The Gorman-Rupp Company designs, manufactures and sells pumps and pumping systems for use in water, wastewater, construction, industrial, petroleum, original equipment, agriculture, fire protection, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), military and other liquid-handling applications.
The Gorman-Rupp Company was founded in 1933 during the worst depression in U.S. history. It was during this year that J.C. Gorman and H.E. Rupp, two entrepreneurs from Mansfield, Ohio, pooled $1,500 – along with other considerable talents and fortitude – and began a pump manufacturing business within the walls of a barn on the outskirts of town. They introduced a pump which had a “non-clogging” feature. Their competitors didn’t believe them, and said as much in a savage public awareness campaign, claiming the new pump would not work. This campaign to discredit the new design resulted in about $100,000 worth of “free advertising” for the young company and at least one customer was ready to take them up on their claim. National Ice Company purchased the first pump. It worked perfectly, with its capabilities outperforming any other self-priming centrifugal pump previously invented.
In an industry that lacked a clear market leader, Gorman and Rupp saw an opportunity to excel, establishing their new company upon a mission statement that dictated it would “enter a field of pumping service only when able to provide superior products with better performance.”
During the next couple of years, operations moved from the barn on the outskirts of town into a small factory in the city. As well as investing in larger facilities to continue expanding their growth, Gorman and Rupp had the heart, empathy, and — ultimately — the wisdom to invest in their growing number of employees.
By 1942, the new facility was completely outfitted for use by the Company. And while production charged ahead, Herb Rupp continued to experiment with adaptations to keep increasing the size, amount and nature of debris to be handled by the pumps.
During the difficult wartime years, Gorman-Rupp was honored to receive the prestigious “Army-Navy E Award.” Only 5 percent of the manufacturing plants in the nation received this award, which was based on adherence to stringent eligibility requirements including excellence in quality and quantity of production, overcoming production obstacles, a low rate of absenteeism and avoidance of work stoppages. The housing boom after the war saw Gorman-Rupp pumps removing the standing water from excavations all across the nation. Using innovative designs, the Gorman-Rupp team created the first commercially available solids-handling trash pump to respond to contractor’s need for a pump to withstand the considerable rigors of pumping out septic tanks, cesspools and outhouses which were laden with trash. It was a revolutionary development.
Next came an improved line of diaphragm pumps which boasted a 400 percent increase in pumping efficiency at half the weight; pumps sold to appliance manufacturers for use in dishwashers; and pumps capable of moving 1,000 gallons of water per minute to enormous irrigation sprinklers.
Today, the Company that began on a handshake, a principle of superior product performance and $1,500 (all the original equity that has ever been put into the Company), boasts a history of innovation, improvement and quality.
The original barn has grown to a total of more than one million square feet of manufacturing and warehousing in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Gorman-Rupp manufactures more than 4,000 models of pumps. Today, Gorman-Rupp is a publicly traded company on the NYSE Amex Exchange under the symbol GRC.