Rangemaster's history traces back almost two hundred years, the following text is from the Rangemaster website:
"The Rangemaster story begins in 1777 (when the United States of America had only been independent of Great Britain for one year) with the enterprising John Flavel. He started a foundry specialising first in "vapour baths" inspired by the spas of Leamington; then moving into cooking appliances.
In 1803 the operation first moved to Leamington Spa where generations of the Flavel family were to become civic leaders in the town and the factory became a major local employer.
The mighty Eagle Foundry was then built in 1833. On what is now the press shop area of the current Leamington site. In 1859 it was described as "the largest manufactory of it's kind in the world". The new foundry enabled John's son, William, to expand and develop his epoch-making 1830 invention, the 'Kitchener' range cooker.
Manufactured in cast iron and heated by solid fuel, the 'Kitchener' could be used to boil, roast, bake and warm, all from the same heat source. It was hailed as one of the greatest domestic institutions of the 19th Century.
Rangemaster KitchenerThe Kitchener A contemporary advertisement at the time described it as: "the most ready means of performing in the best manner, either separately or at the same time, all the operations of cooking with only one fire, and that an open one, which may be of any size to suit the kitchen of the smallest cottage, or the largest mansion or hotel.... its arrangement is so simple, in every department of the culinary process, that servants cannot easily disorder or mismanage it."
Its status was unquestioned from Queen Victoria to Edward VII, the King of Italy and the Emperor of Germany - all had "Kitchener" stove. And for all the lords and ladies of the land, it was not just a status symbol but part of the way of life as Aga was later to become.
In 1851, Sidney Flavel exhibited the "Kitchener" at the Great Exhibition held at Crystal Palace. The exhibition was attended by some 19,000 companies and it demonstrated the supremacy of British manufacturing at that time. Only 17 gold prize medals with special approbations were awarded and one such medal went to the "Kitchener".
The "Kitchener" was shown to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, who visited the exhibition with her aunt, the Duchess of Gloucester. The Duchess ordered a "Kitchener" for Kensington Palace.
Between 1851 and 1905 the "Kitchener" won many more awards and gold medals throughout the world. As the Victorian era wore on, the "Kitchener" went from strength to strength.
Production LineFollowing the First World War, developments in gas and electricity paved the way for the next generation of cookers. Much of the historic cast iron technology was adopted by Rangemaster's sister company Aga, passing to Alastair Darby's foundry at Coalbrookedale, where Aga and Rayburns have been made since 1946.
Sidney Flavel remained at the forefront in cooker styling and technology. The tradition of Sidney Flavel for innovation remained. Many of the developments of modern day domestic cooker technology have their origins in the development laboratories of Royal Leamington Spa. For instance, we were the first to offer colour shaded cookers, the first dual fuel cooker and the fold away grill all came from the laboratories at Leamington.
It was, however, in 1995 that an initiative was made which has created today's Rangemaster. We lo oked to our style roots and the comfortable, English country lifestyle and moved away from mass production launching the double oven cooker, the Rangemaster 110. A chord was struck immediately with our customers and a whole new market segment was created.
During the late 1990s the 110 became the key product line for the company. The links with its growing sister company, Aga-Rayburn, in Coalbrookdale increased as the focus was placed on style and cooking excellence
Rangemaster EliteIn 2002 the initiative was taken to concentrate the business on range cooking. Rangemaster's parent, the Aga Foodservice Group, backed the decision to transform the Royal Leamington Spa site into a centre of excellence for range cooking. Mass production product lines and brands were sold and Rangemaster took back the mantle of being a premium brand cooker company.
£3 million investment programme has seen the factory enhanced and a programme undertaken to modernise the site making it a worthy descendent of Sidney Flavel's Eagle foundry development. Rangemaster now has a state of the art R & D facility which is seeing not only new products being brought to market, but ranges developed to meet the particular requirements of the European and North American markets. In addition, we have consolidated our links with the cast iron tradition of the "Kitchener" and Aga, now having cast iron pan supports made at Coalbrookdale.
We continue to innovate and develop market-leading products including ranges and built-in cookers and have widened our portfolio to include sinks, taps, wine coolers and ice-makers."
Don't expect cheap but do expect good.
Rangemaster cookers are fantastic cookers, very well built and other than the odd failure of a flame failure device they pretty much don't break. These cookers are far, far better than some of the cheap alternatives supplied by the electrical chains but then with AGA and Falcon in the group we would expect something that little bit better and they are better.
Make no mistake, Rangemaster cookers are not the best built, that title went to Mercury until AGA Rangemaster bought then in 2009 and Viking or Wolf without spending the thick end of £30,000 on La Cornue, but they are in the segment vastly superior to many. If you are teetering on whether to buy a Stoves, Belling or suchlike against a Rangemaster we'd suggest the Rangemaster every time.
Current service arrangements for Rangemaster cookers are a bit odd in all honesty and seem to be split down three different paths. That said, the vast majority of service is by independent repairers and the service levels seem to be very good. Service has been routed through ISDAL in the past before they went bust, JTM / 0800 Repair and also through repaircare and direct AGA engineers.
Almost all of the independent repair companies that work on cookers listed in our engineer search will happily repair a Rangemaster cooker for you, often for a lot lower cost than the official service.
Spares can be a bit pricey but only on occasion as most of the common spare parts used on Rangemaster appear very reasonably priced. Also, Rangemaster spare parts are very easy to get and you won't need too many usually. Other than flame failure devices, fan oven elements and the odd grill element along with a few other almost consumable items, the usage seems pretty low on spares.
Do however watch for low quality copy parts as since Rangemaster (very sensibly in our opinion) keep a lot of parts the same for range after range, there are a number of copycat parts out there and some of them really aren't very good. With most of the genuine spares being so sensibly priced we don't really see the point of selling the inferior copies.
The main section for Rangemaster cooker spares can be found here from this link
Of course we can source Rangemaster spare parts on request although gas spares will only be supplied on production of a valid Gas Safe card.
All in all a good buy in our opinion and, it's even British for a change.