Kohler Co. has been leading the way in style and innovation since John Michael Kohler purchased an American cast iron and steel foundry in 1873. A decade later, he coated a cast iron horse trough with enamel to create the first KOHLER® bathtub — thus launching Kohler’s success story in plumbing and establishing our company’s vision for innovative design and craftsmanship. Our timeline of key developments:
1873 Kohler is co-founded by Austrian immigrant John Michael Kohler and Charles Silberzahn with the $5,000 purchase of the Sheboygan Union Iron and Steel Foundry from Kohler's father-in-law, Jacob Vollrath.
1883 Kohler makes the first cast iron bathtub is made from a horse trough and ornamental feet, marking the inception of our global plumbing company.
1911 KOHLER enameled bathtubs, sinks and kitchen sinks are launched.
1927 KOHLER is the first to introduce enameled bathtubs and vitreous china toilets and lavatories in matching pastel colors.
1929 KOHLER black plumbing fixtures are exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
2013 - 140 years later, KOHLER has become one of the world’s most familiar bathroom brands, with 45 factories around the world producing bathtubs, sinks, toilets, faucets and other sanitary products.
In Kohler Co.’s Wisconsin headquarters sits a 3,500-square meter Design Center where the most renowned American designers gather. Displaying imaginative and diverse use of form and color, their works offer stunning new classic designs for modern kitchens and bathrooms.
A singular level of exceptional quality is the guiding principle that has directed all that Kohler Co. has done over the last decades. KOHLER products reflect this heritage of excellence. Ground-breaking design, leading-edge technologies and renowned craftsmanship characterize our innovative kitchen and bath products, engines and generators, cabinetry and furniture. This foundational quality extends throughout all facets of the organization, including our world-class hospitality and resort destinations, customer service centers and all of our associates.
The KOHLER brand incorporates other leading brands such as Jacob Delafon and Sterling. As a diversified manufacturing company and leader in kitchen and bathroom products, KOHLER is also a pioneer in the field of furniture and power systems. Notable products include Baker high-end furniture, McGuire rattan furniture, Sanijura bathroom cabinets, Canac furniture, Robern bathroom cabinets, Ann Sacks tiles and Kallista toilet accessories.
As of June 1, 2015, the presidency of Kohler has been passed down from Herbert Kohler, Jr., grandson of the founder (born February 20, 1939), to son K. David Kohler. After four generations, we remain a highly successful family-owned company, with over 26,000 products, 13,000 patents to our name and with operations on six continents. KOHLER now includes a series of brands in four distinct businesses: Kitchen and Bath, Global Power, Interiors, Hospitality and Real Estate. Kohler Co. owns award-winning hotels, spas and restaurants in Kohler, Wisconsin, USA, as well as the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa on the world-famous Old Course golf course in St. Andrews, Scotland.