household appliances. Many of these electric appliances are iconic of the 50's era, shiny, sleek, and more efficient. But still, pressure cookers and canners remained a top seller.
Since the 1950's the expansion and innovations have kept coming. First with the plant in Alamogordo, New Mexico, opened in 1971, and then with a slew of electric kitchen appliances that make food faster to prepare while at the same time being healthier. Just some of the many innovative Presto products include: the electric coffee maker, the electric pressure cooker, the SaladShooter, various electric griddles, healthier deep friers, the hot air driven and more efficient PopCornNow, and more.
To this day National Presto Industries still embodies innovation, seeking out inventors and ideas from the public. However, they also maintain excellence in the products that brought them success: quality pressure cookers made right here in the US. Because they have had such longevity Presto still supports repair parts for vintage model pressure cookers. They cover all lines going back to WWII, and some even before that.
It's nice to know that the same product grandma used to cook faster, healthier and taster meals is still available today. They still have as much quality as ever, and they are still made by the same company. So when you think "Do I want quality, or affordability" know that you can get both with Presto products. Plus, you can be part of an ongoing story of success, right here at home.
Debbie Lawrence is a mother of 2 who owns her own part-time catering business. She loves food and the history of food. She hopes to share with people how food strengthens not just our bodies, but our social connections as well. Her latest project revolves around Presto products such as the Presto pressure cooker line, explaining how they can make life easier in the kitchen and what to look for in purchasing.