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Elkay History

A family business based in quality and service, Elkay has a rich history of producing innovative bathroom products for their clientele. Since their humble beginnings in the northern part of Chicago, Illinois, Elkay remains a top supplier for kitchen and bathroom products, while adapting the business to better serve the needs for all of their customers.

Listed below is a timeline from Elkay’s beginnings to present day. Please spend some time reading to see how Elkay grew from only three people to over 3,900 employees today.

1920 – 1929: On January 26, 1920, the Elkay Company is founded. Leopold Katz, with his son, Louis Elkay, worked on superior customer service and manufacturing the top quality sinks for their customers. The Elkay Company increased their number of employees from three to seven full time employees within the first year, and their pantry and butler sinks became national best sellers by 1927.

1930 – 1939: The Elkay Company outgrew their location and moved to a larger facility. Elkay grew to 18 employees in 1933, and posted annual sales over $115,000. Elkay introduced their first stainless steel sink in 1935, and in 1938, they became the nation’s first mass producer of stainless steel sinks anywhere.

1940 – 1949: Elkay Company participated heavily in the United’s States war effort during World War II. By 1942, the Elkay Company provided plumbing fixtures and scullery to the armed forces. Elkay was able to deliver well over 22,000 sinks in less than two years. By 1945, Elkay had celebrated twenty five years in business. In 1946, Elkay’s post war focus shifted to a huge booming market in the residential arena. In the spring of 1948, Elkay began to produce stainless steel bowels and was able to cut production costs by over a half. With this innovation, Elkay became the largest producer of stainless steel bowels across the country.

1950 -1959: The Elkay Company continued its large growth by refining the automation process they had implemented in the 1940s. It wasn’t until 1947 where Elkay had become the global leader to produce stainless steel sinks for residential use.

1960 – 1969: The Elkay Company’s growth continued, and by 1969, they broke ground for a new facility in Broadview, Illinois; the site was their corporate headquarters, and still is in use as a production facility today. It wasn’t until 1969, when Elkay began manufacture of their own water cooler line.

1970 – 1979: During this decade, Elkay was further established as an innovator in their industry. By 1970, Elkay developed the three compartment sink by popular demand. Their company continues to flourish and grow by acquiring the Dayton-Ogden Corporation based in Utah, as well as the Southern Corporation which is located in Lumberton, North Carolina. The water cooler business was expanded in 1976 when Elkay Company purchased the Temprite/Cordley Company. Elkay moved their corporate headquarters to Oak Brook, Illinois, their current location.

1980 – 1989: Elkay Company further expanded in the retail market by 1980.

1990 – 1999: Elkay Company acquires Halsey Taylor (water cooler company) in 1991. By 1993 they created a cabinetry division. In 1996, Elkay purchased MasterCraft, and in 1998, purchased Westwood Custom Cabinetry, which made Elkay the largest cabinet supplier in the United States.

2000 – Current: Elkay continues to grow following their record decade of the 1990s.