Bar Keepers friends : The story

The BKF Story


In 1882, an Indianapolis chemist noticed how clean and shiny his tarnished pot was after cooking rhubarb. Using an active ingredient that’s found in the plant he formulated a talcum-smooth cleanser and sold it to the city’s taverns. So pleased were his customers with how well it worked on bar fixtures, the product was dubbed the “Bar Keepers Friend.”

The same non-bleach formula that put a shine to the brass rails of taverns at the turn of the century is used in households today on stainless steel, porcelain and ceramic surfaces among many others.

Today, Bar Keepers Friend is still made in Indianapolis USA and sold to many countries including here in Australia.

Upon returning from combat service in World War II, Dr. Beurt SerVaas used his savings to purchase a small metal plating shop in Indianapolis, Indiana. His customers asked him what they should use to clean their metal plated items, and Dr. Beurt told them, “My grandmother used Bar Keepers Friend.”

This inspired Dr. Beurt to find the then current owner of Bar Keepers Friend, the Gisler Polish Corporation, in order to buy Bar Keepers Friends for his metal plating company. Dr. Beurt then bought Bar Keepers Friend from the Gisler Polish Corporation sometime around 1956.

After a flood destroyed the production facility Dr. Beurt bought, he moved Bar Keepers Friend into a new facility in Indianapolis in 1964, and produced Bar Keepers Friend in that building and a new building across the street until 2011. At that time, Dr. Cory SerVaas (Dr. Beurt’s wife) redesigned the Bar Keepers Friend logo to include the now familiar swinging bar doors.

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