Company History

THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM of fame and fortune is grasped by many in many different ways. For six men in Evansville, Wisconsin, it was to take the shape of the A. S. Baker Company. Their vision of one hundred twenty years ago became the forerunner of the Baker Manufacturing Company which through the years has marketed such a diversity and variety of products as water systems components, gasoline engines, walking and acrobatic toys, hydrofoil boats, an anti-aircraft lead computing sight, an average protractor for matching aircraft propeller blades and scientific instruments.

There is a rich and exciting history at Baker. The company has always played an important role in the City of Evansville and several other Midwestern cities. It has progressed from being a rotary steam engine manufacturer through the production of gold medal winning wind­mills on to design contracts for the United States Department of Defense. Baker currently ranks as the 60th largest wholesaler in the country; holds a strong position in the water well supply market; operates a widely recognized quality iron foundry; and produces gear pumps for the fast food industry and heavy viscous fluids. The company has been, and is, involved in a wide variety of marketplaces which illustrates the diverse and intriguing culture the organization possesses. This heritage has instilled a feeling of pride in all those who are or ever have been employed by Baker.

It all began in 1872 with the designing of a rotary steam engine by Allen S. Baker and Levi Shaw. Mr. Baker took the design to a Milwaukee firm to be built and the tests looked promising. In April of 1873, Caleb Snashall and L. M. Mygatt from the hardware store and Almeron Eager and W. S. Smith from the general store, proposed to Baker and Shaw that the six of them each subscribe $1,000 to organize a company to build rotary steam engines and also run a machine shop repair business. Some stories say that Mr. Eager and Mr. Baker formulated the idea while going for a buggy ride and having a picnic together at Liberty Pole Hill. In any case, the organization was formed and the following officers elected: President, Caleb Snashall; Treasurer, Almeron Eager; Secretary, W. S.Smith. Allen Baker was made Foreman and General Superintendent. The company was named the A. S. Baker Company. These six were very enterprising men but very different from each other in their talents and aspirations. Some were primarily interested in making money and some just loved to build things; but all had a great love for Evansville and wanted to see the city grow and thrive.

Machinery was ordered and a two story frame building was erected at what is now the corner of Enterprise and Church Streets. The "Shop" was opened for business in July of 1873. They made two or three rotary steam engines but soon discontinued them because they proved uneconomical to operate. The only other activity carried on during that summer was the repair of reapers and mowers.

In its first two or three years of operation the A. S. Baker Company experienced difficulties in organization and sales which necessitated further assessments on the original partners. These problems resulted in the withdrawal of Mr. Shaw from the company. From 1873 to 1876 the Company increased its capital from $6,000 to $12,500. During this period a new foundry was built and the company began the manufacture of iron pumps and wooden windmills, designed and tested by Allen Baker. By 1876, newspapers carried ads for "Monitor" windmills, a trade name still used today.

The product switch plus difficulties in internal organization made it necessary to invest additional money, a burden on the original investors to a point where the closing down of the company became a serious consideration. Instead Allen Baker, one of the original steam engine designers, assumed full responsibility for both manufacturing and sales.

By March 12, 1879, the company recovered and was incorporated as "The Baker Manufacturing Company" under Wisconsin law, with a liquid capital of twenty thousand dollars.

The 1880's saw a growth in physical facilities so that by 1882, the Baker Company consisted of a machine shop, a foundry, a wood department, a paint department and a blacksmith shop. There were forty men on the payroll. In addition to producing and shipping windmills at the rate of seventy per month, rotary feed grinders and wood saws were manufactured. Local newspapers advertised "all kinds" of foundry and machine work done. By January 1883 the net worth exceeded $60,000. Shortly thereafter its capital was increased to $100,000.

On April 16, 1884 most of the plant was destroyed by fire. Although there was no insurance, it was almost immediately replaced. First by a temporary workshop and later by a one-story brick building with new and improved machinery.

By the 1890's, large cylinder pumps, pine water tanks and a triangle-drive rotary windmill patented by Allen Baker, were added to the manufacturing line. In 1893, at the Columbian Exposition, in Chicago, the Baker Manufacturing Company was awarded gold medals for design efficiency and ingenuity of its windmills.

Experimentation paid off with new products that added to the company's advancement and success. The company added a steam generator to supply electrical power for the company's own buildings and from 1887 until 1901 The Baker Manufacturing Company supplied steam-generated electricity for the village of Evansville street lights and the residences of Evansville until the city's own generator was built. The plant was operated only from dusk to eleven P. M. After it closed down for the night, residents were either obligated to retire or get out their kerosene lamps which were always kept at hand for emergencies. A flat monthly rate of seventy-five cents for each sixteen candlepower lamp used was charged.

In January, 1891, the Baker Company declared its first dividend of one percent. In December of 1891 the Company's Articles were amended to declare the stock fully paid up through retention of earnings.

The depression of 1893 led to a reduction in wages and the omission of dividends for two years. However, business recovered sharply during 1895 giving the company its best year to date with sales averaging better than two hundred windmills a month. The facilities were again enlarged with the addition of an office building, a larger woodworking shop and a steel-working department.

Business continued to expand so that by 1899, after years of persuasion by Allen Baker's son, John S. Baker, the company pioneered anoth­er innovation, profit sharing. John Baker, during his last year at the University, received a very bad eye injury as the result of being bitten by a dog and was required to spend nearly a year in a darkened room, forbidden to strain his eyes. During this year, he spent long hours thinking about the need for cooperation between Capital and labor. He was deeply convinced that profits arose through the efforts of the workers and that those workers should share in those profits. It was during these days of solitude that he formulated what was to become the unique profit sharing plan of Baker Manufacturing Company. One of the first such plans, it is still in effect today.

