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KEMPER stands for quality handcrafted ceramic tools. The Kemper story starts in 1947 when a friend asked Jack Kemper to make a tool for his class. Jack made his first ceramic tool in his garage in California. As you can guess, soon everyone wanted one of these tools. The first tool was functional and well constructed. However, Jack was just not satisfied and took his simple design and improved it with the intent of making it comfortable in the hand of the artist as well as a nice looking tool.
Interest became widespread as Jack’s reputation grew. Ceramists, sculptors and hobbyists turned to Jack for special tools. After studying tools from the early Romans, Jack was able to combine practical knowhow and a sense of design. A few of the tools we have bear a resemblance to those of olden days; however, most do not have predecessors. Under the tutelage of 96 year old mastercraftsman, Anthony Rigotty, Jack studied techniques in creating fine wood modeling tools. A short time later, Jack purchased the Anthony Rigotty Company and incorporated many of those designs and patterns into the Kemper product line.
Listening and responding to the needs of the artist, teacher, professional, and hobbyist alike, Jack’s ability to adapt to the forever changing field put Kemper on the map as the world’s largest manufacturer of quality ceramic art The company continued to grow, expanding throughout the United States and into twenty seven foreign countries. In the early seventies, Kemper MFG. moved to Chino, California. In 1981, Jack Kemper retired, selling the company to Kempers’ Vice President, Herb Stampfl. Herb, having originally started working at Kemper as an engineer, is the acting President, serves on organizational boards, and still has a hand in designing new tools and innovative products.