History

William Grote founded the company through a lens of original thinking and visionary leadership. In 1922, Grote embarked on a program of research and development that has led the industry in vehicle safety equipment and carried on the innovative spirit with breakthrough designs and processes.

Today, the road is filled with cars and trucks using Grote lighting components, and the nation’s highways are safer thanks to Grote safety systems. In fact, Grote pioneered many of the manufacturing processes that we take for granted today in America.

William Grote founded the company through a lens of original thinking and visionary leadership. Early in the life of the growing young company, William Grote demonstrated his capacity for innovation.

William Grote
1901: Founded

The nation’s first injection-molded plastic products are introduced by William’s son, Walter F. Grote, Sr., and the company’s focus shifts to making products for the automotive market.

1922

The first fully automatic plastic-injection molding machine is introduced, along with the world’s first retro-reflective reflector, the universal basis for today’s reflectors.

1929

Grote is responsible for the first commercially-available injection molding material.

1936

Grote engineers develop the Turtle-Back Marker Lamp, the industry’s first all non-metallic lamp, as well as the first no-splice wiring system.

World's first impact-resistant lights
1965

Grote expands into Canada.

Grote Waterloo Canada
1976

Grote introduces the industry’s first repairable, long-life lamp.

trosion mount III oval stop tail turn light female yellow turn
1977

Grote brings the world’s first modular trailer wiring system, Ultra Blue Seal®, to the market.

1983

Grote introduces the world's first LED marker light.

1989

Grote Electronics is founded in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, with an emphasis on high technology, long service life and increased efficiency for Grote’s LED products and sophisticated tractor-to-trailer communications systems, meeting the needs of the dynamic heavy truck industry.

1992

Grote expands into Mexico.

Grote Latin America
1993

Grote introduces the first refrigerated trailer fluorescent lamp.

1998

First HID/HIR headlamp for the heavy truck industry.

2001

First solid-state electronic turn signal switch.

2002

First LED license plate lamp with active reflector optics.

2002

Grote is the first manufacturer in the industry to receive TS16949 certification.

2003

First LED Forward Lighting on the road.

2004

First all-LED military signal lighting.

2005

First all-LED military interior tactical lighting.

2006

First all-LED high-powered driving light (exceeds HID).

2007

Introduction of the next-generation J 560 Ultra-Box Receptacle.

2007

Grote expands to Asia.

Grote Asia
2007

Introduction of LED WhiteLight™ exterior work lamps and interior dome lamp.

2008

First all-LED tactical interior lighting offerings.

2008

Introduction of infrared motion-activated LED interior dome lamps.

2008

Introduction of LightForm™ Technology.

2009

Grote expands to Europe.

Grote Europe
2009

Introduction of the Trilliant® 36 LED WhiteLight™ Conversion Bulb, which converts Par 36 incandescent lamps to LED.

2010

Grote starts manufacturing its own coil cords.

ABS Coil Cords
2010

Introduction of MicroNova® DOT marker lamp.

Grote Micronova Dots
2011

Grote introduces 4-inch round and 6-inch oval 4-in-1 stop-tail-turn lights with integrated backup function.

4 inch round LED stop tail turn with back up light
2015

In this day of mega-mergers and absentee ownership, Grote customers can still call the main office and talk to Mr. Grote. In fact, there are quite a few Grotes working in all aspects of the business. The tradition of strong customer service has been passed on directly from one generation to the next—and to all Grote employees—helping to deliver complete customer satisfaction. In a very real sense, the history of Grote Industries is still being written every day.

Bill Grote, John Grote, Dominic Grote, and Mike Grote
Today