While I was in my Canada trip last March-April-May, the Kohler Company invited me to see their facilities in Chicago and Wisconsin. I also attended the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in New Orleans as their guest. During the trip I got to meet all the members of the Kohler family. The Kohler Company is one of those iconic American brands that is still privately owned. It is the oldest and largest privately held company in the United States.
With Kohler’s Chairman & CEO Herbert V. Kohler Jr and wife Natalie at the Kohler company’s 140th anniversary party in Wisconsin. With me are Bea Ledesma of Philippine Star and Jen of Kohler.
David Kohler, President and COO of Kohler Co. at the KBIS in New Orleans.
I met Rachel Kohler, Group President of Kohler interiors, at a party she hosted in her beautiful Chicago home.
Senior Vice President of Human Resources Laura Kohler initially pursued a career in theater. She is also the executive director of the Kohler Foundation.
Here are some highlights from the 140th anniversary celebration of Kohler in Wisconsin. There were over a hundered delegates from Asia Pacific at the event.
The party was held at the Kohler Design Center
I remember how amazing these performers were. They played really cool acid jazz. There is also a Kohler subsidiary that makes the most awesome chocolates.
The birthday cake
At the basement of the Kohler Design Center is the museum. It was fascinating to see pieces from the late 1800’s.
Look at the old toilet with a wooden water closet. And the great grandfather of all tubs.
With Larry of Kohler Asia Pacific talking about the growth of Kohler in the Asia-Pacific region.
Bea and I with Peter Oesch, Director of Marketing Communications in Asia Pacific
The company invested in advertising at the turn of the century. By the 1920’s and 30’s, they introduced colour in the ads.
Kohler ads from the 1920’s and 30’s were actual commissioned oil paintings that depicted cute rosy-cheeked kids in comfortable homes.
These oil paintings from the 1920’s were similar to illustrations in vintage children’s books.
By the 1940s’ and 50’s, Kohler Co. had to stop producing home and plumbing products to make way for war production efforts. They continued to urge the public to think of post-war home design.
Post-war advertising were mainly water color paintings of scenes in a “perfect” American home.
I loved seeing all the original works. Here’s another pastel watercolour from the 1950’s. By then coloured bathroom fixtures were cutting-edge. Kohler continues to produce coloured enamel cast iron and ceramic pieces for the bathroom and kitchen to this day.
I love that lavatory with stainless steel legs. I’m obsessed with getting one for our downstairs bathroom. Kohler continues to make versions of this. Look at the pretty mom. Don’t we all look like her when we bathe our babies?
More tender moments between mother and child.
These remind me of the Dick and Jane books, which my kids still read to this day.
Advertising from the 1960’s -more modern and “psychedelic”.
I had no idea this class photo was taken. I must have been upstairs taking photos at the showrooms.
For photos of the Kohler bathroom and kitchen showrooms, click More.