This week The Plumbing Museum is in for a real treat! We finally made it out to visit Kohler, WI that is home to Kohler Co.—one of the largest plumbing-ware manufacturing companies best known for its line of baths, sinks, toilets, and other bathroom fixtures. Today we visited the Kohler Design Center that included a showroom of the latest company products as well as a gallery of items dating back to the early 1900’s. It was so neat to view a new line of hand crafted Artist Edition sinks, see more examples of early dish-washing machines and bathtubs, as well as learn about the Kohler Co. long history. The company was originally founded in 1873 by an Austrian immigrant—John Michael Kohler. Early products included cast iron and steel farm tools and ornamental iron pieces. In 1883 a breakthrough happened when John Michael applied enamel to a cast iron horse trough to create the company’s first bathtub. The company now is a leading plumbing-ware manufacturing business.
In addition to visiting the Design Center, we also went on an “Industry in Action” tour that gave us a behind the scenes look inside the Kohler Co. factory. Led by a veteran employee of the Kohler foundry plant, the tour gave us a sneak peek of the steps behind manufacturing some of the Kohler’s signature cast iron baths, toilets, and sinks. No pictures were allowed, however we took plenty at the Design Center that are posted here. Can’t wait for tomorrow to tour the John Michael Kohler Art Center and see some of the most artistic bathrooms in the world! Stay tuned!