Culligan History

Culligan has been improving water for over 80 years.

The Story Behind Water Softening

Since 1921, the Culligan name has been synonymous with better water. Learn more about our innovative, exciting beginning.


Early Softener

1921: Early SoftenerEmmett Culligan builds a homemade water softener using two coffee cans and zeolite sand.


Culligan Water Company

1921: Culligan Water CompanyCulligan opens in Northbrook, Illinois.


Portable Exchange Softener

1938: Portable Exchange SoftenerCulligan introduces the portable exchange (PE) water softener by innovating lightweight tanks and carts.


World War II

1921: World War IIThe government asks Culligan to produce silica gel, used to dehumidify moisture sensitive equipment.


Hey Culligan Man!

1953: Hey Culligan Man!The “Hey, Culligan Man” concept is conceived.


25th Anniversary

1961: 25th AnniversaryCulligan celebrates its 25th anniversary. Northbrook, Illinois temporarily renames itself “Culliganville.”


Culligan Expands International

1966: Culligan Expands InternationalThe International convention was held in Berlin and welcomed 250 delegates from 19 countries.


Drinking Water System

1967: Drinking Water SystemCulligan introduces the first mass-produced reverse osmosis water treatment system.


50th Anniversary

1986: 50th AnniversaryCulligan celebrates 50 years in business.


Bottled Water

1988: Bottled WaterCulligan made its move into bottled water for home and office, adding bottle delivery for customers.


Consumer Digest Best Buy

2003: Consumer Digest Best BuyThe Gold softener sets new efficiency standards and becomes Culligan’s highest volume softener.


Aqua Cleer Launched

2008: Aqua Cleer LaunchedThe Aqua Cleer RO has more than 100 configurations that allow customization for most water conditions.


HE Softeners and Filters

2010: HE Softeners and FiltersCulligan releases the the Culligan® HE, the World’s most efficient water softener.