Great American Success Story!
On some mornings back in 1960, Howard Knaack would interrupt his milk route deliveries for Cary Dairy to have breakfast with two friends. These friends needed a reliable source for "ready-made" jobsite boxes. One morning, they decided it was time to talk Howard into a business opportunity in the sheet metal fabrication business in order to supply their construction supply house with the jobsite boxes they needed. Together they formed Knaack LLC.
Knaack LLC was the first to offer national distribution of jobsite storage boxes in Chicago, Detroit, Hammond, Cleveland, Hammond, Denver and Washington D.C. By 1968 Mr. Knaack moved the company to a 16,000 sq. ft. building in the current location. Along with the move came the purchase of the WEATHER GUARD® Truck Equipment brand from a small sheet metal company in St. Louis.
In the late 1960s, Howard was looking to expand his product offerings to the contractor trade and recognized the need for a high-quality, truck tool box. In 1968, Knaack LLC purchased the rights to build WEATHER GUARD® Truck Equipment, a truck tool box line consisting of approximately 10 different models, from a sheet metal contractor in St. Louis, MO. He continued to build these boxes in St. Louis until 1971, when Knaack LLC doubled its manufacturing capacity. The new addition included the first wash system to clean the steel and a bake oven to bake on enamel paint required on the Weather Guard Boxes. In 1973, Knaack LLC redesigned its entire tool box line with features needed by the contractor markets it served. Many of these innovations soon became the standard in the industry and were eventually copied by other tool box manufacturers over the years.
In the early 1980, the entire line of KNAACK® Tool boxes was redesigned to offer contractors a more secure, durable and safer-to-use tool box. Gas pistons were added to the KNAACK Gang Boxes and the WEATHER GUARD Truck Boxes making them easier to open and close, therefore being safer to use than previous versions or competitors' models. The company, product lines and distribution grew steadily. Mr. Knaack watched his building grow to almost 10 acres under one roof. Distribution grew, reaching all 50 states in the U.S. and Canada. Van equipment was added in 1984.
In 2000, Mr. Knaack and his partners felt that growing the business to the next level would require substantial resources. They sold the business to Emerson in order to gain the strength and resources of a Fortune 150 Company. Knaack LLC joined RIDGID® Tools as part of the Emerson Tool Group. Today, KNAACK continues to operate as a separate entity with the same mission.
Over the past 45 years, Knaack LLC's facility has grown from its modest start in a 2,000-square-foot shop to its current 400,000+-square-foot plant at 420 E. Terra Cotta Ave. The KNAACK Brand name is known in the industry as "The most trusted name in jobsite security," while the WEATHER GUARD Brand is known as "Secure by Design™".