Culligan Logo The Culligan brand logo.

You’ll find Culligan's humble beginnings in 1936 inside a small blacksmith shop in Northbrook, IL, owned by founder Emmet Culligan. Emmet had created his own water filter by running water through a coffee can filled with greensand with tiny holes poked through the bottom. Later, he discovered that the process not only filtered the water, but it also acted as a water softener. Since then, water softening technology has been one of Culligan’s specialties.

Today, the Culligan company is privately owned by the investment firm, Clayton, Dublier, and Rice. There are over 700 Culligan dealers in North America and they provide water filtration parts and services within over 90 countries around the world.

Many refrigerators that use Culligan water filters currently use GE brand water filters, specifically the MXRC filter or the GE MWF filter along with the GE filter adapter. Culligan found a place in American pop culture through a television and radio ad campaign first made famous in 1959. In this campaign, a woman (typically a housewife) in need of cleaner water will cry out, "Hey, Culligan man!" This phrase has been a part of many Culligan advertisements ever since.