"Though it may seem a long step between electric plants and plumbing fixtures... they are similar in that they both administer to the comfort, health and well-being of people."
Kohler of Kohler News, 1929
Kohler Power Systems: American Legend
Born of a breakthrough in technology, Kohler® Power Systems has continued to follow that same path of innovation for more than eighty years. And it's that commitment which has made the company a global force in the manufacture and marketing a vast array of effective, affordable power solutions.
Kohler's entry into the power business can be traced to the years immediately following World War I. With no background in generators or engines, the company leveraged the emerging demand for electricity on farms, their expertise in cast iron and their own ingenuity to produce the revolutionary Kohler Automatic Power & Light "power plant" in 1920.
In an age when generators worked by charging a series of storage batteries, which in turn provided 32 volts of power, the Kohler Automatic furnished an unprecedented 110 volts directly to power lines, turning itself on and off automatically in response to the demand for electricity. This tremendous power output combined with rugged reliability and ease of operation to quickly make the Automatic a favorite in rural areas where utility power had not yet arrived.
Aided by aggressive marketing and endorsements by the likes of Admiral Richard Byrd (who had taken several Kohler generators along on his first two expeditions to Antarctica in the 1920s and 1930s,) the company firmly established itself as a bold innovator in a growing marketplace. A continuing focus on bringing new products to an energy-hungry public continued to guide the company's direction.
US entry into World War II marked Kohler's first foray into global power. Kohler generators were shipped to troops in every theater, supporting vital war efforts while serving as a bulwark against curtailed wartime demand for their plumbing goods. Not only were the generators good business, they proved the value of a diversified product base - a philosophy held by the company to this day.
The post-war years proved a boom for the generator business, with the introduction of Kohler diesel generators and continuing development of ever-more powerful units throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Growth in these years was in part driven by the need for emergency standby power in hospitals, factories, government installations and other facilities that required an assured source of power - a new concept at that time. Again, Kohler prescience paid off.
Forward to the mid-1980s, the company began to strengthen its distributor network and increase the size of its generators, moving beyond the magic 750 kW mark that moves a generator into the big leagues. Together with a renewed focus on meeting the emerging needs of new markets, Kohler generators were again on the map, spending the rest of the 1980s and the better part of the 1990s establishing its position.
Today, Kohler has taken its rightful place on the leading edge of total solutions for residential, commercial and industrial standby/emergency power, distributed power, recreational power, rental, power for special events and more. And as the company sees demand for new and different kinds of power expanding to levels previously unseen, the commitment to innovative products, world-class engineering, responsive after-sale support and unmatched value is stronger than ever.
Born of a breakthrough and defined by breakthroughs for eight decades. Kohler Power Systems continues to be the benchmark by which all others compare.