Whether it’s a salad spinner or a vegetable peeler, chances are your kitchen has at least one product from OXO — a brand that actually engineers and designs its own housewares goods, and has inspired broad devotion because of it. Slate’s Dan Kois visits the company’s New York headquarters for a piece that straddles the line between process deep-dive and corporate profile. Not all garlic press is good garlic press, after all.
Down on the mezzanine level of its giant warehouse building, OXO maintains a torture chamber for kitchenware, a workshop to fulfill the company’s need for incessant product testing. The room is filled with handmade cycle-testing rigs: soldered-together robots, run off Raspberry Pis, that endlessly push and prod and spin OXO products to see what it takes to make them break. The robot that tests salad spinners, for example, pushes down the plunger 200,000 times. “Sometimes,” Mor said, “you can’t make a robot to test something, so you just have to bring in temps for a week to, like, open wine bottles.”