In 1946 , two brothers from north central Wisconsin began a business. Working out of their mother’s wash house, they built window and door frames, repaired window sash, and made storm and screen windows. The era following World War II brought a boom in construction… so the brothers – Herb and Ervin Kolbe – had an eager market for their products. That is how the company, Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork, was born.
In 1975, the company debuted its first product line – double hung and slider windows – which was distributed throughout the Midwest. Soon, production expanded to include casement and awning windows, as well as patio doors. In the early 1980s, Kolbe & Kolbe added roll-formed aluminum cladding as an exterior finish option on its wood window line (now known as the Heritage Series ). And, by the mid-1980s, Kolbe & Kolbe products were being sold nationwide.
In the fall of 1994 , a new series made the beauty and durability of Douglas fir a standard – thus, the Sundance Series was born. The Kolbes’ vision, hard work, and continued success led to their 50th anniversary in 1996, which they celebrated with nearly 1400 employees! Plus, the artistically-crafted Decorative Series and commercial-grade Magnum Series rounded out the Kolbe & Kolbe product offering. In December, Kolbe & Kolbe was swept into the information age, with its premiere on the World Wide Web.
In 1998, Kolbe & Kolbe proudly added the BellePorte to its offering of sliding patio doors. In addition, we entered the vinyl window market with a new division, Kolbe Vinyl Windows & Doors (KVW). 1999 brought several product enhancements, as well as the addition of Acore Door to the Kolbe & Kolbe family.
The year 2000 was busy, with reintroduction of a more energy efficient inswing casement , the introduction of HLS 9000 stainless steel locking hardware on inswing doors (a first in the industry!), and the addition of tilt latches to the list of double hung choices.
In 2001, the Ultra Series was made available nationwide – windows and doors with extruded aluminum frames and a 70% fluoropolymer exterior finish as standard. And, with all this activity, it’s no surprise that the manufacturing facility in Wausau has expanded exponentially.
Kolbe & Kolbe started as a local family business in Wisconsin’s north woods, grew to one distributing products throughout the Midwest, then throughout the nation. Now its products can be found in homes throughout the world! Yet, the Kolbe family still heads the corporation and their original mission is still in view.
Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork is a company for the future with a history grounded firmly in the past. Building outstanding windows and doors is our ongoing vision – a vision that began over a half-century ago.
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