On Oct. 28, 2006, the Haws Corporation officially celebrated its 100th anniversary at a gala event held at the Siena Hotel Spa & Casino in Reno, NV. The black-tie event was attended by 350 Haws customers, sales representatives, past and present employees, suppliers and other special guests.

Beyond the regal setting, sumptuous cuisine, live musical entertainment and libation, guests were treated to a special “Hall of Haws” display. This unique exhibit unveiled, for the first time ever, the company’s product museum of vintage Haws plumbing and emergency equipment products assembled into a living timeline of Haws’ innovation throughout the years. That display also was supported by a 1,900-slide video tribute to the generations of “Haws people” who have been focused on quality, value and customer satisfaction.

Highlighting the evening was an appearance by the company’s founder, Luther Haws (portrayed phenomenally by actor Larry Elliott), the inventor of the first commercial drinking fountain. Luther Haws’ invention became the core product of the Haws Sanitary Drinking Faucet Company after his original invention in 1906.

Luther Haws walked the assembled guests through the history of the company, supported by museum products and appropriate visual references.

(left to right) David Kirwin, Berkeley School District (Customer of the Century); Jean Beaudoin, Can Aqua Intl. (International Distributor of the Century); Sallie Haws, president of Haws Corp.; David Hutchins, Specifications Sales (Representative of the Century); Bruce Pickering, Cal Steam (Distributor of the Century); and Jim Ortale, Commercial Enameling Company (Vendor of the Century).<

Century Awards also were presented during the formal program and included:
  • Customer of the Century. The Berkeley Unified School District-Berkeley, CA
  • Vendor of the Century. Commercial Enameling Company (CECO)–Southern California
  • Domestic Representative of the Century. Specification Sales-Southern California
  • Distributor of the Century. Cal Steam–Hayward, CA
  • International Distributor of the Century. Can Aqua-Quebec Canada
  • Global Sales Excellence. Modern Plant-Dublin, Ireland

Jackie Haws and husband Terry Haws (chairman emeritus) pose with Luther Haws (actor Larry Elliott, right).

A Brief History of Haws

Luther Haws was a self-employed master plumber and sheet metal contractor as well as a sanitation inspector for the city of Berkeley, CA. In 1905, while on his rounds at a public school, Luther noticed children drinking from a shared tin cup.

This unsanitary though typical arrangement inspired the inventor in him. Using available parts, Luther Haws assembled the world’s first drinking faucet. The Berkeley School Department loved the idea and installed the first models.

In 1909, Luther formed the Haws Sanitary Drinking Faucet Company, located in Berkeley, and obtained several patents. Thirsty Californians soon discovered Luther’s label on his fountains: “Haws Sanitary Drinking Faucet Company, Berkeley, California, Patent 1911.” In the 1940s, the range of products was expanded to include emergency equipment.

In Sept. 1984, the subsidiary company Haws AG was formed and located in Kirchberg BE. In August 1995, Haws AG moved to Burgdorf (Bachweg 3), Switzerland. From this location, Haws AG attends to and works intensely in the European, Middle Eastern and African markets. The primary products of Haws AG are emergency equipment for chemical plants, petrochemical and all forms of production plants with dangerous/hazardous workstations.

Haws AG also takes an active part in the domain of drinking fountains and water coolers.

In 1996, Haws Corp. completed construction and moved into a new 210,000-sq.-ft. facility in Sparks, NV. Haws products are manufactured at this technologically advanced facility. From here and its other manufacturing sites (in Burgdorf, Switzerland and Singapore, which serves the Pacific Rim market), Haws products are shipped worldwide.