How would you like to experience sun, wind, rain and steam–all within a 30-minute cycle–in the comfort of your own home? In 1977, Kohler introduced a totally new product, the Environment, that offered the next best thing to nature. It was a revolutionary step for the plumbing industry.

Referred to as the “ultimate escape,” this microcosm of the natural environment was designed to provide users with complete relaxation and rejuvenation. With the touch of a button, you could program your Environment to include Baja Sun, Spring Showers, Jungle Steam, Tropic Rain and Chinook Winds. This award-winning product firmly positioned Kohler Co. as a leader in product design and innovation.

Although sales expectations for the Environment were not high, its introduction created a lot of buzz.  In a 1997 speech at the Family Business Hall of Fame introduction, Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., CEO and Board Chairman, said, “[the Environment] symbolized our capability in materials not normally associated with plumbing products, it showcased our electronics technology, and it positioned us on the frontier of innovation.” Publicity included a People magazine article and a nationwide tour that gave journalists an opportunity to test the product for themselves.

In 1978, Kohler introduced a second generation environmental enclosure called the Habitat, which was smaller and less expensive than the 7-foot-long, $10,000 Environment.

In 1984, the company released the Masterbath versions of the Environment and Habitat. These had all the features of their predecessors, but included a removable deck to reveal a whirlpool bath beneath. They stayed in the product line until 1999.

Today, Kohler’s DTV digital shower control, Fast Response steam generator and Ambient Rain showering panels use technical innovation to provide users with bathing and showering experiences that evoke nature. And even better, they don’t require a full bathroom overhaul.