Our 100 Year History

Over its history, Hentzen Coatings has grown from a simple paint manufacturing company into a recognized leader of liquid and powder coatings. Still a family business, Hentzen Coatings’ department roots in chemical engineering have led to more than a century of innovative, high-quality, customized coatings for the aerospace, defense and general industrial markets. With operations in Wisconsin, Illinois, South Carolina, Florida and Queretaro, Hentzen continues to demonstrate its commitment to employees, the community and the environment.

1919–1922: Herbert & Erwin Hentzen entered the paint industry.


Brothers Herbert D. Hentzen, Sr. and Erwin A. Hentzen graduated from UWMadison with degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering; then began their lifetime careers in the paint industry. Herbert at DuPont Paint; Erwin for O’Neill Oil & Paint Company.

1923: Erwin left O’Neill Paint


Erwin left O’Neill Paint. With the help of his father, Albert L. Hentzen, Sr. as financial advisor and investor, Erwin began his own paint business as a proprietorship in rented space in a toy factory on N. 40th Street—next door to the family home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1924: Herbert joined Erwin to form WISCO-Hentzen


Herbert joined Erwin to form Wisconsin Paint Manufacturing with the trade name of WISCO-Hentzen.

1926: A new, larger facility built


A new, larger facility was built at 3710 N. Richards Street in Milwaukee. The location included offices, R&D and production facilities to meet increasing customer demand.


The first customers for industrial coatings were the Milwaukee Trunk Works and a major diesel engine manufacturer.

1933: Milwaukee Scrip used to pay employees


At times, Milwaukee Scrip was used as currency to pay employees during the Depression.

1935: Additional factory and manufacturing space built


Additional factory and manufacturing space were built at the Richards Street site.

1937: WISCO sold from tradename


The company sold the WISCO portion of the trade name and Hentzen became the sole trade name on products sold by Wisconsin Paint Manufacturing Co.

1942–1945: Camouflage paints developed during WWII


During WWII, the U.S. Army used the Hentzen facility as a test center for paints and development of camouflage paints. The company was presented the U.S. Army Ordinance Award for Outstanding Contribution— one of only two presented to members of the coating industry after the war.

1946: Hentzen Paints and Laquers
1946: facilities expanded


Offices and manufacturing facilities were expanded at the Richards Street site. A hand-operated rope elevator was replaced with hydraulics, and shipping/receiving docks were added.

1950s: Herbert’s sons
1950s: Herbert’s sons


Herbert’s sons—Herbert D., Jr., William R. and Albert L. (all UW-Madison graduates)—begin their careers at the company.


Albert L. Hentzen, Sr., who served as a Vice President of the company, passed. He was acknowledged for his financial guidance from the beginning. Hentzen never took out a commercial loan until 1957.

1957: Erwin A. Hentzen retired


Erwin A. Hentzen retired and sold his interest to Herbert D., Jr. as sole owner.

1960: Five acres purchased for corporate headquarters


The company purchased five vacant acres on West Mill Road in Milwaukee—current headquarters.

1963: Manufacturing facilities constructed


Manufacturing facilities were constructed on the Mill Road property.

1965: Facilities consolidated at corporate headquarters
1965: R&D at corporate headquarters


Offices, an R&D laboratory and additional manufacturing capacity were consolidated at the Mill Road headquarters.

1967: Hentzen celebrating 50 years
1967: Name changed to Hentzen Chemical Coatings, Inc.


The name of the company changed to Hentzen Chemical Coatings, Inc. to better position the company’s name recognition on a national basis.

1982: Corporate name changed to Hentzen Coatings Inc.


Corporate name changes to the current Hentzen Coatings Inc.

1988: Six Mill Road facility additions
1988: Square footage increased to approximately 125,000 square feet.


By 1988, six additions had been added to the Mill Road facility to bring overall square footage to approximately 125,000 square feet.

1991: Recognized by US Army Material Command


U.S. Army Material Command recognizes Hentzen Coatings for outstanding service during Operation Desert Storm and the first Gulf War.

1994: Hentzen begins manufacturing powder coatings


Hentzen began manufacturing powder coatings.

1995: Sub Supplier of the Year Award


Hentzen received the “Sub Supplier of the Year Award” from the Small Business Administration for Region V from among 20,000 candidates.

1997: Albert L. Hentzen, Sr. carries on company


Herbert D. and William R. sold their interest in Hentzen Coatings to Albert L., grandson of Albert L. Hentzen, Sr., who would carry on the family company and heritage.

1999: Meeting the demands of a growing powder market
1999: New powder manufacturing building


A new powder manufacturing building was constructed on Mill Road to meet capacity demands of the growing powder coating market.

2000: Steven and Michael Hentzen join the company.


Albert’s sons, Steven and Michael—both Marquette lawyers and UW-Madison undergraduates—joined the company. This was the start of the fourth generation of Hentzen family members joining the company. By 2005, Albert’s son, Timothy, a graduate of UW-Milwaukee, also joined the company.

2003: Acquired Aerospace Products Division of Adheron Coatings Corp.


Acquired Aerospace Products Division of Adheron Coatings Corp., Oak Forest, Illinois. Manufacturing and R&D were transitioned to the Hentzen Milwaukee production facilities and laboratory.

2004: Acquired BASF's coatings manufacturing and R&D facilities


Acquired BASF’s coatings manufacturing and R&D facilities in Batavia, Illinois. The 80,000 sq. ft. facility included offices, laboratories, a warehouse and production facilities. Hentzen also acquired BASF’s container and pipe coatings business, including the SteriKote™ trademark.

2008: Milwaukee facility improvements
2008: Milwaukee facility improvements


Major improvements were made to Milwaukee offices, laboratories and production facilities. An additional 80,000 sq. ft. centralized distribution center is renovated and modernized.

2010: Axon Products acquired
Star Hentzen India


Acquired Axon Products in Greenville, South Carolina to broaden product lines in aerospace and specialty wood finishes.

Hentzen formed a joint venture, Star Hentzen, in Fort Mumbai, India, to further its position in aerospace and defense markets.

2011: Major remodeling


Hentzen Liquid Research, Development and Innovation Laboratories in Milwaukee, underwent major remodeling and expansion.

2013: Hentzen Mexico opened
2013: CrossLink Powder Coatings acquired


Mexico operations begin under wholly owned subsidiary Hentzen De Mexico S. de R.L. De C.V. Distribution and support service center opened in Queretaro, Mexico.

Acquired CrossLink Powder Coatings, including its laboratory and production facilities, in Clearwater, Florida.

2015: U.S. patent for CARC coating
2015: CARC powder coating application


Awarded first U.S. Patent for CARC powder coating.

2017: new state-of-the-art powder coating plant


Purchased 120,000 square foot facility in Milwaukee, WI and developed into state-of-the-art powder coatings research, development and manufacturing facility.

2019: facility opened in Nanjing, China
2019: CARC coating application


The Hentzen New Materials Co. Ltd. manufacturing, research and distribution center opened in Nanjing, China.

Hentzen awarded U.S. Patent for CARC water-reducible coating.