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The History Of Kusel Equipment Co.

How many companies do you know that have celebrated over 100 years in business? 125?  150?  How many businesses do you know that have been operating 171 years? Well if you’re up on your Kusel Equipment Co. history you know at least 1.

In 2020 Kusel is celebrating 171 years in business while the state where we are located, Wisconsin, is celebrating its 172nd anniversary.  There aren’t too many companies in the US that can say they have been operating this long, and its this history and tradition that are cornerstones of our business today.

Our founder, Daniel Kusel Sr., immigrated to Watertown, Wisconsin from Grabow, Germany in 1849.  Those of you that know your US history will remember that the State of Wisconsin became the 30th state in the union in 1848. Daniel came to Watertown with skills in the tinwear trade and he saw an opportunity to expand his business and experience by opening his shop later in 1849. He serviced the entire Watertown community including the lucrative dairy industry.

Fast forward 14 years, during the height of the Civil War, Daniel’s son Fredrick is a Captain in Watertown’s Company E, 20th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.  One year later Daniel Sr. retires and hands the reigns of his business to sons Fredrick and Daniel Jr.  Fredrick and Daniel are eager to put their stamp on the business.  They change the business’ name to D & F Kusel and begin to focus on manufacturing and hardware sales.

By 1938 D & F Kusel is having success focusing on these two business channels. The decision is made to separate the channels into two entities, D & F Kusel remains a hardware store servicing Watertown and surrounding communities.  The manufacturing business is renamed, Kusel Dairy Equipment. By 1949 the companies celebrate 100 years in business!

Its 1973 and the Kusel family has made the decision to move on from Kusel Dairy Equipment.  Enter Robert Elfline and Gary Smith.  Robert and Gary purchase Kusel Dairy Equipment and by 1975 they rename the company Kusel Equipment Co.  By 1977 Gary and his wife Jan acquire 100% ownership of Kusel Equipment Co.  With the 1980s approaching, Kusel Equipment Co. is in a position for expansion and growth.

1984 brings the debut of Kusel Equipment Co.’s stainless-steel drainage business line. Kusel is now a diversified manufacturer offering cheese making equipment and a line of sanitary drains.

Today, the Smith family remains at the helm of Kusel Equipment Co.  While 2020 has brought many challenges and opportunities that most of us have never seen.  Kusel, as an organization, has weathered civil war, world wars, 2 pandemics, a depression, and a host of other challenges at city, state, and regional levels.  No matter the environment, the Kusel team is here to help with whatever you need, whenever you need it.

For a complete timeline of significant events in Kusel’s history visit

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