In the 1850s, a German immigrant John Ringen began a tinshop in St. Louis, Missouri. His business prospered and in 1870 he took in a partner, George August Kahle, who had immigrated to America in 1867. The business sold housewares, washing machines and cooking stoves they called "quick meals". In 1881 George Kahle persuaded his brothers-in-law, Charles and Louis Stockstrom, to set up a shop to make stoves. These four principals then organized two corporations, the Ringen Stove Company and the Quick Meal Stove Company. Quick Meal manufactured the stoves with Ringen Stove handling the entire output of Quick Meal's production. The phenomenal growth of these two companies during the 1880s and 1890s led to the merger of eight other stove companies in St. Louis, Chicago and Cleveland in 1901 to form the American Stove Company.
American Stove introduced the first oven temperature control device in 1919, and in 1929 brought out the first brand name Magic Chef. The Magic Chef name became so popular in the minds of cooks worldwide that American Stove Company changed its name to Magic Chef, Inc. in 1951. The company was well known for its gas stoves, but attempts to spread the brand to other household appliances were unsuccessful. In 1957, it was merged with the Food Giant Markets of California. In 1958, it was sold to Dixie Products, a small stove company of Cleveland, Tennessee. By 1986, the company had become the 249th largest industrial company in the nation and it was sold to the Maytag Corporation. Whirlpool Corporation acquired Maytag Corporation in 2006.