Back in Style
In April 1982, Morphy Richards was sold for £5 million to Capital for Industry. CFI was a holding company owned by the Throgmorton Trust and decided to market Morphy Richards alongside Carmen, another of its acquisitions. And, despite recent hardships, the two companies managed a combined turnover of £30 million.
By 1983, joint brochures for Morphy Richards and Carmen showed a new awareness of contemporary style. Terracotta coloured irons formed the budget range, while the 'Continental' range was styled in white with brown handles and orange control buttons. Travel models came in fabric pouches, while toasters came in Wheatfield and Springfield patterns.
Innovation was back at the forefront, too. The company marketed radio cassettes and portable TVs, as well as the 'Snack Bar', which offered " a whole lot more than your average sandwich toaster".
The Recovery Continues
The resurgence in style was matched by an upgrading of Morphy Richards’ production facilities. £5 million was pumped into the Mexborough plant and the workforce was increased to over 400, with 200 seasonal workers.
The renewed expansion continued with the creation of an international division in September 1983.
A New Dawn with Glen Dimplex
In 1985, further recovery came after another take-over, Glen Dimplex, founded and run by Martin Naughton, had been operating since 1973. By 1987, they had a workforce of 5,000 and boasted an annual turnover of £300 million. Morphy Richards found itself alongside Glen Electric, Dimplex, Hamilton Beach, Burco Maxol, Blanella, Chilton and others.
If there was anyone ideally suited to take charge of Morphy Richards it was Glen Dimplex. A leading worldwide manufacturer of electric heating and small domestic appliances, that work to the highest standards of quality, safety, efficiency and design. Inevitably, this combination of modern technology and fresh thinking was to take Morphy Richards into a new dimension.
The Irish group continued with the existing redevelopment scheme, while their designers set about upgrading the product range. And in 1986, brand new offices and production facilities were formally opened by HRH the Duchess of Kent.
Smooth Style and Solid Sales
Just like the Ideal Homes Exhibitions of the ‘50s, Morphy Richards caused a stir when its new food processors and coffee makers were unveiled at the 1988 Domotechnica Exhibition. Dr Mike Morecroft headed the team behind these cutting edge designs. Ironically, he once worked for Russel Hobbs, a company founded in 1952 by two former employees of Donal Morphy and Charles Richards.
By the end of the ‘80s, all products were thriving. Exports of irons doubled between 1986 and ’87, and the UK range comprised and incredible 14 different models. Cordless kettles accounted for 6% of jug sales in 1987, but were expected to treble the following year. The Morphy Richards model even featured a unique dual water gauge to suit both left and right handed users.