Corinthian Limestone Countertop and Silver
Wilsonart International was founded as a producer of high pressure
decorative laminate in 1956 in Temple, Texas, by Ralph Wilson,
Sr., a retired laminate industry executive. Wilson’s intent
was never to build a major competitor — the field in those
days included 12 domestic competitors — but rather to fill
his free time.
Throughout the 1960s, Wilson’s “hobby” grew
dramatically through a formula comprising a dedicated local work
force, high-quality products and an old-fashioned commitment to
The company, then known as Ralph Wilson Plastics Company, was founded
on the promise to deliver “laminate anywhere in the United
States in 10 days or less.” To ensure this, the company
purchased and still maintains its own fleet of delivery trucks
in North America.
A warehouse system, now comprising 15 facilities in North America,
was put in place to respond to diverse market conditions and maintain
a vast inventory of laminate close to every customer.
The mid-1970s brought the real push to establish what has become
the world’s finest network of independent wholesale distributors
of building materials. These distributors today number more than
200 across the globe and serve as the personification of Wilsonart
International, marketing with the same ideals and service philosophy
on which Wilsonart was founded.
By the end of the 1970s, Wilsonart® Laminate had become one
of the nation’s leading brands of decorative laminate. A
new plant, located in Fletcher, North Carolina, was added in 1979
to meet increasing demand for product. Less than eight years later, “Temple
North” — the world’s most highly efficient, state-of-the-art
laminate production facility — came on line in Temple. This
facility has since doubled in size and is over 500,000 square feet.
Wilsonart International also produces and distributes its own
brand of Wilsonart® Adhesives. The manufacturing facility in
Temple, Texas produces a wide range of adhesive products for ever-changing
The 1980s marked the beginning of product diversification for Wilsonart
International. Design Group I™ (now The Standards), the
company’s line of readily available solid colors and patterns,
was instituted and has become, in large part, an industry standard
for design direction. Wilsonart® Decorative Metals joined
the line-up in the mid-‘80s.
By the 1990s, Wilsonart International’s product diversification
sped up to meet new market opportunities.
- Wilsonart® Custom Edges add a rich look to countertops
with laminate beveled edges or a variety of wood edges;
- Wilsonart® Solid
Surfacing create rooms with unparalleled design and distinction;
- Wilsonart® Kitchen Sinks and Vanity Bowls
may be bonded to sheet goods creating integral bowl and countertop
- Wilsonart® Custom Laminate allows designers to create
one-of-a-kind laminate surfaces through digital or silk-screen
- Wilsonart® Performance Laminates meet a wide range of
specialized needs, include Wilsonart® Chemsurf® Chemical-Resistant
Laminate, Fire-Rated and High-Wear laminates.
Wilsonart International is a business unit of Illinois Tool Works
Inc (NYSE: ITW), Glenview, Illinois, a $10 billion diversified
manufacturer of highly engineered components and industrial systems.
The future for Wilsonart International, based on the company’s
market position, customer relationships, product mix and improving
business climate, is bright.
International expansion became an important new focus for the
company in the 1990’s. By the year 2000, Wilsonart had established
a global network through major off-shore investments in acquisitions
and Greenfield operations.
In Asia, Wilsonart International has established manufacturing
facilities in Shanghai, China, with distribution centers in Shanghai,
Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shen-Zhen. The manufacturing plant,
started in 2000, completed a major expansion in 2003. A second
Asia manufacturing plant, in Bangkok, Thailand provides access
to the growing ASEAN markets of Southeast Asia.
In Europe, Wilsonart acquired Resopal GmbH, a leading decorative
laminate brand in Germany, and this provides an excellent platform
for growth on the continent. Separately, Wilsonart acquired the
U. K. producer of residential worktops. This high volume application
of decorative laminate provides a platform to expand our sales
into the U. K. commercial markets with both worktops and Wilsonart
Rounding out our international network is the acquisition of the
Arborite Company in Canada, and strong market positions in Australia
and South/Central/Latin America.
In this global economy, and as our major customers expand internationally,
we are becoming increasingly successful in developing international
business with our customers.
Today, these key business operating units comprise the Wilsonart/ITW
- Wilsonart® Laminate
- Wilsonart® Adhesives
- Wilsonart® Solid Surface
- Wilsonart® International