Home Depot’s exclusive Admiral appliances combine efficiency with affordability. At one time a manufacturer of many home appliances, it is now a label under the Whirlpool Corporation, one of the largest appliance makers in the world. Though Admiral mainly produces washers and dryers now, that belies the rich, complicated history of the brand.
1930s to ‘40s
Originally known as the Continental Radio and Television Corporation, Admiral was founded by Ross Siragusa in 1934 as a radio and television equipment manufacturer. He sold his car and many other belongings to make a substantial investment that turned into $9 million in sales by 1939. CRTC quickly grew its brand into the Admiral label by 1940.
1940s to ‘50s
Admiral produced thousands of radios for the US military during World War II after which it invested heavily in the future of media– television. By the late ‘40s, Admiral expanded into developing refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, ranges, phonographs, record chargers, and more. They became an international brand and a favorite in the American household.
1950s to ‘60s
Sales had grown to over $250 million dollars in 1953 as America’s economy prospered. Stocks soared and Admiral acquired a number of smaller companies including Golden State Appliances. The business peaked in profitability.
1960s to ‘70s
The explosion of the Japanese import business blunted Admiral’s growth. They struggled to keep up with their competitors and profits plummeted into losses well throughout the ‘60s. Executives struggled to reduce overhead, finally managing to turn things around late into the decade.
As profits again started yielding, Admiral began relinquishing its divisions until it finally agreed to be taken over by Rockwell International, beginning the long trade-off that follows: Rockwell sold Admiral to Magic Chef, which itself was sold to Maytag. Maytag sold Admiral as an exclusive brand for Montgomery Ward, but then Maytag was acquired by Whirlpool. Admiral now finds its home at your local hardware store.