Cornelius History


With America struggling against the Depression, the modest surroundings of a family basement in Minneapolis, USA, become the setting for Richard Cornelius to begin the company which still bears his name - a business that has since become one of the best-known names in the global drinks dispense industry.


The company's breakthrough invention, a unique Diaphragm Compressor, is developed.


Cornelius introduces the first foam-free draught system and approaches the US beer industry, which, so impressed with the device and the company's achievements, then selects Cornelius as its main supplier of beer faucets. This is sustained until the Second World War when the company is especially called upon to help in the war effort with the manufacture of military equipment.

By now Cornelius has designed three new air compressors, earning special acknowledgement from the US Department of Defence for its work developing pneumatic systems for military aircraft.

The Late 1940's

Continuing the development of aviation equipment but empowered with Government recognition and growing engineering and design expertise, Cornelius focuses its energies once again on the beverage marketplace.

The Early 1950's

The soft drinks industry is booming. Determined to take full advantage, Cornelius gets to work designing a brand new kind of valve - one that would revolutionise the industry and turn Cornelius into one of its elite suppliers. Cornelius adds such names as Coca-Cola, Seven-Up, Canada Dry, Royal Crown and Dr Pepper to its fast growing list of prestigious clients.

Late 1950's

Continuing its rich vein of expansion and rapidly gaining widespread market recognition, Cornelius introduces a wide range of drinks accessory products including stainless steel tanks, plastic tubing, cold plates and electric refrigeration units.


Cornelius reaffirms its commitment to the beverage dispense industry with the sale of the Aero Division and, with rapid expansion into Canada, Europe and South America, Cornelius sets about becoming a multi-national brand.

The 1970's

Growth and an expanding global presence continues apace throughout the 1970s and, as the countertop revolution begins, so too does another new chapter in Cornelius history. Through developing electronic control systems for such applications, Cornelius extends its burgeoning reputation for innovation and excellence, and - building offices and factories in several major countries - continues its global expansion.


Controlling interest of Cornelius is bought by Jeno Palucci.


Cornelius joins forces with globally renowned drinks dispensing company, IMI, creating the IMI Cornelius Group. This huge merger allows Cornelius to spread its manufacturing base still further a field - moving into fast-growing markets such as Australia, New Zealand, China, Bengal, Brazil, Spain and Germany and consolidating its hugely successful operations in the USA and Great Britain.


IMI Plc rights issue generates the funds for IMI to purchase remaining Cornelius shares.

Cornelius makes several acquisitions; bringing names such as Ross Temp, Coldflow, MK Refrigeration, Gaskell & Chambers and Silverwing under the Cornelius banner, further strengthening its position and providing even greater global coverage.

1996 to 2000

Further acquisitions are made including British-based Objex Ltd and the US's highly respected Wilshire Corporation. Group turnover now stands at almost £1.5 billion with IMI Cornelius alone well in excess of £300 million.


IMI Cornelius continues to cement its position as the world's undisputed leader in drinks dispenses systems. Boasting Global representation in 49 countries, an unrivalled international spread of cooling and dispensing businesses, a peerless product range and a sales and support network of thousands, still further expansion is promised as Cornelius' reputation as the marketplace's only truly global supplier continues to grow. Global brand promise . . . delivered locally.


IMI Cornelius' innovative work with a special focus on environmental issues, improved energy efficiency and responsible business practices contributes to the registration of the IMI Group within the 2008 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).


Cornelius 80th anniversary!

Furthermore, Cornelius is now successfully operating on the European market for 50 years. We want to take this opportunity to thank you for the years of loyalty and trust which you have given to us and ensure you we will continue to work responsibly and innovatively for your added value.


Cornelius became part of the Marmon Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, the largest financial services company in the world and owner of some of the recognized brands in the world.