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History

Over 100 years of making the world measurably better

snapshots of historic milestones through the decades

1870s

Adolph Coors: Founder

Adolph Coors, founder of what was once known as the Adolph Coors Brewing and Manufacturing Company, was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1868. Arriving in Golden, Colorado in 1872, he promptly began several business ventures. Today one of those ventures is CoorsTek.

Golden Brewery

Adolph Coors and Jacob Schueler started the Golden Brewery in 1873. Adolph bought out his partner in 1880 to become the sole owner.

John Herold: Artisan

John Herold, founder of Herold China and Pottery Company, the predecessor of CoorsTek, was born in Austria and immigrated to the United States around 1890. After spending many years in Zanesville, Ohio perfecting his ceramic art pottery methods, he arrived in Golden in 1909. 

1910s

Herold China and Pottery Company

John Herold incorporated the Herold China and Pottery Company on December 10, 1910. Adolph Coors assisted Herold by providing a building he owns in Golden, once the Colorado Glass Works.

Gem of the Rockies & Chemical Labware

John Herold began producing art pottery in Golden, including the Gem of the Rockies line featured here. At the urging of Dr. Herman Fleck, head of the chemistry department at the Colorado School of Mines, Herold developed chemical laboratory ware based on fine clays from the hills near Golden. After withstanding complete testing by Dr. Fleck, the pieces he produced started a new product line for the company. 

A Growing Investment

Adolph Coors invested in the Herold Pottery and China Company, along with several other Golden businessmen. Their investments allowed Herold to continue working on his chemical laboratory ware and art pottery. Herold produced a wide variety of products as seen above. 

Adolph Coors Jr.

John Herold decided to leave Golden in early 1915. Adolph Coors Jr. took over the management of the Herold China and Pottery Company. Based on the demand for domestic labware at the start of World War I, Adolph Jr. led the small pottery’s effort to meet the growing need for labware.  

1920s

Coors Porcelain Company

The Herold China and Pottery Company became the Coors Porcelain Company. Many employees came from the brewery, where beer production had ceased due to Prohibition. Coors Porcelain also employed many women, who worked in assembly, finishing, and quality inspection. 

Coors USA Labware

The company produced over 300 shapes and sizes of chemical labware sold worldwide under the COORS USA trademark. Today the company still produces high-quality scientific and analytical labware.  

Dinnerware Lines

Several lines of dinnerware and hotel ware were produced during this time, the most famous known as the Rosebud line. Other lines included Cook-N-Serve, Rock-Mount, Mello-Tone, Coorado, Golden Ivory, Golden Rainbow, Thermo-Porcelain, Glencoe Thermo-Porcelain, and White Hotel Ware. Shown here is a rosebud pitcher being removed from its handmade mold. 

Growing Labware Business

During the 1920s, Coors Porcelain became a world leader in the production of labware, becoming the supplier of choice to great inventors of the day, including Thomas Edison.  During this time period the company produced over 10,000 pieces of labware per day in addition to other product lines. In the photo (courtesy of the NPS), Thomas Edison and his son Charles can be seen using Coors USA labware in his Glenmont Lab. 

1930s

American Chemical Society Convention

In 1932, Adolph Coors Jr. hosted the 84th annual convention of the American Chemical Society creating several gifts for attendees. Pictured above is one of those gifts, nesting ashtrays featuring the logo of the American Chemical Society in gold. 

New Kiln Technology

Coors Porcelain continued to expand and grow. New circular and tunnel kilns were added, replacing the old beehive kilns. 

Coors 2nd and 3rd Generations

Coors Porcelain was a family affair with Adolph Jr. and his brothers Herman and Grover each spending time at the plant in the 1920's. Adolph Jr.'s sons - Adolph III, Joseph, and Bill - all worked at the plant as well. 

Evolution of a Lump of Clay

Coors Porcelain published 'The Evolution of a Lump of Clay', a booklet first released in 1936 telling the story of the company’s chemical porcelain ware manufacturing. 

1940s

Champion Spark Plug Agreement

The company struck a deal with Champion Spark plug in 1940 when Champion decided to focus on making spark plugs. Coors Porcelain acquired their chemical and scientific porcelain business, including Champion's labware line and processes for isostatic forming, spray drying, and ceramic insulators.

Joseph Coors Sr.

Joseph Coors, Sr., one of Adolph Jr.'s sons, assumed leadership at the pottery in 1946 and began the process of becoming the industrial ceramic technology leader. He started the first formal R&D group at Coors Porcelain and strengthened the technical and design staff.

