Guardian Glass Company: From humble beginnings to a global presence


Guardian Glass Company was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1932. The company’s 20 employees produced roughly 100 laminated windshields a day in a plant on Detroit’s Lower East Side. Its only equipment was a press used for laminating glass to the interlayer; all other work was done manually. Sales during the company’s first year totaled $130,000.

Guardian adopted the logo incorporating a big G surrounding a knight on a horse. The logo represented security and protection against wind, weather and debris that Guardian windshields gave to drivers and passengers of vehicles.

During World War II, Guardian was producing millions of square feet of laminated glass for windshields in trucks, jeeps and other military vehicles. In the early 1950s, Guardian began production of curved, laminated windshields and in 1970, Guardian became the first company to enter the U.S. primary glass industry in nearly 50 years when production started at a new plant in Carleton, Mich.

Guardian’s history of progressive management, innovative thinking and steady growth continued. Today, Guardian operates plants on five continents and our products and systems grace vehicles, homes and construction projects all over the world. Our vision is to create long-term value for our customers, shareholders and society more efficiently and faster than our competitors through commercial and operational excellence and the application of Market-Based Management®.

Koch Industries, Inc. completes the acquisition of Guardian Industries Corp.


Koch Industries, Inc. announced that it completed the acquisition of Guardian Industries Corp. following the receipt of all regulatory approvals. Koch initially invested in Guardian in 2012, acquiring a 44.5 percent minority interest in the company at the time.

Guardian brings new capabilities and expertise to Koch in several highly technical manufacturing and distribution industries. In addition to being one of the world’s largest producers of float, value‐added and fabricated glass products, Guardian is also a leader both in high‐value coatings on plastics for the automotive industry and the distribution of specialty building products.

“Guardian began in 1932 as a small windshield company in Detroit and has since become an established leader, proudly serving a global customer base in multiple industries,” said Ron Vaupel, president and CEO of Guardian. “The combination of Guardian’s expertise and Koch’s existing capabilities and infrastructure provides a tremendous opportunity for all of us to create more value for our customers and the communitiesin which we operate.”

“Koch Industries’ philosophy is to invest in companies where there is mutual benefit for both entities as well as their customers,” said Charles Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries. “Our capabilities will help Guardian better serve their customers, while their industry‐specific experience and expertise will bolster Koch’s operations. Although we’ve worked with Guardian since 2012, I believe our progress together has just scratched the surface.”

With the addition of Guardian, Koch companies now employ more than 120,000 people worldwide, with about 70,000 of those in the United States. Guardian companies have nearly 150 locations in more than 25 countries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.