Viking Range Corporation was founded byFred
a fourth generation building contractor, as a speculative
venture aimed at developing the first commercial-type range
specifically designed, engineered and certified for home use.
The idea of developing a commercial-type range for home use
resulted from Carl noticing the increasing use of commercial
ranges in residential kitchens during the late 1970s.
Recognizing the need for such a product became even more
apparent when Carl was designing and building his new home in
1980. The typical stainless steel restaurant range strongly
appealed to Carl and his wife wanted a heavy-duty, classic
looking range like her mother's old Chambers, which had long
been out of production.
As he considered the possibility of using a standard commercial
range in their home, Carl became convinced that restaurant
ranges were definitely not designed for home use. Among the
numerous disadvantages which made those undesirable and
impractical for installation in a residential kitchen were: high
heat output and extremely hot surface temperatures, no safety
features, excessive energy consumption, constantly burning
standing pilot instead of automatic ignition, no broiling in the
oven, and dimensions which were not designed for typical
Carl became convinced that the ideal solution would be a hybrid
range that would combine the most desirable features of both a
commercial range and the old Chambers range his wife so badly
wanted. This left him with a dilemma - he realized both he and
his wife wanted something that didn't exist. But he also saw
this as an opportunity. If no one was making such a product, why
shouldn't he? So he decided to pursue the idea of creating the
world's first heavy duty, commercial-type range for the home.
Carl first conducted a thorough design analysis to identify all
the advantages and disadvantages of commercial ranges. 1n 1981
and 1982, while operating his design/build construction company,
he used any spare time he had to prepare conceptual drawings and
developed detailed specifications which eliminated all the
shortcomings of a commercial range for home use while including
all their advantages. High performance cooking, large capacity,
heavy duty construction and professional styling were all key
elements of his design. Carl then added all the desirable
features of a high-end residential range, such as automatic
ignition, in-the-oven broiling, convenient controls, ample
insulation to decrease exterior temperatures and heat output
into the kitchen, standard widths and depths to accommodate
typical residential cabinetry, and various other functional and
cosmetic improvements. To achieve the look of the old Chambers,
he included the option of a brilliant white finish in his
In preparation for taking his product to market, Carl then began
establishing the business structure of the venture. In late
1983, with the assistance of a local advertising agency, he
named the new company and its product "
Carl incorporated Viking Range Corporation on March 22, 1984.
The challenge of pioneering and developing the very first
commercial-type range for the home had officially begun.
Carl began presenting his drawings and specifications to various
commercial range manufacturers, seeking a partner that would aid
him in developing and producing a commercial-type range for home
use. After being turned down by virtually every major restaurant
range manufacturer in the industry, Carl ultimately persuaded a
southern California company to assist him with the engineering
and to carry out the manufacturing of the first Viking range.
The engineering and certification process of the first Viking
range spanned a period of more than three years. Being a hybrid
of both commercial and residential equipment, Carl's Viking
range was the first such range to ever be submitted to the
American Gas Association laboratories for certification.
Because no such product had ever existed or been tested, AGA
approval involved over a year of extensive testing and
evaluation, including the creation of several new testing
criteria. AGA certification was finally obtained in late 1986,
and 20 test and sample units were produced in October and
November of that year. Normal production of the world's first
commercial-type range for home use finally began in January,
The unanticipated volume and growth experienced by Viking
quickly overwhelmed the capacity and capabilities of the
California manufacturer and production was subsequently moved to
a household appliance manufacturer in eastern Tennessee that was
more accustomed to larger volumes. Although this company
provided some degree of improvement, various problems and
challenges persisted which were beyond Carl's control and he
knew another change had to be made.
Therefore, in October of 1989, Viking began preparations for
manufacturing its own product line in Carl's hometown of
Greenwood, Mississippi, located in the historic Mississippi
Delta. By February of 1990, the first Viking-produced range top
went into production. Production of the 48-inch range followed
in April, and by July 1990, all models were in production in
Greenwood. For the first time Viking assumed full responsibility
for the in-house manufacture of its own product line.
In July 1992, Stephens Inc., a Little Rock, Arkansas, investment
banking firm (
made a major equity investment in Viking Range Corporation.
