Ralph Wilson, Sr., a retired laminate industry executive, founded Wilsonart in 1956 in Temple, Texas as a producer of High Pressure Decorative Laminate (HPL). Surprisingly, Wilson’s intent was never to build a major competitor, but rather to fill his free time.
Today, we still honor his thoughtful approach to business: hire a dedicated local work force, produce high-quality products, and insist upon an old-fashioned commitment to top-notch customer service.
Wilsonart, first known as the Ralph Wilson Plastics Company, was founded on the promise to deliver “laminate anywhere in the United States in 10 days or less.” Today the company still maintains its own fleet of delivery trucks throughout North America.
A warehouse system, now comprising 20 facilities across the country, responds to diverse market conditions and maintains a vast inventory of laminate within reach of our customers.
The 1970s saw a real push to establish what has now become the world’s finest network of independent wholesale building materials distributors. Today, these distributors number more than 100 across North America and serve as the personification of Wilsonart, embodying the ideals and service-oriented philosophy on which the company was founded.
Wilsonart’s first manufacturing facility was built in Temple, Texas in 1956, directly across the street from our first customer, a major school furniture manufacturer. According to history, our original laminate orders were shuttled across the street on dollies to fill orders.
By the end of the 1970s, Wilsonart® Laminate had become one of the nation’s leading brands of decorative laminate. The Fletcher, North Carolina plant was added in 1979 to meet the increasing demand for product. Less than eight years later, “Temple-North”—the world’s most efficient, state-of-the-art laminate production facility— laid its roots in Texas. This facility has since doubled in size and is today among of the largest of its kind in the world.
In addition to the wide range of laminate surface offerings, Wilsonart 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 market needs.
Wilsonart has always made great laminate. Our standard collection of readily available solid colors and patterns, originally known as Design Group I™, was developed in the 1980s and has become an industry standard for laminate design direction.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wilsonart’s product diversification sped up to meet new market opportunities, with the following additions:
The decades ahead brought many new innovations to our Engineered Surfaces lineup:
In November, 2012, the Wilsonart businesses, along with our global sister companies, became an independent company once again. For 60 years, Wilsonart has honored our founders' promise to provide our customers with industry-leading products and service. We do business in 100 countries, operating under the Wilsonart®, Resopal®, Polyrey®, Arborite®, Laminart®, Ralph Wilson® and Durcon® brands. We currently manufacture in two US locations, plus Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Thailand.