Wilsonart International was founded as a producer of high pressure decorative laminate in 1956 in Temple, Texas, by Ralph Wilson, Sr., a retired laminate industry executive. Wilson’s intent was never to build a major competitor — the field in those days included 12 domestic competitors — but rather to fill his free time. Throughout the 1960s, Wilson’s “hobby” grew dramatically through a formula comprising a dedicated local work force, high-quality products and an old-fashioned commitment to customer service.
By the end of the 1970s, Wilsonart® Laminate had become one of the nation’s leading brands of decorative laminate. A new plant, located in Fletcher, North Carolina, was added in 1979 to meet increasing demand for product. Less than eight years later, “Temple North” — the world’s most highly efficient, state-of-the-art laminate production facility — came on line in Temple. This facility has since doubled in size and is over 500,000 square feet.
The 1980s marked the beginning of product diversification for Wilsonart International. Design Group I™ (now The Standards), the company’s line of readily available solid colors and patterns, was instituted and has become, in large part, an industry standard for design direction. Wilsonart® Decorative Metals joined the line-up in the mid-‘80s.
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