First Isostatic Pressed Grinding Media

The company made the first isostatic pressed grinding media from 85% alumina, creating a homogeneous, hard, wear-resistant media. 

Discontinued Dinnerware Lines

Coors Porcelain discontinued consumer lines such as dinnerware and cookware during World War II to concentrate on technical porcelain products. Coors Porcelain never revived the dinnerware lines, now considered collectibles with the Rosebud line being the most popular. 

1950s

Metallizing

In 1955 Coors Porcelain started its first metallizing division for the electronics industry with three people, one of the first to provide ceramic-to-metal bonding services - a new advancement at the time. 

Dry Press Forming

The company developed the dry press forming process for faster, more economical production of small, high volume products such as those pictured here. 

Aluminum Can

In 1959, a group of engineers and toolmakers at Coors Porcelain led by Bill Coors developed the recyclable aluminum beverage can. The Coors Porcelain - Container Division site where those first cans were produced is now designated a Historical Landmark by ASM International. Today the company continues to make can tooling products. 

Consumer Products

Coors Porcelain started a consumer product line including vases, ashtrays, and mugs - many of which were produced for the brewery. 

1960s

High Purity Alumina

The R&D group developed a range of high-purity 99% to 99.9% aluminas, widening the range of ceramic applications across numerous industries based on their increased strength and wear resistance. 

Ceramic Electronic Substrates

In 1965, Coors Porcelain scored a major contract with IBM to produce ceramic substrates used in mainframe computers - starting at 25 million substrates the first year, and growing to 15 million substrates a week at its peak. 

Engineering Strength

In 1946, Coors Porcelain employed just two engineers. By 1962 that number jumped thirty-fold to 65 engineers in ceramics, chemistry, metallurgy, mineralogy, and physics. 

Ceramic Armor Components

After many years of development, in 1966 Coors Porcelain produced ceramic armor components deployed for military applications - a breakthrough in lightweight protection. 

1970s

Derald Whiting and the Fourth Generation

In 1972, Derald Whiting succeeded Joe Coors Sr. as president of Coors Porcelain. Several of Joseph Sr.'s sons joined the company - Joe Coors Jr., Jeff Coors, and Grover Coors - working in data processing, microelectronics, and many other departments.  

Electrostatic Precipitator Insulators

Alumina insulators were used in pollution control equipment to reduce smokestack emissions - enduring high temperatures while trapping and removing dust and ash. 

Integrated Circuit Packages

In 1979, the company produced ceramic dual inline packages (CER-DIP) to protect and insulate integrated circuits inside.

Thin-Film Substrates

Thin-film electronic substrates were produced using the tape casting process, delivering thin, flat components used for telephone switching gears and other electronic applications. 

1980s

Advanced Technical Ceramics

Coors Porcelain engineered new technical ceramic oxide and non-oxide materials including advanced zirconias, carbides (SiC, B4C, WC), silicon nitride, and spinel (a transparent ceramic). 

Joe Coors Jr.

In 1985, Joe Coors Jr. became president of Coors Porcelain and endeared employees by brainstorming and experimenting with new ideas. He drafted the first vision statement for the company, reflected in today’s CoorsTek Vision, Mission, Values.

Coors Ceramics

In 1986, Coors Porcelain became Coors Ceramics - reflecting the company’s ceramic material advancements and broad product range.  

Ceramicon Designs: Consumer Products

In 1989, Coors Ceramics reentered the consumer market with tough zirconia-based ceramic products such as golf putters and drivers, golf cleats, shirt buttons, and knife sharpeners. 

Measurably Better Air Quality

The company developed ceramic spray nozzles used in emission system scrubbers, made from nitride-bonded silicon carbide. 

1990s

Next-Generation Ceramic Armor

Coors Ceramics engineered a next generation of ceramic armor plates - both lighter and stronger than the original. 

Jim Wade

Jim Wade succeeded Joe Coors as president in 1992 after more than three decades with the company - hired in 1959 to mix ceramic materials and working his way across a wide variety of roles and positions. 

ACX Spin Off

In 1992, Coors Ceramics, along with 3 other Coors subsidiaries, spun off from Adolph Coors Company to become part of the publicly traded ACX Technologies. 

Operating Groups

During the 1990s the company was partitioned into three operating divisions: Structural Products, Electronic Products, and Electronic Packages. 

John Coors

John Coors became president of Coors Ceramics in 1998 and by 2000 was also CEO and chairman. During his tenure, the company expanded exponentially - adding new materials, capabilities, and locations. John remains chairman of CoorsTek today, overseeing the transition to the 5th generation of Coors family leadership.

