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Material: stainless steel, maple wood
Brand: John Boos
Conrad Boos founded this kitchen-products company — named after his son, John — in Effingham, Illinois, in 1887. A blacksmith by trade, Conrad preferred to straighten horseshoes on sycamore tree blocks that he had a local mill create, as he found the wood absorbed the shock of his hammer. The town butcher noticed this innovation and asked for a similar block for his meat market. Thus farriery gave way to food service, and now John Boos makes kitchen supplies for chefs like Charlie Trotter and Food Network stars Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse. Butcher blocks are still on the menu, but the company also offers cutting boards, carts, compartment sinks and bar stools in food service-grade stainless steel and, where appropriate, northern hard rock maple.