In an early morning meeting in the 1960’s, three men discussed an idea they had been tossing around for a business opportunity, to fill a need in the sheet metal fabrication business. They thought there was some opportunity in, constructing “ready on site” jobsite tool boxes. The meeting was a final attempt to get Mr. Knaack on board and the two other men were determined to convince him to join in on their business venture. They believed that with him on board, their business would be a success. The three friends agreed and Knaack LLC was born.
The operation started out small, the boxes were first made and sold only to the Brock Tool Company.
However, Mr. Knaack saw potential and he believed in the products possibility to outgrow his simple shop. As such he added ambition and business savvy to the team and set out to grow the company’s value by securing national distribution.
As Mr. Knaack dreamt of being the very first to offer a national distribution of “ready onsite” jobsite storage boxes, he began to fill product orders in bigger cities, such as Chicago, Detroit, Hammond, Cleveland, Denver and Washington D.C. By 1968, to Mr. Knaacks delight, his company’s customer base had grown exponentially bringing success and prosperity in the market. Soon, the demand for truck boxes created a need for a bigger facility to operate in. Mr. Knaack moved the Knaack Company to a large and spacious16,000 sq. ft. building in Crystal Lake, which happens to be where the Knaack plant is still located to this day. This move came around the same time as Knaack’s acquisition of the Weatherguard Truck Equipment Company. This purchase proved to be one of Knaack LLC’s most successful strategic purchases, as Weather Guard has become synonymous with the Knaack brand name, which developed and aided the Knaack company’s evolution, especially later in the 1970′s and 80′s.
Knaack continued to innovate over the years, rolling out their line of high-quality truck toolboxs for the professional contractor trade and these original 10 boxes were used for several years until 1971. Later that year, Knaack unveiled a new addition to the first wash system for cleaning steel, as well as purchased a bake oven to bake the enamel paint onto their line of Weatherguard Boxes. By 1973, Mr. Knaack went back to the drawing board and came back with a brand new full line of toolboxes, redesigning them to accommodate what current contractors of the day desired and preferred. Several innovations by Knaack in this time period quickly became the industry’s standard, as other companies began to mimic, duplicate, and copy the design of the originals.