For 60 years, Sub-Zero has pioneered innovative, aesthetically appealing and technologically advanced solutions to meet virtually any home refrigeration need. Through foresight and responsiveness, the company has earned its position as an industry leader in kitchen design, and a family owned company creating quality products in the USA.

A Part Of Design History

  • 1930’s - Frank Lloyd Wright
  • 1940’s – The Founding of Sub-Zero
  • 1950’s – Built-In Refrigeration
  • 1960’s - Refrigerated Furniture
  • 1970’s - Advances of the 1970’s
  • 1980’s – Industrial Design
  • 1990’s – Integrated Refrigeration and Wine Storage
  • 2000’s -  The Perfect Match –Sub-Zero and Wolf

The 1930’s  
During the Depression, Westye F. Bakke works as a refrigerator consultant fro Frank Lloyd Wright, creating specially designed refrigeration units that would fit into the Wright-designed projects, including the Johnson Wax Building and Wingspread.

The Wolf Range Company is established in 1934 in East Los Angeles by two brothers, Al and Hyman Wolf, when they begin repairing domestic cookers and rebuilding used cookers for resale.

The 1940’s  - The Founding of Sub-Zero

In 1943, Westye F.Bakke builds the first free-standing freezer in the basement of his Madison, Wisconsin home to help his young son, who needed constant doses of insulin for his juvenile diabetes.
On August 20, 1945, Westye F. Bakke founds Sub-Zero Freezer Company, Inc., choosing the name sub-zero because his freezer’s were the first to meet the strict standards for below-zero safety in freezing food.

By 1947, Westye F. Bakke is building state –of-the-art upright freezers, becoming the first in the industry to create all- aluminium appliances with separate inside doors. The upright models become so successful that, by 1950 the plant ended production of the old chest model.

The 1950’s – Built-In Refrigeration

The 1950’s begin as Westye’s son Bud Bakke, completes degrees at the University of Wisconsin and joins the company full-time, researching and exploring the field on industrial refrigeration. Many of the experiments and tests bring Sub-Zero national recognition.

In keeping with kitchen trends of the late 1950’s, Sub-Zero pioneers Built-In refrigeration by introducing the first-ever cabinet-flush units, enabling any wood grain, metal tome or color scheme and completely customizing Sub-Zero models to match any décor.

1960’s Refrigerated Furniture

During the 1960’s Sub-Zero’s focus continues to be on customization, designing refrigeration built into furniture, such as a bar counter, office credenza or living room end table. By 1967, the built-in will become Sub-Zero’s best selling model, comprising 70 percent of its total sales.

The 1970’s  - Advances of the 1970’s

From 1972 to 1979 Sub-Zero’s sales figures skyrocket almost ten fold, creating a strong network of distributorships, making product advancements such as a new pull-out freezer drawer, and placing an emphasis on energy efficiency; one of the first refrigerator manufacturers to do so.

The 1980’s  - Industrial Design

In the spring of 1981, Bud Bakke’s son, Jim Bakke, joins the company and Sub-Zero manufacturing expands with a second plant in Arizona.

The award-winning 500 series of refrigerator/freezers is introduced in the 1980’s, featuring enhanced ergonomics: better lighting, crisper drawers with individual temperature controls and easier door openings with seals for tighter closing and improved handles.

The 1990’s – Integrated Refrigeration

In 1995, Sub-Zero unveils the 700 Series concept, known as “integrated refrigeration,” which introduces an entirely new concept in modular refrigeration and mergers seamlessly into the cabinetry.

Over the years, the Wolf name becomes synonymous with quality products and customer service. The reputation earns the company an impressive list of nationally known commercial customers and top chef endorsements.

Toward the end of the 1990’s, Sub-Zero launches the 400 Series wine storage units, setting the standard for the industry with two separate refrigeration compartments, with independent temperature zones and varying capacity, providing ultimate flexibility to the win enthusiast 

The 2000’s – The Perfect Match

Sub-Zero Freezer Company acquires Wolf Gourmet in March 2000 to create the ultimate in cooking instruments for serious passionate cooks. The merger joins Sub-Zero’s timeless dedication to quality with Wolf’s commitment to superior cooking.

In 2000, Sub-Zero builds a 350,00-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and begins construction of a 30,000-foot on-site training center dedicated to education and product development.

2008 Rethought and Redesign
The new built-in refrigeration line is launched in 2008, introducing advanced technologies to keep food fresher longer. The newly redesigned refrigeration line features many innovations including an air filtration system based on NASA technology and a microbiological water filter. These advancements, together with the easy to use technology features in Wolf cooking instruments, make Sub-Zero and Wolf perfect corporate companions and kitchen soul mates.