We look with pride upon the history and accomplishments of our Company. Our Company name originates from George Augustus Bobrick, who founded it in 1906. It was known as Bobrick Chemical Company, manufacturers of various commercial products (waxes, ammonia, etc.). To promote the sales of liquid soap, Mr. Bobrick and his son, Arthur, designed and produced soap dispensers. (The chemical business was sold outright in 1938.)
"Pullman" Type Liquid Soap Dispenser G.A. Bobrick conceived the idea of the first liquid soap dispenser and was awarded a U.S. Patent for it in 1908. The Pullman Car Company later asked Bobrick to develop a soap dispenser for use in their railway passenger cars. The result was the first basin-mounted “Pullman” dispenser, which brought Bobrick a second U.S. Patent in 1912. These early inventions established Bobrick as a pioneer in soap dispensing equipment and set a new direction for our Company.
In the years that followed, many other soap dispenser models were developed. Greater awareness of proper sanitary standards in public washrooms, plus a rapidly growing construction industry, contributed to the increasing success and acceptance of the soap dispenser idea.
By the 1920’s, Bobrick had sold some 250,000 soap dispensers throughout the United States, and the Company’s two-page catalog listed a dozen models.
By 1941, Bobrick had expanded from the original 3,500 square foot plant to a 7,200 square foot plant with 30 employees. More than a million Bobrick soap dispensers were already installed in commercial buildings, schools, and other institutions around the country, and the Company had introduced more “firsts,” including the first wall-mounted dispenser, the first lather dispenser, and the first 40 fl. oz. tank-type soap dispenser.
World War II demanded new adjustments as the country’s industrial effort was directed toward the war. Bobrick responded with “Victory” model soap dispensers that conserved critically needed materials. In addition, Bobrick directed a major portion of its manufacturing facilities and engineering skills to the production of essential aircraft parts for such companies as Boeing, Convair, Douglas, Lockheed, Northrop and Bendix.
Following the war, the stage was set for a new era in Bobrick’s development. In 1946, William S. Louchheim became a partner and managing officer of the Company, bringing to Bobrick an extensive background in engineering and banking. In 1948, Gordon S. Bodek joined the firm and assumed the responsibility for soap dispenser sales. The Company had already moved to a 16,500 square foot plant and resumed full-scale manufacturing of soap dispensers, broadening its sales and penetration into the commercial building market.
By 1956, the Company’s 50th year, Bobrick offered a four-page, two color catalog of soap dispensing equipment which was being sold throughout the United States, primarily in the sanitary supply market. In the late 1950’s the Company undertook an emphasis on product expansion and development geared to the needs of the architectural and new construction markets.
In 1959, Bobrick hired its first Architectural Representative - Lee Hanley of St. Louis, Missouri. Lee is still serving on the Bobrick sales team. In an effort to develop the best service organization for the construction market, Bobrick continued to add carefully selected Architectural Representatives, many with engineering and architectural degrees.
1961 Catalog Page In 1961, the big breakthrough came with Bobrick’s introduction of a unique line of recessed stainless steel multi-purpose units. An entirely new concept in washroom equipment, it combined various washroom accessories into a single space-saving cabinet. Building owners and architects called the new line the most spectacular advancement in commercial washroom equipment in half a century. The new units dramatically improved the appearance of the washroom, made more efficient use of space and reduced installation and maintenance costs.
In 1964, Bobrick International was established to sell and distribute Bobrick’s recessed and surface-mounted washroom accessories in Australia, Europe, Asia, Far East, Middle East, Central/South America, and Africa.