Nordic Ware is one of St. Louis Park’s
oldest and most successful businesses. Of special interest
to the City is the company’s proximity to the last viable
roadside park on Highway 100. It is an active member of the
group that worked to preserve this historic site, and
voluntarily maintains the site in the summer. The importance
of Nordic Ware to our community cannot be understated.
The company now known as Nordic Ware was founded by
brothers Dave and Mark Dalquist and friend Donald Nygren in
1946. Their first business, capitalized with only $500, was
called “Plastics for Industry,” and was headquartered in
Mark’s basement in Minneapolis. They quickly outgrew this
and then another space, and bought a 40 ft. lot in St. Louis
Park. The lot was one of several at that location, and had a
history of its own: apparently a man had inherited the
property, but his accountant failed to pay the taxes, so it
went up for auction. A former mayor of St. Louis Park bought
the lots, and the company bought its first lot from him.
They erected a small concrete building, beginning the Nordic
Ware campus of buildings. The story is that there was no
water along Highway 7 at the time, and they had to melt snow
to make mortar. They moved into the building in the spring
The space grew exponentially, and now covers the entire
frontage on the northeast corner of Highways 100 and 7. One
of the properties they acquired was a lumber yard, and on
that space stood the old Peavy grain elevator, built in
1900. Nordic Ware replaced the words “Lumber Stores” from the
tower and replaced it with its own Viking symbol, easily
recognized today. Another parcel was once part of the Robin
Hood Flour grain elevator, acquired when it was torn down in
1968. See Grain Elevators
for more information and pictures.
By 1948 their focus was changing to the products that they
are best known for: cast aluminum bakeware and specialty
kitchenware. Some of the first products included the
krumkake iron and the rosette, ebleskiver, and platte pans.
Maid of Scandinavia was set up to market these products by
In 1949, the company bought out Northland Aluminum Products
and the term “Nordic Ware” from Leonard Nordquist, and has
been known as Nordic Ware ever since. Maid of Scandinavia
began as a division of Northland Aluminum. In 1962, the
company bought Northland Color Anodizing Co. (later
Northland Metal Finishes), and purchased additional property
from the Renner Well Co.
Maid of Scandinavia and Nordic Ware became separate entities
in 1963. Nordic Ware was focused on manufacturing, while
Maid of Scandinavia was strictly a mail order operation. Up
to that time, the two entities operated as a business
partnership and shared facilities. In 1963, Maid of
Scandinavia had a retail display room at 3245 Raleigh Ave.
So. (not an address today)
In 1964, Northland became one of the original 10-20
companies licensed by Dupont to use Teflon, and by the
1990's it developed non-stick coatings that were used in
medicine, computers, and even aerospace.
In 1966, the company’s signature Bundt pan was used in a
winning entry in the Pillsbury Bake-Off, and the popularity
of the pan soared. David Dalquist had created the pan in
1950 based on the specifications of two Jewish women from
the Minneapolis chapter of Hadassah, who wanted to make an
old-world (German) bund cake. Bund meant “a gathering of
people,” but other connotations led to changing the name to
Bundt. The pan was only mildly successful until1966, when
the Tunnel of Fudge cake, made with a Bundt pan, won the
Texas Bake-Off. Bundt pans gave Nordic Ware the visibility
it enjoys today, and the company has sold over 40 million of
them. Starting in 1971, Pillsbury made cake mixes
specifically formulated for the Bundt pan. Nordic Ware could
hardly keep up with the demand for pans.
On March 12, 1971, the company held a banquet to commemorate
its 25th anniversary. Local television personality Stuart A.
Lindman emceed the event, and guests included Mayor Ken
Wolfe, who had printed their first catalog.
In 1978, the company successfully manufactured the
Micro-go-Round, a carousel used in the days before
microwaves had built-in turning devices.
For an in-depth look at Nordic Ware's history, see the book
The Nordic Ware Saga, An Entrepreneur's Legacy, by H. David Dalquist.
Founder H. David Dalquist was born @ 1917 and was a
metallurgical engineer for US Steel in Duluth. He partnered
with his brother Mark after serving in the Navy during WWII.
He lived in Edina for over 50 years, and died on January 2,
2005. His son H. David Dalquist III, born in 1949, has run the
business for many years.
See also the article in the March 2007 issue of the
From cookbook courtesy Timothy Layeux
5051 Building in 1973