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Ed Lowe (businessman)

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Title: Ed Lowe (businessman)  
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Subject: Timeline of United States inventions (1946–91), List of generic and genericized trademarks, List of inventors
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Ed Lowe (businessman)

Edward Lowe

Edward 'Ed' Lowe (July 10, 1920 - October 4, 1995) was an American businessman and entrepreneur, noted for the invention of cat litter.[1] The Small Business School described him as "building a huge business from nothing",[2] and cite him as a textbook example of an individual who "created a product, brought it to marketplace, invented an industry and sold his business for millions".[3] By the time of his death, his company was worth half a billion dollars.[4]


Edward Lowe was born on July 10, 1920 in Saint Paul, Minnesota to Lulu and Henry E. Lowe.[5] His family moved to Cassopolis, Michigan, where he attended high school at Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High School. He had four children and six grandchildren.[4] He served in the US Navy in World War II.

Invention of Kitty Litter

Before Lowe's invention, people kept their cats outside, using ashes, dirt or sand as cat litter when it was necessary to keep them inside. One day in January 1947, Mrs. Draper, Edward Lowe's neighbor in Cassopolis, Michigan, came to him asking for some sand to use as cat litter. Her sand pile was frozen so she had been using ashes but they tracked all over her house. Instead of sand, Lowe gave her some clay called Fuller's Earth, a set of clay minerals capable of absorbing their weight in water. She found it worked far better than sand or ashes.[6]

His career

In 1947, Lowe decided to sell the clay. He packaged it in 5 lb bags and called it "Kitty Litter." He suggested that a local pet store sell it for 69 cents. The store owner refused, saying that it would not sell because sand was so much cheaper. Lowe told him to give it away free until people were willing to pay for it. Kitty Litter was a success. Lowe drove around the country selling Kitty Litter. He even cleaned boxes at cat shows so he could get a booth to demonstrate his product. He founded Edward Lowe Industries and created Tidy Cat cat box filler in 1964. In the early 1980s, he almost lost his market to Clorox, but by 1990 Edward Lowe Industries was the top producer of cat box filler.[5]

In Lowe's later years, he decided the best way for his business to continue after his death was to hand the running over to a management team funded by venture capitalists from New York and Chicago. The sale went through in 1990, with the company being renamed to the Golden Cat Corporation; Lowe remained as an equity holder and director.[7] The sale was later estimated by the New York Times as being $200 million.[4] Following his death, the group sold the successful company to Ralston Purina.[2]


  1. ^ "Lowe, Edward".  
  2. ^ a b "Ed Lowe - teaching notes and study guide".  
  3. ^ "Ed Lowe: The evolution of Kitty Litter, then the Edward Lowe Foundation (transcript)".  
  4. ^ a b c  
  5. ^ a b "Edward Lowe".  
  6. ^ "Edward Lowe, entrepreneur". Edward Lowe foundation. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 
  7. ^ AP (September 13, 1990). "Kitty Litter Maker Selling Operations".  

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