Our History


So what happened in 1895?

Grover Cleveland was president

The first professional football game was played in Latrobe, Pennsylvania

The first U.S. patent for an automobile is granted to George B. Selden, not Henry Ford.

And a few years before this, Joseph Wolkerstorfer left Austria with his family and ultimately opened a modest paint shop under his name.

Wolkerstorfer Company was incorporated in the Greater Minneapolis / St. Paul area of Minnesota in 1895. Our initial offerings involved custom painting of barber poles, penny farthings and window detailing for company names and services.

We acquired Nelson Plating in approximately 1918.  In doing so we expanded our offerings and became the first privately held company in the Midwest to perform both painting and plating in one facility and still do so today.

The business continued to prosper, being passed from generation to generation, making a number of physical plant moves to accommodate customer demand and growth.  One of those moves found us at the corner of 3rd Street and Chicago Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, and in time we purchased a second facility at 4th and Chicago.  Painting was now provided at the 3rd Street facility and plating at the 4th Street.  The construction of the Metrodome football stadium in 1978 caused 4th Street to be redirected – right through the plating facility.  And with that we made our final move.  We purchased the 20,000 square foot casting finishing facility formerly owned by Kausel Foundry. We added on to the original building and now have 83,000 square feet under roof of industrial processing space located on just over six acres. 

During the 1970s and ‘80s there was a strong demand from the architectural and commercial industries.  Wolkerstorfer Company responded, providing a number of traditional plating processes as well as wet and powder coatings.  In that era you would have found us nickel plating Allen wrenches or applying custom paint colors on window and door frames.  Perhaps you would recognize them – Target™ red and Honda™ blue were two of our stock colors.

In an effort to differentiate and create a niche market for ourselves, we developed a strategic business plan change in the mid 1990’s that shifted the company’s focus to light metals finishing for aerospace and defense.  The services currently offered include nondestructive testing, chemical processing, and paint.  In addition, we are Nadcap certified and have many prime contractor approvals, including but not limited to: Boeing, Raytheon, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter, Airbus and Rolls Royce.   

We are an environmentally conscientious company.  Our efforts were recognized by the state of MN and we were presented with the Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention. 

Celebrating 129 years as a 4th generation family owned business, and offering a management team with unmatched expertise in finishing and testing, we believe we have something no one else has to offer.

Let us show you how we do things…

The “Wolkerstorfer Way” – Exceptional quality with responsive lead times.