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Learn about Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove's rich heritage - from early beginnings to becoming a luxury kitchen design icon.

The Sub-Zero Story

Westye Bakke began experimenting with refrigeration in the 1930s searching for a reliable way to store insulin his young son.
When Westye Bakke began experimenting with refrigeration in the 1930s, he was, in part, searching for a reliable way to store insulin—his young son, Bud, needed it to manage his juvenile diabetes.
Westye launched Sub-Zero Freezer Company in 1945, introducing the first system for preserving food at ultra-low temperatures, literally sub-zero.
In 1943, Westye built his first freestanding freezer out of scrap metal in his basement, bending the coils by hand.
Westye launched Sub-Zero Freezer Company in 1945, introducing the first system for preserving food at ultra-low temperatures, literally sub-zero.
Westye launched Sub-Zero Freezer Company in 1945, 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.
“When my grandfather started the business in 1945 there were many, many refrigeration manufacturers throughout North America,” says Jim Bakke, Westye’s grandson and the current president of Sub-Zero. “His strategy was always to build the best, highest-quality refrigeration, because he knew if he did that, he had the staying power that the other people didn’t. If you build a quality product, you will always have customers."

Fresh Innovation

Staying true to Westye’s earliest pioneering efforts, Sub-Zero continues to refine and invent ways to preserve your food’s freshness and reduce waste.


We pioneered a dual refrigeration system with separate cooling systems for the refrigerator and freezer. This prevents hasty spoilage of fresh food and minimizes freezer burn.


Sub-Zero refrigerators come with an air purification system (based on technology developed by NASA) that scrubs the air of ethylene and odor every 20 minutes.


The very doors on a Sub-Zero refrigerator are made with preservation in mind. The seals are so secure that some owners report no thawing of frozen foods after multi-day power outages.

An icon in design

At Sub-Zero, function has always preceded form, but that has not stopped our designs from becoming some of the most imitated—like the bold look of the louvered grille over our dual compressors.

Through the years, Sub-Zero has expanded its design leadership with integrated refrigeration that blends in seamlessly with your décor. Your kitchen can be anything you imagine thanks to the countless choices of Sub-Zero.

Our innovative built-in design approach impressed legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who commissioned Sub-Zero appliances for the visionary homes he designed.

Chef using an older Wolf Gas Range for modern kitchen recipes.
Sub-Zero BI-36U Stainless Steel Built In Over and Under Refrigerator Freezer
An original Wolf Range Vintage Gas Range from Compton California.
Historical Wolf Range from the 1950s.

Built to last

Inspired by Westye’s desire to build the best, Sub-Zero has never compromised on quality. The materials, premium grade; the technologies, state of the art; the craftsmanship, of the caliber expected in the world’s finest homes.


Our products are built in our own Wisconsin and Arizona facilities, where we control every step of the manufacturing process.


Our appliances are designed to last a minimum of 20 years. Major components are subjected to extreme stress tests prior to going into the final design, and every major function on every unit is tested before shipping.


We stand by our products with industry-leading warranties, a best-in-class customer service team of experts in Madison, Wisconsin, and a network of hand-selected and trained installers and service technicians.

Wolf brings decades of professional cooking expertise to the home

In 2000, Sub-Zero introduced Wolf cooking appliances, bringing professional temperature control into the hands of home cooks with an impressive fifty-product launch. Refined by more than eight decades of commercial kitchen experience, the technology, durability, and design of Wolf make it the ideal kitchen companion to Sub-Zero.
Sub-Zero has been making history with best in class Refrigeration and  Freezers since the 1950s.
Sub-Zero Upright Roundtop Freezer 1950s
Sub-Zero has been delivering custom panel ready refrigerators and freezers beginning in the 1950s.
Sub-Zero 30" Designer Over and Under Refrigerator Freezer with Ice Maker and Internal Dispenser shown Panel Ready in a clean and crisp kitchen design.

Cove dishwashing completes the kitchen

In 2018, Sub-Zero introduced Cove dishwashing, the culmination of decades of research, testing, and technology to ensure sparkling clean and dry dishes with every wash. Like Wolf, Cove was created in the same spirit of quality and innovation as Sub-Zero—and similarly serves as a single-focused kitchen specialist.

The iconic luxury kitchen appliance package featuring Wolf Dual Fuel Range, Sub-Zero 48" Pro Refrigerator Freezer and Cove 24" Dishwasher.
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