Remembering Melvin Cohen of Presto Cooker Fame

Melvin CohenWe just wanted to make sure BrandlandUSA’s readers remember the late Melvin S. Cohen, who died Dec. 16 at age 90.

Cohen, father of the Fry Baby and Salad Shooter, was chairman of National Presto Industries, at ticker (NYSE: NPK). A great obituary of him is in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin Leader-Telegram; click on the photograph to read the entire article.

Cohen led the company without debt. Presto, which introduced the pressure cooker at the 1939 World’s Fair, introduced the first steam iron to use tap water, and also created the submersible electric frying pan.

It is shameful that in 1999, the SEC attacked the company for keeping too much of its cash in mutual funds. Looking back on it, we can now see why we are in the mess we are in. The SEC went after decent companies like Presto while private capital went on a rampage.

His daughter Maryjo Cohen is the current Presto chairman and president. The company still sells a remarkable array of consumer electric products. Interesting that GE left small appliances decades ago, saying that it could not make sufficient returns in the market. But Presto is still around, doing fine, thank you.

By the way, if you are an inventor, they STILL accept ideas for appliances. Go to it!


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

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