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When Bodum took over a small clarinet factory in Normandy in 1982, it was not because of the fine orchestra clarinets they were producing. In addition to musical instruments, the factory also produced the coffee of a relatively unknown brewer called "The Chambord." Bodum combined the skills of these Normandy craftsmen with modern production. The result was a unique culinary tool, affordable to the many who loved the taste of what we now know as French press coffee.
Thanks to Bodum, and thanks to the increasing need for better coffee, the French press coffeemaker has become one of the most popular in the world. Yet the design has not strayed a bit from the original drawings, and Bodum still makes the Chambord with the same painstaking care and knowledge they gained from those Normandy craftspeople years ago. The ease of brewing and the delicious smell and taste of French-roasted dark coffee have remained unchanged.
In 1944 Peter Bodum, the father of today's owner, Joergen Bodum, started Bodum in Copenhagen. Times were difficult at the end of World War II; there was hardly any trade and people were out of work. Peter Bodum managed to wholesale a very small variety of housewares products by Danish manufacturers.
After the war Peter Bodum got an import license for kitchen and tabletop products; he traveled all over Europe and ended up importing kitchen and housewares to Denmark. As in the rest of Europe in those days, a lack of products in Denmark meant a market existed for almost anything to be sold. He specialized in glassware from Eastern Europe.
In the '50s Peter Bodum started developing his own products. He collaborated with the Danish architect Kaas Klaeson for a range of coffeemakers. At the time, industrial-design-type kitchen products were very rare. The first Bodum product to hit the market in 1958 was the Santos coffeemaker--based on a vacuum coffee brewing system. It became an instant sensation not only in Denmark but in all of Europe. Bodum still produces the original Santos design to this very day.
Bodum grew steadily during the '60s, but sadly, in 1967, at the age of only 57, Peter Bodum passed away. His wife managed the company until 1974, when she offered her 26-year-old son Joergen to join her in the management of the company. Joergen quickly brought on board Carsten Joergensen--then a teacher at the Danish School of Art in Copenhagen--and soon put him in charge of overall design for Bodum, including everything from products to corporate design, exhibitions, shops, buildings, catalogs, and advertising. It turned out to be a very long and fruitful collaboration. The two men began to fulfill Bodum's credo--"good design doesn't have to be expensive"--in lots of different ways.
In 1974 the first fruit of Joergen and Carsten's collaboration was introduced: the French coffee press Bistro. It was also the first incorporation of the new Bodum design language--beautiful simplicity and excellent materials for everyday life. Many more variations of coffee presses followed. Since 1974 Bodum has produced over 50 million French presses, taken the leap from "coffee" to "kitchen," and developed and produced a large variety of beautiful household and tabletop designs.
In 1979, when he took over the company, Joergen Bodum decided to move to Switzerland in order to be more centrally located in Europe. He chose the Lucerne area, where Bodum's head office has been located since the early '80s.
In 1980 Bodum Switzerland and its design unit, Pi-Design, were founded. Then, in 1986, the opening of Bodum's first shop in London marked another milestone in the Bodum history. It was designed not only to be the perfect showcase for the large variety of Bodum products but to embody an even stronger presentation of Bodum as an international brand. Many more shops in many more cities all over the world followed: Paris, Copenhagen, Zurich, Lucerne, Tokyo, New York, Dallas, Okinawa, Auckland, and many more. To this day there are 52 Bodum stores worldwide.
With more and more of its own stores in place, Bodum continued broadening its collection of beautifully designed everyday life products--from kitchen to home. Today Bodum offers its customers everything from the latest coffee- and tea-making products to tabletop, kitchen, storage, textiles, bathroom, and home office products. Some stores also have a café where Bodum's own selection of coffees and teas are served.
The Bodum Group is, and always has been, a 100 percent family-owned business. Today the company operates in 14 different countries with over 700 employees worldwide. Bodum has holding companies in Denmark and Switzerland as well as 12 sales companies, 3 production companies, and a design company called Bodum Design Group, located in Switzerland.