Innovators at 7 Tide: Sub-Zero & Wolf

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Innovators at 7 Tide: Sub-Zero & Wolf

In 1997, Steve Jobs told Business Week, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Several years later, he said, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

It’s that spirit of innovation in the A + D community that 7 Tide’s top-tier brands embody and support. Today, we’ll give you an important insight into Sub-Zero and Wolf, the company that has been the pinnacle of innovation in kitchen technology since the 1940s. There’s no doubt that many have impersonated their products, yet they continue to be the industry’s benchmark for quality appliances. In fact, they are the last privately held, high-end appliance manufacturer in North America. How does that happen? Constant innovation.

This year Sub-Zero celebrates its 70th Anniversary. Let’s take a look at why they are considered the best of the best.


When Westye Bakke began experimenting with refrigeration in the 1930s, it was in part to find a better way to store the insulin his young son Bud needed for his juvenile diabetes. Existing freezers didn’t do a reliable job of preserving food, medicine and other necessities. Westye set out to find a better way.

In the late 1930s, legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright hired
young Bakke to help design custom refrigeration for his homes.

In 1943, Westye Bakke built his first freestanding freezer out of scrap metal in his basement, bending the coils barehanded. And in 1945, he launched Sub-Zero Freezer Company, introducing the first system for preserving food at ultra-low temperatures – literally sub-zero. The company would quickly establish a reputation for quality and innovation.


In the 1950s, Sub-Zero invented the built-in refrigeration category.

The cabinet-depth, flush-mounted look associated with Sub-Zero has lasted since the fifties and has been emulated by others ever since. During this period, the company also pioneered dual refrigeration – separate sealed systems for refrigerator and freezer, which made fishy ice cubes a thing of the past.

The sixties decade introduced the phrase “Sub-Zero kitchen” into the American real estate lexicon as shorthand for “a home that gets all the high-end details right.”

Ten years later, the company took innovation to the next level, leading the way in engineering products that are energy efficient. Today, the average Sub-Zero consumes less energy than a 75-watt light bulb.


During the 1990s, Sub-Zero introduced the disappearing refrigerator.

With their revolutionary integrated designs, Sub-Zero provided architects and designers with a way to blend refrigerators and freezers seamlessly into the decor. In addition, they finished the decade by introducing the first wine storage system that does more than cool the bottles – it protects wine from UV light, vibration and improper humidity.

Sub-Zero acquired the residential side of Wolf, a legend in commercial kitchens
at the dawn of the new millennium.

Within just a few years, Wolf raced to the top of homeowners’ wish lists for cooking equipment. With the dual fuel range, convection steam oven and dozens of other innovative models, Wolf showed that innovation is the hallmark of both sides of this business – food preservation and cooking.

In 2008, Sub-Zero adapted technology used by NASA
to introduce antimicrobial air purification.


And, if that all wasn’t enough, in the past three years Sub-Zero and Wolf have rolled out the largest collection of new products ever in the appliance industry. New technologies. New decor possibilities. New ways to use refrigeration anywhere from patio to kitchen to bathroom or home gym. They are now known as the long-life brands, engineered and tested to perform beautifully through 20-plus years of heavy use, loved by discerning architects, designers and homeowners alike.

7 Tide is home to Clarke, New England’s Official Sub-Zero & Wolf Showroom and Test Kitchen. To get an up-close look at these innovative appliances and learn all you need to know before you go to an authorized dealer, click here.