The First Pump Manufacturers in the United States, Celebrating over 100 Years in Pump Manufacturing

At the first Hydraulic Institute (HI) meeting held in Chicago in 1917, 16 small pump manufacturers set the future for the Institute.   While some company names changed and others merged to create new businesses since then, the core pump technologies are still going strong, supplemented with new pumping engineering advancements.

As HI celebrates its 100th anniversary, let’s take a look at the 16 original members and their core pumping equipment and markets.  

Advance Pump & Compressor: Established in 1902, the company sold its products nationwide mostly to water works plants. In 1924, Advance Pump & Compressor Company merged with American Steam Pump Company.

American Steam Pump:   Known as Battle Creek Machinery Company in 1873, the company changed its name to American Steam Pump in 1999 after becoming more involved in the industrial pump world.   Becoming a premier producer of fire pumps, the company merged with Advance Pump & Compressor Company in 1924 and became known as the American Marsh Pump Company in 1937. The company operates under that name today.

Blakeslee Manufacturing: Founded in 1862 by Albert Judd Blakeslee and his brother, the company specialized in jet pumps and its signature duplex steam pump, though Blakeslee Manufacturing produced 60 different kinds of pumps.

Buffalo Steam Pump: Now named Buffalo Pumps, the company initially began producing equipment for commercial use in 1887. It supplied critical pumps to ships used in World War I and expanded its current services to the lube oil, paper and refrigeration markets.

A.S. Cameron Steam Pump: Adam Scott Cameron founded the company in 1860 and supplied pumps to the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine.  Today, its technology is used in oil fields, boiler feed processes, mines and more.

Deming Pump: After manufacturing the first Deming pumps in 1880, and Deming Company split off from Silver to become a pumps-only manufacturer in 1890. The Crane Company acquired Deming in 1961, making it an operational division still operating today.

De Laval Steam Turbine: Incorporated in New Jersey in 1901, the company is known for producing the De Laval, a turbine that used jets of steam discharged against buckets or blades that turned at high speeds.  When sold to Lehman Brothers in 1962, the company name was shortened to De Laval Turbine.

Epping Carpenter:  Established in 1866, the company produced a variety of pumps. An Epping-Carpenter pump was installed in 1915 in Jacksonville, Fla. to move five million gallons of water per day. It remained in operation until 1956.

Fairbanks Morse: The name dates to the early 1800s when Thaddeus Fairbanks opened an iron foundry in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The creation of Fairbanks, Morse & Company and Fairbanks Morse Engine Works happened in the late 1800s. Fairbanks Morse Engine operates today as an EmPro Industries company, with Fairbanks Morse Pumps falling under the Pentair corporate umbrella.

Gardner Governor: Company founder Robert Gardner is credited for developing the first effective speed controls for steam engines in 1959. The company lives today through Gardner Denver, a global company that produces compressors, liquid ring pumps and blowers.

Goulds Manufacturing:  Goulds casted the first all-iron pump in 1849 amid the Gold Rush era.  Established as Goulds Manufacturing Company in 1869, the company changed its name to become Goulds Pumps, Inc. in 1929. ITT Corporation acquired the company in the late 1990s and the brand thrives today.

National Steam Pump Company: Part of the industrial scene in Upper Sandusky, Ohio in the early 1900s, the company is known for its steam-driven pumps in the coal and iron mining industry. The enterprise also served power plants; one of its notable products was the National Oil Engine.

National Transmit Company: The namesake of a four-story stone and brick building in Oil City, Pennsylvania, National Transmit Company was organized in 1991 as part of the evolution of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil pipeline and refinery empire in the U.S.

Platt Iron Works:  Known for pumps and other hydraulic equipment, the company grew out of the merger of Stilwell and Bierce Manufacturing Company with Smith-Vaile Company in 1892. It eventually became Platt Manufacturing Company.

Worthington Steam Pumps:  With roots date back to 1790, the company first began operating as Simpson & Thompson, then James Simpson & Co., and eventually as Worthington Pump Company. Worthington Compressor exists today. Dresser Industries acquired Worthington Pumps in 1985; Flowserve acquired it in 2000.

Wagener Steam Pump: Operating in Canton, Ohio, the company manufactured simplex and duplex steam pumping manufacturing.