125th Anniversary - John Boos & Co.
How It All Started
Reels Of History
John Boos & Co., based in Effingham, IL is one
of the oldest manufacturers of premium quality
foodservice equipment and butcher blocks in the
U.S.A. Boos has been in business continuously
since 1887. It was
in his Effingham, IL
blacksmith shop that
founder, Conrad Boos
first invented what would
become the original
Boos Block. Having
from local wooded areas,
and processed it in his
sawmill, Conrad brought
it to his blacksmith shop
for finishing. That first
block of sycamore slab
placed on three legs
evolved with sheer purpose of a block to absorb the
shock of this smith’s hammer against the anvil. It
was the local butcher, who having seen and admired
Conrad’s block, became impassioned about owning a
block for his meat market. Unknowingly, Conrad’s son,
John, who having made and sold that first block to the
local butcher, took John Boos & Co. into the infancy
of the 125 year reign of serving customers in the
commercial market sector.
As a single product (die block) manufacturer in the
early years of John Boos & Co., there became a single
minded focus: to make the best die blocks in the world.
One of the early company mottos was “Wherever steel
meets wood, Boos is Best!” True to the motto,
John Boos & Co. sent product for display at the
World’s Fair in Paris, 1900.
During WWII, John Boos & Co. proved its
ingenuity and adaptability to manufacture foodservice
worktables and tabletops for the U.S. Army, Navy,
and Marine mess halls and kitchens. The company
emerged from the war era with a new manufacturing
philosophy, service culture, and expanded product
lines. Boos butcher block tops grew out of the old
fashioned Boos butcher block to meet the growing
requirements of the foodservice industry and the
Beginning in the mid 1960’s, John Boos & Co.
further expanded the growth of its stainless steel
fabrication. Ever changing to accommodate the
market requirements, the company’s manufacturing
expanded to include an entire range of stainless
products. The company combined North American
hard rock maple and foodservice grade stainless
steel to begin its blended offering of commercial
quality carts and work tables. John Boos & Co.
currently continues to be the only company in the
U.S.A that has both stainless steel fabrication and
wood manufacturing facilities in one location.
With over 100 years of adaptation to the markets,
the late 1900’s presented yet many new opportunities.
Events during this era created the catalyst to shape
John Boos & Co. as a primary provider of gourmet
products and foodservice equipment.
Major catalog and retail store exposure with many
of the renowned companies in the kitchen specialty
markets promoted growth of the Boos furniture and
cutting board lines. Cooking shows gained popularity
and Boos Block cutting boards were front and center
stage. During the same era, Dr. Dean Cliver renewed
interest in wood cutting boards with his Sanitation
Study – Wood vs. Plastic!
On the commercial front of the business, John
Boos & Co. began further expansion of stainless steel
fabrication with the manufacturing of stainless steel
sinks for one of the largest supermarket chains in the
U.S.A. The chain remains an important customer still
to this day.
With a broader scope of manufacturing capabilities
to the foodservice trade, the avenue was paved for John
Boos & Co. to begin the roll-out of stainless equipment
for stadiums and arenas. The stadium concession
stands were equipped with stainless products. Several
years later, Boos Block® hard rock maple cutting
boards and commercial butcher block tops would find
their way into the same venues.
John Boos & Co. launched
in the 90’s and began their growing product market
on-line. Boos customers began marketing and selling
these same products through their own web sites.
and his son
John, cut their
Block from a
and named it
after his son
sells JB&C to
John F. Boos is
elected the 1st
President of the
on Jefferson St
and was rebuilt.
7 years later,
to a different
South 1st St.
to grow its
as 80% of
WWII to equip
by adding a
dry kiln, more
its 1st Stainless
grow in the
industry as well
down and is
to meet the
& seizes new
Both wood & metal
Reels Of Change
in the kitchen
w/ Boos’ Cucina
kitchen carts &