From its very inception, Bonstone has been advancing adhesive technology to fulfill the needs of the stone industry. During the 1960’s, the cost and weight of traditional stone, as well as the use of complex precast concrete units, prohibited the use of stone in many significant architectural projects. At this time, our founder King Harte, while working with P. Schmidt and Co. started formulating epoxy adhesive systems for stone application. Through many trial and error methods often performed in a make shift lab in his garage, King started what is today some of Bonstone’s main stream epoxies for stone bonding. Through discussions with friend and quarryman Bill Biesanz of Biesanz Stone Co, the two started aggressive development and mixing of epoxies. Their goal was to have a stone adhesive to take the place of seeing individual pieces of limestone put in place on a wall. Some of the first commercial work was done in P. Schmidt’s plant and in the Biesanz plant. They branched out into larger developments with stone companies in Bedford and Bloomington IN.
In 1962, King Harte, founded Bonstone Inc. in Milwaukee, WI. He began product development of epoxies which would allow stone assemblies to vie for use in these areas which were becoming off limits to stone.
King was uniquely suited to the problems being tackled. He owned a stone fabrication business and had attained a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. He cooperated in some of the first efforts to study the use of epoxies for stone assemblies, such as the research sub-committee of the Indiana Limestone Institute. His careful, patient approach to product development resulted in the development of successful epoxy adhesive products for the production of long lived stone assemblies.
King Harte sold the business in 1992 to Mike Beckmann, who also has a degree in chemistry. Bonstone Materials Corporation became the official new name. With his previous knowledge in the chemical and paint industries, Mike enabled Bonstone to expand into various new industries. He continues to reside as the President and Chief Chemist at Bonstone.
The Touchstone line was added to Bonstone’s repertoire in 1993. The Touchstone line was specially developed for durability in working with granite, marble and engineered stone in the countertop and tile industry.
By 1994, the exploding growth of the company resulted in the need for larger facilities. Bonstone bid adieu to the location that served so well for 32 years and moved to a brand new 3 acre complex in nearby Mukwonago, WI increasing the production, warehouse, and office space nearly four-fold.
In spite of being “retired”, King still maintained a role in the business, frequently serving as a valuable consultant and advisor, up until his passing in 2003.
Owner Mike Beckmann, being an avid sailor, saw the need for a line of professional marine products and added NautiKing (“King” as a tribute to Bonstone’s late founder King Harte) to Bonstone’s arsenal of products in 2005. These products were developed and designed for use in fiberglass and wooden boat building, construction and restoration.
In order to offer Bonstone’s customers convenient online shopping, our online store was brought online in early 2008. This gave customers globally the opportunity to order via the internet 24/7.
In a collaboration to bring heavy-duty cleaners, graffiti control materials, and protective sealer coatings to the stone industry, Bonstone joined with ABRP in 2009. ABRP invents, develops and refines complete systems of chemical products that synergistically work together to restore and preserve concrete, stone, wood, masonry, metal and glass.
After months of research, planning and development, Bonstone launched a redesigned website in May 2010. This new website delivers timely, well-organized information to a diverse global audience. The website includes a number of new features – the most prominent is the ability to search our site by Application, Industry, Material or Product, making it is easier to navigate and allow greater interaction with the public.
Bonstone Materials Corporation continues to focus on improvements in high performance adhesives and fabrication accessories for the natural stone construction and restoration industry.