Phase 1 – the Garage
We often tell the story about building water coolers out of wood and cardboard in a small garage, and hardly anyone ever believes it.
But the garage is where the magic started– good ideas start with a vision, but they also require blank sheets of paper, a lot of passion, and a healthy fear of failure.
The garage is where we learned that reservoir tanks of filtered water (without chlorine) can become stagnant and grow algea. That led to the breakthrough of InstaChill, our Sealed Water Pathway, and a patented design that ensures every glass is freshly filtered and instantly chilled.
Phase 2 – the First Factory
In 1993, we found a perfect location for our first factory. Then tragedy struck when our founder, James B. Knoll died suddenly. Jim Knoll was born during the depression in rural Iowa and worked hard to build a stellar career in the Foodservice Equipment industry. But he had always wanted to start his own business.
That same dream was shared by his younger son, George Knoll, who carried on after his father’s passing. The 1990’s were difficult years for the company, but we grew steady and kept learning and refining our bottleless water cooler designs.
And along the way, we built a great track record of customer service and quality…and a successful family business joined by George’s wife and his mother, who pushed the company to the next level.
Phase 3 – Innovation and Improvement
In 2002, work began on a revolutionary new concept for a filtered countertop bottleless water cooler. Everything would be custom designed for the ultimate drinking water appliance. Sure it was bottleless, but the ION would be much more. Better cooling capacity, sparkling water option … even the filtration system would fit perfectly in the front and change easily without any need for tools. The ION went through several prototypes but was released for production in early 2007. Yes, the last few years have been filled with innovation, patents, and awards. But none of that would have been possible if it hadn’t started in a small garage…with some wood and some cardboard. Follow your dreams!