In the fall of 1960, Howard Knaack began building jobsite storage tool boxes in a small, one-room shop in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Mr. Knaack's main outlet for these boxes was a tool supply distributor owned by his partners named Brock Tool Company. In 1962, Mr. Knaack began setting up a nationwide distribution network of contractor supply houses. In 1968, Knaack LLC. moved to its current location at 420 E. Terra Cotta Ave., in Crystal Lake, Illinois, with a new 16,000 sq. ft. facility.
In the late 1960s, Mr. Knaack was looking to expand his product offerings to the contractor trade and recognized the need for a high-quality truck tool box. In 1968, Knaack LLC. purchased the rights to build WEATHER GUARD® Truck Equipment, a truck tool box line consisting of approximately 10 different models, from a sheet metal contractor in St. Louis, Missouri. He continued to build these boxes in St. Louis until 1971, when Knaack LLC. doubled its manufacturing capacity. The new addition included the first wash system to clean the steel and a bake oven to bake on enamel paint required on the WEATHER GUARD® Boxes. In 1973, the entire line of WEATHER GUARD® Tool Boxes was redesigned with features needed by the contractor markets that they served. Many of these innovations soon became the standard in the industry and were eventually copied by other truck tool box manufacturers.
Always looking for new products, Hi-Side Boxes, UnderBed Boxes and van equipment items were introduced in the mid-70s. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, the company expanded product offerings in the truck and van storage equipment lines. In 1981, a powder coating system was added to its facility for WEATHER GUARD® Product Lines, making the company one of the first in its industry to offer the benefits of a TGIC Polyester Powder Coating. Also in the early '80s, gas pistons were added to WEATHER GUARD® Truck Boxes, making them easier to open and close, therefore being safer to use than previous versions or competitors' models.
In the early 1980s, major additions were made to the WEATHER GUARD® Truck and Van Storage Equipment lines. In truck equipment, saddle boxes, super lo-side boxes, and super side boxes were added to the truck equipment line along with an expanded line of underbed boxes and truck ladder racks. In van equipment, the line was expanded to include knockdown shelving, small and medium size parts bins, expanded ladder rack offerings and also an expanded bulkhead offering. This product expansion enabled the company to expand its base of users to include municipalities, utilities, fleets, etc.
The business grew dramatically through the 1980s along with its distribution base and end users. The product offerings also grew significantly with the introduction of aluminum saddle boxes and the market's switch to aluminum.
In the early 1990s, WEATHER GUARD® Truck Boxes were again redesigned to increase security, safety and durability for its end users. It incorporated many items that its users are accustomed to with the automotive industry. High-quality automotive-style locks and latches were added along with other major changes. This again set WEATHER GUARD® Truck Equipment apart from its competition.
In 2012 Werner Co. announced that it had acquired 100% of the ownership of Knaack LLC. The acquisition brought the industry leading KNAACK® and WEATHER GUARD® brands, which created a product portfolio that can collectively leverage the broader company networks in manufacturing, distribution, sales and marketing.