Our Company History
As a family-owned business, Elkay has a history of manufacturing innovative products and delivering excellent customer service. From our simple beginnings on Chicago's north side to our present position as a supplier of complete products for commercial environments and the home, we have always remained focused on key objectives--designing our products and adapting our businesses to serve the changing needs of our customers.
Take a few moments to journey back with us to our beginnings and see how we have grown from a three person shop to an international company with over 4,000 employees!
Elkay Manufacturing is founded on January 26, 1920 in 2100 sq ft of rented space on Chicago's Near North Side. Founded by Leopold Katz (left), grandfather to our current Chairman of the Board, and his son, Louis, Elkay strives to make the best quality sinks and provide the best customer service. Elkay increases the number of employees from 3 to 7 in the first year and by 1927, our residential butler and pantry sinks become best sellers.
By 1930, Elkay has outgrown our location and makes the move to a larger manufacturing facility. In 1933, Elkay has grown to 18 employees and posts annual sales of $120,000. In 1935, we introduce our first stainless steel sink and by 1938, we become America's first mass producer of stainless steel sinks.
The challenges of World War II bring the opportunity for Elkay to participate in our country's war effort. In 1942, Elkay begins providing the armed forces with scullery and plumbing fixtures. We deliver over 23,000 sinks in less than 2 years. In 1945, we celebrate 25 years in business and in 1946 our post-war focus shifts to a booming residential market. In 1948, Elkay begins to die draw stainless steel bowls. This innovation cuts production costs in half and we soon become the nation's largest manufacturer of stainless steel residential sinks, a position we still maintain today.
Elkay continues its growth during the post-war boom refining automation processes installed in the late 40's. In 1957 Elkay becomes the world's largest manufacturer of stainless steel residential sinks.
Elkay's growth continues and in 1960, we break ground for a new plant in Broadview, Illinois. This site serves as Corporate Headquarters until 1979 and still functions as a main manufacturing facility today. In 1969, Elkay begins producing our own line of water coolers.
This decade further establishes Elkay as an innovator in our industry. In 1970, Elkay's three compartment design escalates the popularity of stainless steel sinks. The Elkay family of companies continues to grow with the addition of Dayton-Ogden Corporation in Ogden, Utah, followed by Elkay Southern Corporation in Lumberton, North Carolina.
In 1976, we expand our water cooler business by acquiring Cordley/Temprite. In 1979, we move the Corporate Offices to our current location in Oak Brook, IL.
In 1980, Elkay expands into the retail market. The Neptune brand is established and sold in retail stores, primarily through "do-it-yourself" type outlets. Elkay receives the International Customer Service Association (ICSA) award for a manufacturing company in 1984. Gourmet Cuisine Centré is introduced which provides a combination sink, garbage disposer bowl, built-in drain board, and cutting surface.
Our acquisition of Halsey Taylor rounds out our water cooler business in 1991. In 1993, Elkay creates our Cabinetry Division by acquiring Yorktowne, Inc. and Medallion Kitchens. In 1996, Elkay acquires MasterCraft Cabinets. The 1998 purchase of Westwood Custom Cabinetry will ultimately make Elkay the fourth largest cabinet supplier in the U.S. Elkay expands our plumbing products division through the purchase of Wessan Plumbing Ltd. in Coldwater, Ontario and Revere Sinks. Elkay's growth outside of the U.S. continues through our acquisition of E.B. Técnica Mexicana, the largest stainless steel sink producer in Mexico, and Vinca, a manufacturer of composite sinks.
In 2004, Elkay expands its faucet offering by acquiring Phylrich International based in Burbank, California, and known for producing high style faucets and other fixtures used primarily in powder rooms and bathrooms. In 2005, the company solidifies its international presence through the strategic acquisition of Zhuhai Daya S.E.Z. K&B products based in Zhuhai, China. Daya is a manufacturer of high quality sinks to select world markets, and in 2006, the company expanded into Cabinetry by acquiring three new cabinet manufacturing facilities -- Yorktowne in Danville, Virginia and Medallion in Culver, Indiana and Lanark, Illinois.
2010 and Beyond:
Looking forward - Elkay's future growth and continued global success in the decade ahead will be driven by a compelling vision for our industries and the leadership role we can play in them, our superb values that continue to set us apart in the competitive landscape.