Three cookware salesmen from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, got together during the waning years of the Great Depression and cooked up an idea for a new, superior type of pan.
Glen Slough, Eddie Durwachter and Win Cook formed their new company in 1939 and named it Vita Craft, a nod to both the cookware’s design and the craftsmanship inherent in each item the company manufactures. Pots and pans are designed, so vitamins and minerals aren’t lost during cooking, and high-quality American craftsmanship is a hallmark of every product.
More than 80 years later, Vita Craft, now based in Shawnee, Kansas, is still combining integrity, attention to detail and craftsmanship with the latest in cookware innovation. From induction cooking to RFIQ technology, Vita Craft doesn’t hesitate to introduce cutting edge innovations while keeping a focus on manufacturing quality and precision.
Vita Craft president Gary Martin, who’s been with the company 26 years, said, “I refuse to make a cheap pan.”
All the company’s products start with a flat disc featuring multiple layers of aluminum bonded between two sheets of stainless steel. Other features include burn-safe knobs and finger guards; long, heat-dissipating handles without rivets or rolled edges; warp-resistant bottoms; and heavy, vapor-sealed lids that trap the food’s natural juices.
Martin attributes Vita Craft’s enduring success to its people. “The people are your best asset. The people are the company. Other than that, you just have a building and machines. We take pride in our craftsmanship and our workmanship.”
The company’s 10,000-square-foot building houses original equipment. Martin said, “You’ll see mechanical presses and you’ll see hydraulic presses. They go back to the beginning. It’s really something to watch, that old equipment with the moving arms and the noises and the clanks and the clunks and the grease. But they still put it out.”
And just as Vita Craft’s presses seem to have lasted a lifetime, the pots and pans are guaranteed to last a lifetime too. The lifetime warranty covers repairs and replacement. If the company can’t fix the piece, they send a new one to the customer. Martin said, “I have people bring me cookware all the time saying, ‘I can’t find my receipt or my paperwork.’ If it’s Vita Craft cookware, I’ll take care of it.”
As the company celebrates 80 years, Martin isn’t content to rely on what’s worked in the past to carry Vita Craft into the future. “We are continuing to reinvent ourselves and to reinvent a product,” he said.
Martin said he is also looking for ways to expand from the direct sales model that carried the company for so many years. Vita Craft now makes a line of cookware for TV chef Tyler Florence, and the company is exploring private label and retail avenues.
Something that will never change? Dedication to craftsmanship and the focus on the person using the pots and pans.
“Cooking is family,” said Martin. “It’s about life. And it’s more than just pots and pans. It’s personal. It’s very personal.”