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Company History

“You never know what kind of greatness can come out of an American garage...”

In this quote from a popular 2014 Cadillac commercial, Amazon, Disney and the Ramones were mentioned. You can add Labconco to the list.

Our company began in a small garage in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. In 1925, Ralph Callaway (right), a salesman and entrepreneur, stopped in to have his car battery repaired. Philip Goldfisch, an engineer and inventor, of sorts, operated the garage. Ralph noticed an unusual apparatus in the back—a long metal pipe for a local grain laboratory to remove acid fumes during Kjeldahl determination. It piqued Ralph’s interest.

The two formed a partnership, named Laboratory Construction Company, to build Kjeldahl apparatus for the numerous milling companies in the area. The early years were lean, but the company survived and new products were added. Carts. Tables. The patented Goldfisch Fat Extractor

In 1939, Ralph’s son, Redman (left), joined the business and left an indelible mark throughout his 60-year career with the company. In 1957, Labconco, as we came to be called, outgrew the garage and moved to our present headquarters in south Kansas City. The modern era began.

We branched out from agricultural labs into other scientific markets. In the 1960’s, Labconco introduced a series of fume hoods lined with durable molded one-piece fiberglass, a signature feature found in our current Protector Premier line. Other equipment made with molded fiberglass, such as glove boxes, quickly followed.

At the same time, we formed enduring relationships with laboratory supply dealers. Our dealers expanded our geographic reach and provided innovative product ideas suggested by end users.

New products are the lifeblood of our company and spurred our growth. In 1969, we introduced a glassware washer. In 1974 came a line of freeze dryers. In 1976, our first biological safety cabinet premiered. In 1984, water purification systems were added. In 1989, we acquired Buchler Instruments, and with it, the expertise to add evaporation and centrifugal concentration to our family of products. One of our latest innovations, introduced in 2014, is the Purifier Axiom, the first Class II, Type C1 Biological Safety Cabinet in the world. The list continues to grow as we improve upon existing lines and develop new ones.

1936 Catalog Cover

In 1989, we added a manufacturing facility in Fort Scott, Kansas, ninety miles south of Kansas City. The company founded by two individuals now has more than 250 associates. An idea that started in a small garage in the Midwest now has placed equipment in laboratories worldwide.

Throughout our history, we’ve held onto the core values instilled by Redman Callaway: integrity, highest quality standards, and exceptional customer service. We are sincerely thankful to our customers, dealer partners and vendors throughout the years who have made our success possible, including you. With you, we intend to last another 90 years and beyond.

For more details of Labconco's history,
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Shirley HogenkampBy Shirley Hogenkamp,
Marketing Communications Manager