1920
1930
1940
1950
1960

1920

Every great story has a beginning. Ours starts with Ed’s birth. From an early age Ed showed a curiosity for life that would later turn entrepreneurial. 

1930

Ed was a thinker and a tinkerer. As he matured he was keen to spot opportunities around him. Never afraid to hustle, his work ethic and moral compass were setting him on a path for future business success.

1940

Ed Lowe entered the Navy in 1942 and continued his entrepreneurial journey by selling labeling stamps to his crewmates while in the service. After leaving the Navy Ed returned to work for his father selling grease absorbents to local industries. Everything changed in 1947 when a new opportunity came knocking.

1950

As his success continued with the cat box filler Ed looked to expand his product portfolio to include a whole range of cat-related products. During this time, Ed bought his first plant for the sole purpose of processing the Fullers earth. Vertical integration was part of the key to Ed’s success.

1960

Business was good for Ed and warranted the construction of a new corporate headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. During this time Ed was also busy securing patents and trademarks for the assortment of new ideas he was bringing to market.

The Start of the Big Idea

After his Navy duty, Ed Lowe returned to Cassopolis, Michigan, and joined his father’s company, which sold industrial absorbents, including sawdust and an absorbent clay called fuller’s earth. In 1947 Ed was approached by a neighbor who was tired of using ashes in her cat’s litter box and the resulting sooty paw prints. She asked for some sand, but Ed suggested clay instead. Soon the neighbor would use nothing else, noting that the clay was much more absorbent than sand and didn’t track all over the house.

Creating the Market

Ed had a hunch that other cat owners also would love his new cat-box filler, so he filled 10 brown bags with clay, wrote the name “Kitty Litter” on them and called on the local pet store. With sand available for next to nothing, the shop owner doubted anyone would pay 65 cents for a five-pound bag of Kitty Litter. “So give it away,” Ed told him. Soon customers were asking for more — and they were willing to pay for it.

Product Quality

Quality was always a priority with Ed, and his products set the standards for the industry. Edward Lowe Industries was the only company of its kind with complete innovation and product-development centers. This included a “cattery” at Big Rock Valley, which was home to 120 felines who “worked” to assist in the development of new products. The cattery also boasted a fully staffed cat-care clinic, as well as an animal-behavior facility that permitted 24-hour television monitoring of resident cats. In the late 1980s, this operation relocated to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where company scientists at a modern research and development center continually worked to upgrade existing products and develop new ones.

The Edward Lowe Legacy

After creating a billion-dollar industry that established the cat as the nation’s most popular pet, Edward Lowe set his creative sights on another goal — fostering and nurturing the American entrepreneur. As a result, Ed committed a good part of his fortune to create “… a whole campus for entrepreneurs” at a private 2,500-acre complex outside his boyhood hometown of Cassopolis, Michigan. In 1991 he donated this estate for the headquarters of the Edward Lowe Foundation.