Through the Wringer

Lou Upton

Weathering a wartime economy

To keep the business afloat during World War I, Upton Machine Co. purchased American Tool Company, a manufacturer of toy popguns, cork guns and air rifles, and the Stopple Kook […]

Eastward and upward

By the mid-1920s, Upton Machine Co. needed to expand east to support its partnership with Sears. In 1929, the company merged with the Nineteen Hundred Washer Company from Binghamton, New […]

Uptons on display

Before television, how did consumers see products in action? Mainly through demonstrations and showrooms such as this Upton portable display room. By 1916, potential consumers could find Upton washers in […]

A home for invention

Benton Harbor, Michigan, the home of Lou’s uncle Emory, was the logical place for Upton Machine Co.’s headquarters. Today, Whirlpool continues to honor its deep roots in Benton Harbor and […]

A test of integrity

Upton Machine Co. snagged a critical first customer—the Federal Electric division of Commonwealth Edison—but the company wasn’t on the road to success quite yet. Every washing machine in Federal Electric’s […]

Leading Whirlpool Corporation: Fred and Emory Upton

Lou’s brother Fred and uncle Emory were a vital part of Whirlpool Corp.’s journey to success. Fred was one of the company’s first employees, delivering and repairing washers and forging […]

It’s electric

In 1911, the Upton Machine Company was founded. It went full-bore into manufacturing electric washing machines. The design of the electric washer evolved over the next 20 years, but Upton’s […]

Leading Whirlpool Corporation: Lou Upton

By the time Lou Upton was 22 years old, he had put his entire life savings—$500—into a promising business venture. But it failed, and he walked away with nothing except […]