Cole-Parmer's History

When partners Jerry Cole and John Parmer founded Cole-Parmer in 1955, they were businessmen on a mission. They had no budget for personal salaries; no budget to hire additional employees. Instead, the pair poured their money into catalog advertising and inventory, and took up shop in a 1,200-square-foot loft on West Illinois Street in downtown Chicago. The two founders had a strategy so perfect in its simplicity they were certain they could not fail to form a company dedicated to providing the best possible customer service and technical assistance while offering the broadest selection of products available.

The company's steady growth allowed Cole-Parmer to expand to a 12,000-square-foot location in 1960, and to a 47,000-square-foot facility eight years later. That same year, Cole-Parmer purchased Barnant Company makers of world-renowned Masterflex® peristaltic pumps which was followed by the purchases of Gilmont® Instruments and Manostat® Pumps. Each acquisition was an effort to improve upon the selection of products offered to customers and to provide the ability to directly fill orders at reasonable prices.

In 1972, the company sought to better service its overseas customers by forming an International Division that today includes more than 80 international dealers in more than 160 markets. This was followed by the establishment in 1989 of Labcor Ltd. (now Cole-Parmer Canada Company) in Montreal, and later, Cole-Parmer U.K. in London, and Cole-Parmer India in Mumbai.

The strategy devised by Cole and Parmer decades ago lives on. It is the heart of the Cole-Parmer mission statement and the reason Cole-Parmer remains a thriving, ever-expanding entity dedicated to customer service. Today, Cole-Parmer ensures prompt delivery to customers through a state-of-the-art, 155,000-square-foot distribution center at its Vernon Hills, Illinois location. It has a thriving Web presence serving customers worldwide, and continues to expand in the global market.

Truly, the history of Cole-Parmer is a continuing success story. Cole-Parmer continues to depend upon our customers for support. In turn, customers know they can depend upon Cole-Parmer for unique products, exceptional service, and technical support.