In 1873, the fledging company John Michael Kohler founded in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, was viewed as a modest foundry and machine shop. Yet John Michael saw more. He saw the potential to create something of lasting value; a company with permanence built on quality and craftsmanship that would improve the quality of life for the people who used his products.
The firm initially produced cast iron plowshares and other agricultural equipment for area farmers, as well as decorative furniture, hitching posts, and ornamental iron castings.
In 1883, Kohler took a product in his line, heated it to 1700° F and sprinkled it with enamel powder. Placing a picture of it in his catalog, he called it “a horse trough/hog scalder… when furnished with four legs will serve as a bathtub.” The innovative idea marked the company’s initial introduction into the plumbing business; a first step in its journey to industry dominance
In 1943, Westye F. Bakke built the first freestanding freezer in the basement of his Madison, Wis., home. A businessman with a keen ability to anticipate post-World War II refrigeration trends, he founded Sub-Zero Freezer Company just two years later in an old two-car garage. From its modest beginnings, Sub-Zero has become what it is today: the recognized leading manufacturer of premium built-in home refrigerators.
Since its founding, Sub-Zero has pioneered quality products that meet its customers needs. In the mid-1950s, for example, the company developed the built-in refrigerator – a unit that changed the future of kitchen design by fitting within surrounding counter and cabinet space. Over time, the company has refined its early concept and has brought to market a comprehensive line of built-in models, including the 200 Series of undercounter models, its award-winning 500 Series, the design-flexible 600 Series, the integrated 700 Series, and, most recently, the state-of-the-art 400 Series of wine storage.
Unique to Sub-Zero and indicative of the company’s innovative engineering is its dual refrigeration system, which relies on two separate, self-contained cooling systems to keep fresh food fresher and preserve frozen food longer. Sub-Zero is the only refrigeration company to offer dual refrigeration.
Not long ago, we took an informal survey of some of our fellow cooking enthusiasts. “Why,” we asked, “do you cook?” To be in control, answered one. To share something of myself with my family and friends, said another. To “travel” through interesting ingredients and recipes, still another answered.
Later, it hit us. No one even mentioned that most basic of reasons to cook: to have something to eat. For some people, it seems, cooking satisfies a hunger much deeper than mere physical appetite. It’s for these people that we design and build Wolf cooking instruments.
To be honest, we build them for ourselves too. For one thing, we’re a company of passionate cooks. For another, we’re part of the company that makes Sub-Zero luxury refrigeration and wine storage equipment. Bring those factors together – a passion for cooking and an insistence on supremely well-made equipment – and you find that we’re a little like the novelist who said, “I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read, so I had to write it.” With us, it’s “We couldn’t find anything to cook with, so we had to build it.”
When Carrier was getting its start back in the early 1900s, women were pretty much restricted to the roles of homemaker, mother and wife. World War II marked the greatest change in the role of women in the workforce. But Carrier was ahead of its time on this social topic. Margaret Ingels joined Carrier as an engineer in 1917, right around the time that the decision to allow U.S. women the right to vote was being debated by lawmakers.
Even today, the field of engineering is generally thought of first as a “man’s world.” But Margaret Ingles and the 32 years she spent in the mechanical engineering field disproved this myth. As America’s “first woman air conditioning engineer” she was the subject of several articles in national magazines and served on President Herbert Hoover’s Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership in the late-1920s.