In 1892, a 33-year-old cabinet maker named Friedemir Poggenpohl opened his own workshop and an adjoining furniture store in Bielefeld, Germany, focusing on kitchen cabinetry. Uniquely, he produced kitchen cabinets not only in wood, but in a white lacquered finish. (Various websites also cite that Poggenpohl was focused on ergonomics and produced "storage innovations," though no one lists concrete examples of what they were.)
What Poggenpohl accomplished that Taylor, Beecher and Schütte-Lihotzky—despite their greatness—did not, was to set up an enduring company in his own name that would continue to advance kitchen design long after his death. In 1923 Poggenpohl produced "The Ideal," a large free-standing cabinet that was reportedly licensed by Wasmuth-Endicott Indiana, a now-defunct American company that produced Hoosier Cabinets, with their adaptation being branded the Kitchen Maid.
"Kitchen Maid cabinets were known for their thoughtful touches like concealed hinges, rounded inside corners and flat doors for easier cleaning," says website Kitchen Cabinets Design. Poggenpohl's company in Germany had begun to influence American kitchens.
Poggenpohl himself died one year after the 1923 release of "The Ideal," but as we shall see, his company continued to innovate and leave even bolder stamps on the kitchen designs of today. Stay tuned for Part 6 to see how.