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Samuel Farber, developer of kitchen utensils, dies at 88

June 22, 2013 at 12:35 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, June 22 (UPI) -- Sam Farber, who created several companies and revolutionized kitchen utensils, has died in New York, his family said. He was 88.

Farber's son, John Farber, with whom he started Oxo Utensils, said his father died from complications after a fall, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Sam Farber came from a family with established ties to kitchen products. An uncle, Simon Farber, founded appliance and cookware company Farberware in 1900. His Father, Louis Farber, was a founder of Farber Brothers, which specialized in serving ware, the Times said.

Oxo Utensils was begun in the late 1980s, after Sam Farber had supposedly retired. He had already created (in 1960) run, and sold (in 1982) Copco, a company that made enamel-coated, cast-iron cookware.

A vegetable peeler brought Sam Farber out of retirement.

It began when his, Betsey, struggled to peel apples with a difficult to grasp devise, while the couple were in the south of France, where the couple had rented a home. Sam Farber and his son John soon thereafter enlisted the help of a New York industrial design company, Smart Design.

They created kitchen utensils with plastic-coated black handles that were expensive compared to rival products on the market. But many consumers readily paid more for the comfort of using Oxo Utensil products.

The Farbers sold Oxo -- now owned by Helen of Troy -- to General Housewares Corporation in 1992. Sam Farber and his son then turned to their talents to creating kitchen products for celebrity chef Mario Batali.

Sam Farber was born in New York in 1924. He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II and was deployed in Turkey and North Africa.

He graduated from Harvard with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1946.

He later became an art collector and a board member of the American Folk Art Museum in New York.

"It's hard to think of a vegetable peeler as radical. But I guess it was," he said in an interview in 2000.

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