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The History of InSinkErator®

It was 1927. Lindbergh flew solo from New York to Paris. Coolidge was in the White House trying to make life better in America. And John W. Hammes, a prestigious Racine, Wisconsin architect, was in his basement trying to make life better in the kitchen.

After watching his wife clean up messy food waste after dinner, he had an idea. What if food scraps could be ground into tiny pieces and flushed down the kitchen sink?

Before dark, Hammes found himself tinkering with sheet metal, a make-shift grind mechanism, a small motor, and a big idea. By the end of the night, the first food waste disposer was born.

After eight years of design refinement, Hammes obtains U.S. Patent #2,012,686 for his new-fangled food waste disposer.

By 1938, Hammes launches InSinkErator® Manufacturing Company with sons Ever and Quinten. Fifty-two disposers were produced and sold the first year.

"How do we sell disposers?" That was the big question contractors asked "Mr. In-Sink-Erator," Bob Cox in the late 40's and early 50's. The unique merchandising ideas developed by Bob to answer this question are still be used today.

The 1940's was a decade of tragedy and triumph. The war was on and to support the effort, InSinkErator manufactured defense parts in addition to disposers for hospital ships.

After the war, 18 competitors burst on the scene. To differentiate the product and company, Bob Cox, Vice President of Sales decided to sell disposers to plumbers instead of appliance dealers to get noticed.

The 50's was the age of Rock and Roll and InSinkErator was rocking by expanding its product line and its footprint. A foodservice business unit was born and the company relocated to a new 75,000 square foot facility in Racine, Wisconsin. As television came of age, so did television advertising. And InSinkErator went along for the ride capitalizing on the power of celebrity endorsements by: George Burns, Gracie Allen, Sam Snead, Bob Barker, Doris Day, and later Billy Jean King, Barbara Walters and Phyllis Diller.

A direct sales force was added to meet the rigors of competition from national brands like Whirlpool®, General Electric®, Waste King®, and KitchenAid®. And vibrant colors were used to differentiate models.

Continuing to try to differentiate InSinkErator, Bob Cox and the InSinkErator sales team pitched the product out of pink Pontiac station wagons.

At age 57, John W. Hammes passed away before seeing the full potential of his after dinner invention. Ever J. Hammes, John's oldest son assumed the leadership of the company.

By 1954, InSinkErator introduced the Model 77 and assembled a network of authorized independent service representatives.

The slogan "Darling, you're much too nice to be a garbage collector", was the theme for the first InSinkErator consumer ad campaign launched in 1956.

In addition to capitalizing on the power of celebrity endorsements, InSinkErator also used the power of extravagant models in advertising.

In 1962, John Glenn was orbiting the Earth, InSinkErator was moving earth by breaking ground for a new 114,300 square foot facility on 21st St.

In 1963, as a nation mourned the death of President John. F. Kennedy, InSinkErator employees would also mourn the sudden death of company President Quinten A. Hammes. He was 44. Older brother and Chairman Ever J. Hammes would later appoint George E. Shoup to take the reins of the company.

The 60s was a decade of growth as the company expanded twice with a 35,000 square foot office addition in 1964 followed by a 93,000 square foot expansion in 1966.

In 1966, the customer base expanded to include the builder segment and major retailer Sears® Roebuck and Co. The company introduced the Quick Lock® mounting system, making like-for-like disposer replacements easy.

New and improved, in 1968, InSinkErator launched the advanced Model 77. This model contained more stainless steel and larger grind elements.

By the close of the decade, InSinkErator opt to build the best-selling Badger® brand and St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co. opted to buy InSinkErator.

The 70s was a decade of diversification and acquisitions. In 1970 the company started manufacturing trash compactors.

Barbara Walters and Phyllis Diller were featured in InSinkErator advertising and in 1970, Diller became the primary spokesperson and appeared in national ads in LOOK® and LIFE® magazines and a series of TV commercials. At the time, Diller had the starring role in "Hello Dolly" on Broadway.

By 1973 InSinkErator acquired H&H Precision Products to enter the instant hot water dispenser category.

In the 80s, InSinkErator continued its product diversification adding dishwashers to a product line that boasted residential and commercial disposers, instant hot water dispensers and trash compactors.

In 1981, two million disposers were manufactured in the plant and by '82 the H-330, a predecessor to the Hot-1 instant hot water dispenser was born.

The 1980s was a decade of growth for InSinkErator. By 1984, plant capacity produced 13,000 disposers per day. International growth continued with the establishment of a subsidiary in Australia and a defining moment - InSinkErator added another major retail customer - Lowe's®.

New York City Department of Environmental Study concluded a two-year analysis, the disposer ban was lifted in the city.

As the 90s came to a close, disposers featured a rugged new design. A stylized trim shell created broad shoulders while chrome highlights provided a sleek, yet powerful new look.

The 1990s was a turning point for the foodservice business unit. The Waste Xpress pulper system was commercialized for the foodservice industry.

The 90s was a decade of surpassing milestones as sales levels were at an all time high, Home Depot® was secured as a new retail customer.

Another large milestone was the production of the 50 millionth disposer since the company's inception.

In 1999 the water product line expanded to offer a graceful, high-arching spout design with the launch of the Indulge™ Contemporary models.

The new millennium was filled with the promise of a bright future for InSinkErator. Extensive new residential disposer research paved the way for future growth. By 2004, market presence expanded to 80 countries and new subsidiaries were opened in Mexico, Japan and China.

The water products group has also enjoyed unprecedented growth and development in the new millennium. In 2005, a larger capacity, technologically superior stainless steel tank was launched.

In 2006, a new mid-level dispenser line, Involve™ Wave® and View®, were launched.

In 2006, InSinkErator launched a high performance line of disposers, the Evolution Series®. With the new series came advanced sound, grind, anti-jam and anti-vibration technologies.

Indulge™ Antique and Tuscan dispensers launched to complement traditionally styled kitchens and faucets.

Blending efficiency and style, the Indulge™ Modern series features a minimalist design complementing modern-styled kitchens. The newest member of the InSinkErator instant hot water dispenser family, this series launched in January 2012