2000s

CoorsTek

In 2000, Coors Ceramics changed its name to CoorsTek. The new name, along with the tagline, Amazing Solutions, reflected how the organization impacts the world by providing breakthrough solutions for its growing number of technology and manufacturing customers. The infinity symbol represented the unlimited nature of all the amazing solutions CoorsTek provides its customers. 

CoorsTek Goes Private

On March 18, 2003, the Coors family was pleased to regain complete ownership of CoorsTek. Through five generations, CoorsTek continues to be privately owned. 

Stryker Armor Vehicle

CoorsTek manufactured ceramic tiles for the US Army Stryker armor combat vehicle, each vehicle is covered in approximately 4,000 tiles of varying shapes and sizes. 

PURESIC® CVD Silicon Carbide

In 2003, CoorsTek began offering PureSiC CVD Silicon Carbide in a range of high, medium, and low resistivities. Its > 99.9995% purity, high strength, low particulate generation, excellent thermal shock resistance, and high-temperature corrosion resistance proved critical in demanding semiconductor fabrication.

Reaction Bonded Boron Carbide

R&D engineers developed reaction-bonded boron carbide, combining lighter weight with superior hardness for armor plates. 

DURA-Z™ Zirconia

In 2004, CoorsTek introduced Dura-Z™ zirconia, a newly engineered material with market-leading strength, toughness, and fatigue resistance - improving on its original TTZ zirconia material, first introduced in the 1980s. 

PHASE SIC™ SILICON CARBIDE

CoorsTek introduced PhaseSiC™, a hybrid liquid-phase silicon carbide material developed specifically for severe-service oil & gas seal and valve applications.

PLASMAPURE-UC™ ALUMINA

In 2008, CoorsTek developed another ultra-clean ceramic designed specifically for extreme-duty semiconductor applications. In addition to its exceptional purity, PlasmaPure-UC™ alumina offers high etch resistance in corrosive chemistries, low sodium content, and an exceptionally low dielectric loss tangent.

2010s

Aluminum Nitride Substrates

In 2013, CoorsTek introduced aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates for the rapidly growing LED and power electronics markets. These ceramic substrates dissipate heat rapidly - delivering high thermal conductivity and a thermal expansion coefficient similar to Si, GaN, and GaAs semiconductors. CoorsTek AlN substrates are a safe, non-toxic alternative to BeO (beryllium oxide).

Silicon Carbide Joining Technology

CoorsTek and its R&D company Ceramatec developed silicon carbide joining technology ─ bringing the benefits of engineered ceramics to larger parts while improving the strength and thermal stability of these ceramic assemblies.

CoorsTek Medical

CoorsTek Medical was launched in 2014 from the combination of C5 Medical Werks, IMDS, and Nanosurfaces Industries ─ becoming the partner of choice for medical innovators and medical-device providers worldwide whose success requires access to leading-edge medical device development experts and the related set of specialized product development and manufacturing capabilities.

Click here to learn more. 

CoorsTek Sensors

CoorsTek Sensors was formed to develop, manufacture, and deliver unique ceramic-based smart sensors to help improve the environment around us ─ combining the unique technologies of EmiSense® emission sensors and Pegasor® air quality monitors for continuous, real-time, on-board, and stationary monitoring.

Click here to learn more. 

Center for Advanced Materials

Paving the way for the next generation of breakthroughs in engineered ceramics, CoorsTek is investing $120 million to create a new Center for Advanced Materials. This investment will support the rapid development of new materials — helping CoorsTek technology and manufacturing customers solve their toughest challenges with the high-performance properties of advanced ceramics. The facility will combine a state-of-the-art research and development hub, a sophisticated analytical laboratory, and a world-class materials manufacturing facility. CoorsTek also has regional R&D centers in Europe and Hadano, Japan.

Colorado School of Mines

In 2014, CoorsTek and the Coors family announced a $27 million commitment to fund a research partnership and the construction of the CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering, an interdisciplinary academic and research facility. The investment is a significant milestone in the multi-generational partnership between CoorsTek and Mines.

5th Generation of Coors Family at CoorsTek

Today, the fifth generation of the Coors family is working at CoorsTek. Jonathan, Michael, and Timothy are co-CEO's. Several other family members work in various other departments and roles. Read more about the Coors Family in a Forbes article written in 2015.

New CoorsTek Brand

As part of our continued efforts to represent CoorsTek as the world leader in engineered ceramics and advanced materials, we are embracing an updated visual identity fully reflecting the CoorsTek of today – and tomorrow – a company that is expert, innovative, and collaborative.

Vision, Mission, Values

The foundation of CoorsTek, our Vision, Mission, and Values drive everything we do.

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