If you are interested in cookware, you should know the names of the two largest cookware companies in the world: Groupe SEB (France) and Meyer Corporation (Hong Kong).
There are already very comprehensive articles about Meyer Corporation out there, such as this article at SFGate.com.
– In the 1960s, an aluminum factory owner in Hong Kong sent his son, Stanley K. Cheng, to the U.S. for college. Cheng returned home and converted the family’s aluminum production from cheap things like ashtrays and flashlights into cookware by the early 1970s. This aluminum business would become Meyer Corporation.
– In the 1970s, Cheng hitched his company’s fortunes to Teflon nonstick (PTFE), a slippery substance that made cooking and cleanup easy because food would not stick to it, and discovered that bonding Teflon to anodized aluminum was more effective than bonding it to regular aluminum alloy. Cheng also discovered that the addition of circular grooves helped keep Teflon in place and therefore prolonged the life of Teflon-coated pans. Teflon proved to be a smash hit with consumers, and Cheng’s company located hits U.S. headquarters to Vallejo, California.
– Today, Meyer is a multinational kitchenware manufacturer with production facilities in China, Thailand, and Italy. Meyer’s factories produce cookware under its own brands (Anolon, Circulon, BonJour, Earth Pan, etc.) and also produces for Farberware, Cake Boss, KitchenAid, Paula Deen, and Rachael Ray under license by the owners of those brand names. Meyer also makes lots of store brands. Meyer nearly won the bidding war for All-Clad in 2000s.
– Chances are, if you see a store brand, the actual manufacturer of the cookware is Meyer–especially if it says “Made in Thailand.” And chances are, if cookware has a celebrity chef’s name on it (other than Emeril, whose cookware is produced in China by All-Clad); there few businesses are willing and able to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into the fixed costs of manufacturing facilities. Meyer has so many brands under its belt that it is able to assume that risk, because if one brand flounders, then Meyer can make more of some other brand.
– Cheng is a winemaking enthusiast; his “Hestan” vineyard gets its name from combining letters from Stanley’s first name and his wife Helen’s first name.
– Meyer has annual warehouse sales in Vallejo and Fairfield, California, two cities that are near San Francisco and Sacramento, respectively. I went to the factory outlet sale; here is my quick writeup of the experience.