I often speak of companies that keep a culinary tool writer busy and Smith’s Consumer Products is on that list. I am an admitted fanboy of their products, but not without good reason. Based on recent developments, they will now be known as KitchenIQ; more on that in a moment.
Located in the hills outside Hot Springs, Arkansas, Smith’s was founded in 1886 by company president, Richard Smith’s, great-grandfather, James Archer Smith. Widely regarded as a world leader for sharpening tools since 1886, Smith’s lays claim to the design and manufacture of the broadest line of knife and scissor sharpeners currently available. The company’s product offering includes both manual and electrical sharpeners ranging from the very simple to the sophisticated. It incorporates a wide variety of abrasive materials including diamond, carbide, ceramic, bonded synthetic abrasives and natural Arkansas stones.
Smith’s Consumer Products, Inc. has introduced its new housewares brand name KitchenIQ™, known formerly as Edgeware.
“The KitchenIQ brand highlights our long-standing reputation for Innovation and Quality and clearly reflects our commitment to producing superior products that are smart for the kitchen,” said Dan Glidden, CEO, Smith’s Consumer Products. “KitchenIQ confirms to consumers that they are making a smart decision in buying our products and we look forward to building on our 127 year heritage under this vibrant new brand name.”
The name change comes on the heels of the recent decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the Edgeware trademark registrations.
“While we strongly disagree with this decision, and it does not require us to make an immediate name change, we believe it’s best to keep our energy focused on providing our customers with the innovation, quality and value they have come to expect from Smith’s,” continued Glidden.
As they say, “A rose by any other name…”
Aside from big name change news for KitchenIQ, some of their most popular news in 2013 actually points back to 2012 and their ground breaking adjustable angle sharpeners. This year both the electric and manual version of the adjustable angle sharpener won awards.
The Electric Angle Adjust won the 2013 Housewares Design Award in the ‘Countertop Food Prep Appliances’ category.
KitchenIQ Angle Adjust Electric Knife Sharpener is the first adjustable electric knife sharpener of its kind. The Angle Adjust knob automatically adjusts both the coarse and fine interlocking wheels to the correct sharpening angle, ranging from 10 to 30 degrees per side, and sharpens both sides of the knife simultaneously. The unit works for most types of Asian, European and American double beveled straight edge knives. From the moment I saw this sharpener at a housewares show last year, I knew it would be a game changer.
The similarly designed manual version impressed the 37-member jury of experts for the prestigious 2013 red dot award for “product design.” The jury members received 4,662 entries in 19 different categories at this year’s competition. Only the best designs were able to win the enthusiasm of the jury, which is exactly what the KitchenIQ Angle Adjust Manual Knife Sharpener did. Both sharpeners were designed by Carter McGuyer and the Carter McGuyer Design Group, Inc. of Tuscumbia, AL.
Not the type of company to rest on their laurels, KitchenIQ introduced some interesting new products this year starting with the tool that caught my eye immediately, the Pizza Wheel Sharpener.
Pizza Wheel Sharpener
Regular readers know I love making pizza at home. If you make pizza at home, you know that a good pizza cutter is very important. Like any cutting tool a pizza wheel can dull with repeated use and, let’s face it, sometimes abuse.
In a previous article about pizza cutters, I mentioned that you don’t want your pizza cutter as sharp as your chef or kitchen knife and I stand by that statement. However, having owned the same steel pizza cutter for more than a few years, I have noticed a drop off in effectiveness and was wondering if it was time for a new cutter.
This Pizza Wheel Sharpener might just be the answer to my problem. It has ceramic sharpening rods that realign and polish the edge of most pizza wheels. It couldn’t be easier to use, you simply roll the cutter through the sharpening stones a few times and you are done.
I used the sharpener KitchenIQ’s display booth at the Housewares Show in Chicago and it really was simple. If you own a pizza cutter with an exceptionally large wheel, you might have to run it through part of the way, then adjust the starting point and roll it through again.
It has a non-slip base that will keep the sharpener from moving or sliding while in use, making it fast and safe. Regular maintenance with this sharpener will prolong the life of a pizza/pastry wheel and while it will will reset the edge it won’t make it too sharp.
The KitchenIQ Pizza Wheel Sharpener is available at their website and at various bricks and mortar retailers for $14.99
While KitchenIQ is becoming known for their high quality hand-held rasps and zesters, they now offer the Box Grater. There are often debates about the usefulness of the box grater since the introduction of quality hand held graters, but I feel they are still relevant.
For the record I own an old basic steel style box grater but the new styles like this one from KitchenIQ really are a different beast.
The grater begins with new V-shaped etched teeth on extra coarse, coarse and zester (fine) blades. It includes a fourth blade element, a straight edge slicer which – unlike the one on my dinosaur box grater – actually slices.
Other upgrades in the modern box grater include a soft-touch handle, a non-slip base and an easy to slide container bottom. Long needed, one new feature is a clear side panel with measurement marks that identify how much has collected inside.
I can’t tell you how many times I have grated too much or too little trying to guess how much I’ve grated by looking in the narrow opening at the top.
The charcoal gray grater comes with a reusable plastic cover for safe storage, which you will appreciate because, trust me, this thing is sharp! It is available at Amazon for $29.99 and is available in a wide selection of retail outlets.
Last but not least is the Container Grater, which offers many of the feature functions of the upright box grater but in a more compact size. Container graters resemble a box grater turned on its side with an enclosed catch bin on the bottom except the blades are not fixed into the device walls but instead are interchangeable.
The KitchenIQ Container Grater includes 3 styles of V-etched stainless steel blades – extra coarse, coarse, fine – and a slicing blade. This selection of blade styles mean you can grate a wide variety of foods – soft cheese, hard cheese, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, cabbage, chocolates, or even spices.
The clear storage container has measurement markings on the side for accurate kitchen prep. The container has a no-slip bottom and the blade inserts have soft touch accents for safety and a secure grip.
It comes with a lid and when not in use, the compact blades will store inside the container so they won’t get lost or cut you while you reach inside a drawer.
Everything is dishwasher safe and it retails for $39.95 at Amazon and other retailers around the country.
KitchenIQ & Firewire
An interesting side note: Smith’s Consumer Products purchased the well known grilling tool company Firewire. The team at Firewire is famous for the flexible cable style grilling skewer that allows you to more effectively use the space on your grill. It will continue under the same name and retain its highly popular signature design.
**Note – You will likely continue to see Edgeware on many products for sale online and in stores. It will take some time to swap out the product brand already in warehouses.