Cuisinart was founded in 1971 by Carl Sontheimer in Chicago, Illinois. After a trip to France where Sontheimer and his wife saw an early version of a food processor, Carl decided that he could make something similar which would drastically reduce the preparation time for cooks.
A graduate of MIT, Sontheimer took apart the prototype that he brought from France, he streamlined some items and refined others. In 1973, Sontheimer introduced “The Food Processor” at the National Housewares Expedition in Chicago, Illinois.
It didn’t catch on right away. Most people thought of the food processor as nothing more than a high priced blender. By 1975, however, his product was being used by Julia Childs and James Beard, as well as being featured in Gourmet magazine.
In 1977, the market suddenly turned for Cuisinart, with orders going from a few units each month to hundreds of units each month. By the end of 1977, sales had hit the $50 million mark.
Cuisinart began making several different models of food processors before branching out in 1986.
Today, the company makes toaster ovens, blenders, coffee makers, cookware, slow cookers, stand mixers, and much more. The company sells its products in almost every brick and mortar store, as well as online stores and their own online site, in the US, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Canada, and Hong Kong. The company has a manufacturing facility in Rantoul, Illinois and headquarters are located in Stamford, Connecticut.
In 2016, the company put out a recall due to cutting blades which were held on by faulty rivets. Consumers reported that the blades were coming part and putting metal particles into their food.
In September 2020, the company introduced a new unit that processes then cooks the food called the CompleteChef.
Conair Corporation acquired the company in 1989 for $60 million.