Carl's new partnership with Stephens allowed Viking to
accelerate its rapid growth and to further expand its product
line and manufacturing capabilities to keep pace with the
increasing demand for its high quality products.
The original Viking manufacturing facility in Greenwood was
located in a 35,000 sq. ft. former distribution warehouse (which
had been built by Carl's father in the 1950's) and served the
company's needs for about two years. However, increased volume
and the addition of new products soon stretched the capacity of
this small manufacturing facility. In 1992, the decision was
made to move to a larger 100,000 sq. ft. plant to accommodate
the continued growth of the company. This facility, located on
what is now Viking Road, has been enlarged several times in the
past few years to approximately 240,000 sq. ft. and is now the
Viking cooking products manufacturing plant.
In 1986, the Viking corporate offices were moved from Carl's
cramped construction company office to a partially renovated
building on the bank of the Yazoo River in the historic Cotton
Row District of downtown Greenwood. As the company continued to
grow, Carl expanded his offices within this building and soon
filled it. Committed to staying in downtown Greenwood, he then
began buying adjoining buildings to house the growing company.
The Viking corporate headquarters now consists of a collection
of historic buildings totaling over 50,000 square feet. All of
the downtown buildings are original structures of the late 1800s
and early 1900s, and several have received historic preservation
awards from the Mississippi Heritage Trust as well as the
National Trust for Historic Preservation Award for commercial
Due to the rapid growth of Viking, keeping up with its
facilities needs has been a major challenge. In late 1997, an
entirely new plant, now consisting of 90,000 sq. ft., was
constructed just outside the western city limits of Greenwood to
produce Viking ventilation hoods and certain other specialty
products. A third manufacturing facility, the Viking
refrigeration products plant, was acquired and totally renovated
in 2000. This 143,000 sq. ft. facility, located adjacent to the
cooking products manufacturing facility, produces Viking
built-in refrigerators and wine storage units. In order to
efficiently handle distribution of its ever-expanding product
line, Viking also built a distribution center in 2000 and then
expanded the building in 2002 for a total of over 80,000 sq. ft.
The Viking dishwasher products manufacturing plant was completed
in 2006. This facility totals over 87,000 sq. ft. of
manufacturing space. Also in 2006, the Viking product support
center was opened in Greenwood to house the Viking service parts
and customer assurance department, comprised of service parts
distribution, service call center, warranty administration, and
technical support staffs. Viking also opened a new tool & die
facility with over 10,000 square feet in 2007. The current
square footage of all Viking production and distribution
facilities in Greenwood is more than 600,000 square feet.
Viking has continued its aggressive new product development
initiatives and has expanded its product offerings to encompass
the entire kitchen, both indoors and outdoors. In addition to
freestanding ranges and ventilation hoods, the current Viking
product line includes built-in range tops and cooktops, built-in
ovens, warming drawers, dishwashers, trash compactors, food
waste disposers, refrigerators, freezers, wine cellars, and an
entire line of outdoor products including grills, ovens,
refrigeration and stainless steel cabinetry.
Viking sells its major appliance products through 13 residential
appliance distributors covering all 50 states and Canada, and
these distributors sell to authorized Viking dealers in their
territories. In addition, Viking-Europe headquartered in
Strasbourg, France, and Viking-Asia in Bangkok, Thailand, now
serve 50 international distributors who handle Viking
international sales throughout the world. Viking products are
now found in more than 80 countries worldwide. The Viking
network of independent distributors is regarded as one of the
strongest in the major appliance industry.
In 2002, Viking Range Corporation moved into a new market
category of premium culinary products (www.vikingrange.com) which
has grown to include cookware, cutlery, stand mixers, blenders,
toasters, food processors, and hand blenders. The culinary
products line continues to expand and is distributed directly to
gourmet shop retailers throughout the USA.
Viking considers itself not only a major appliance manufacturer,
but a culinary company involved in all aspects of the kitchen
and the world of food and wine - The Viking Life. Through
cooking classes, gourmet events and online instruction, the
Viking Life makes the savory world of Viking tangible.