Hobart Corporation celebrates 125 anniversary

By Jordan Green

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TROY — Hobart Food Equipment celebrated its’ 125th anniversary on July 20.

Exactly 125 years – to the date – after the signing of the articles of incorporation, employees from Hobart’s manufacturing facility and offices in Troy gathered for an all-day celebration.

“We have a team of dozens of people that have been planning this event for months and they have done such a great job,” said Doug Lins, vice president of sales, operations, and training.

The celebration featured live music, lunch, food trucks serving ice cream, a cornhole tournament, and much more.

“Our turnout was bigger than expected, the music was great, and it was a really great celebration,” said Lins.

Over Hobart’s 125-year history, it has built a strong connection with the community. It ranks among the largest employers in the Miami County area and actively supports community engagement.

“In the fall we raise a lot of money for United Way and the specific agencies that they serve,” said Lins. “When you talk about the agencies in Troy, we partner with just about every agency on some level, but our close partnerships are the Lincoln Community Center, Partners in Hope, and the Arbogast Center for Performing Arts.”

They also match employee donations to any local non-profits 3:1.

“So, if I give a local non-profit $500, that just turned into $2,000,” said Lins. “And for every hour that [an employee] volunteers we give a cash amount to those organizations. So, we’re trying to stay tightly connected and contributing to the community.”

Hobart began as a generator business in Middletown in the late 1800s. After the business burned down, Clarence Charles (C.C.) Hobart rebuilt his company and founded Hobart Electric Manufacturing Company in Troy in 1897.

“As an avenue for growing sales, he decided that they would take these motors and they would strap them onto hand cranked food machines like peanut butter machines, coffee mills, and meat grinders,” said Lins.

In 1913, the company reorganized as the Hobart Manufacturing Company and the KitchenAid division was started in 1919 after the development of stand mixers that were originally sold to the U.S. military. In 1934, the company began to expand through vertical integration with the purchase of the Dayton Scale Company from IBM. They continued to expand through innovation and vertical integration and restructured as the Hobart Corporation in 1974.

In 1981, the Hobart Corporation was acquired by Dart and Kraft Incorporated for $460 million or $40 a share. Dart and Kraft outbid an attempted takeover by Canadian Pacific Enterprises who offered $32.50 per share according to the New York Times.

The KitchenAid division of the Hobart Corporation was sold to the Whirlpool Corporation in 1986 for $150 million. Shortly after, Dart and Kraft split leaving Hobart a part of Premark. Premark was acquired in 1999 by Illinois Tool Work (ITW) for $3.4 billion and Hobart officially became a part of ITW’s food equipment group in 2001.