The preamble of the profit sharing plan reflected the views of John Baker:

"Whereas the Baker Manufacturing Company recognizes that the earnings of Capital and labor are determined by competition and believes that after both have been paid the price so determined, all surplus earnings should be divided between capital and Labor in proportion to the amounts received by each. .."

In 1904, a local newspaper examined the profit sharing plan and reported that a man who earned six-hundred dollars for his year's wages received an additional four-hundred-fifteen dollars and two cents in profit sharing, fifteen percent of which was in cash and the rest in common stock.

John Baker's views on profit sharing were widely publicized and he became a popular speaker. His new philosophy brought wide recognition for him and the company.

The first decade of the twentieth century was another period of marked expansion. What is now called the old foundry was erected about 1900, and over a ten year period the floor space of the plant doubled. Despite a proportionate increase in employment, sales approximately tripled and the company found itself hard pressed to meet the demand for its products. In 1906 a three-story fireproof warehouse was built and later a three-story machine and paint shop. The warehouse and machine shop were the first two poured concrete buildings in Wisconsin. By 1911 there were seven buildings, all built of stone or brick to minimize the fire hazard.

Under the able and inventive leader­ship of Allen Baker the company enjoyed unprecedented success. The dream had become a thriving reality. By 1910, one hundred and fifty men were employed and there were additional new products: steel windmills and a gasoline engine. As in the case of the windmills, the engines were solidly constructed, bringing the company numerous awards for quality workmanship.

In 1916, the last of the original drea­mers, Allen S. Baker died. His son, John S. Baker, famed for the company's profit sharing plan, succeeded him. Allen Baker had ten patents issued in his name and three more in partnership with Levi Shaw, Caleb Snashall and John Baker. These all became the property of the company. The earliest was the rotary steam engine in 1873 and the latest was a skeleton tower in 1893. The others covered windmills, pumps, mechanical movements, millstone-dress, and a mechanism for transmitting power from windmill shafts. He ended his career back working as a pattern maker - his first love.

Continuing the course spirited by his father, John Baker directed the company in its search for new methods and prod­ucts. The results were many successful additions: self-oiling windmills and a wider range of horsepower for the gasoline engines. Some experiments were never to reach the production line - a farm tractor partially designed by John Baker and a windmill to generate electricity. Still others were to extend the horizon of the original vision, as the windmill did after the rotary steam engine failed.

The Baker company manufactured the airplane beacons that first lighted the airways between New York and San Francisco and even furnished a crew from its factory in Evans­ville to install the towers. By the 1930's the product line included electric water systems, pump jacks, engine jacks, gasoline engines, pumps, cylinders, windmill towers, well supplies of every description, galvanized steel flag poles, and airplane and radio towers.

John Baker was in great demand as a speaker on the subject of profit sharing, a topic he was always willing to discuss. His views on the subject were widely publicized throughout the country. He was remembered by plant workers affectionately with admiration for his intellect and thoroughly honest character, yet they considered him somewhat eccentric and an enigma. In northern Wisconsin where he had to spend the ragweed season each summer because of allergies, he was called "Mr. Windmill". Like his father before him, he served in the Wisconsin Assembly for two terms.

In 1938, John S. Baker died suddenly at the age of sixty-nine. He was succeeded in the presidency by his son, Cleland S. Baker, who continued in that position while acting also as treasurer and general manager. Cleland S. Baker began his career with the company working in the warehouse of the Omaha, Nebraska branch. Unlike his predecessors, he was not an engineer or designer, however he was highly skilled in marketing and finance. He did much to strengthen the branches and introduced new and effective methods of inventory control. It was during his presidency, in 1940, that a new brick office building was erected with expanded space for engineers, draftsmen, secretarial staff and management personnel.

Ill health forced the resignation of Cleland Baker in 1947. After a long illness, he died in 1952.

Cleland S. Baker was succeeded by his brother, J. G. Baker, who had joined the company in 1938 as vice president and chief engineer after a successful ten year career with Westinghouse Research Laboratories in East Pittsburgh. At the time he came to Evansville he was widely known for his expertise on dynamics problems and on the development of high-speed machinery and dynamic balancing machines. He designed the mounting for the first automatic washing machine made by Bendix. He engaged in consulting research, and development work for such well-known firms as Westinghouse, Hamilton Standard Propellers, Chrysler Corporation, Allis Chalmers and North American Aviation

When Gordon joined the company it was with the understanding that he would be permitted to manufacture toys which he had designed and patented. The agreement was made that any equipment needed and not generally useful for other purposes in the company would be purchased by Mr. Baker. The new division was named LIVE TOYS. Su Panda, the first toy manufactured, was ready for sale in August 1939. In 1940 LIVE TOYS were nationally advertised and were exhibited at the New York Toy Fair. The manufacture of Annie Elephant began in 1940 and about 9,000 toys were sold. Soon World War II put an end to this activity because the toys contained more metal than the government allowed for such uses. By the time the restrictions were lifted the company was involved with more pressing matters and the toy manufacture was never resumed.

Gearing to the war effort, Baker designed and produced a course variant sight for anti-aircraft guns. The company also was instrumental in the development of a mobile combat vehicle designed to jump over trenches and other obstacles. It could jump to a height of four feet and a lateral distance of forty seven feet. Later it developed and manufactured two aircraft propeller blade balancing mechanisms.

Shortly after World War II the company decided upon a long term plan to develop a line of hydrofoil systems for boats. It designed, built and successfully operated a 16-foot, three V-hydrofoil experimental sailboat and a 14-foot three V-hydrofoil outboard motor boat. The company also designed and constructed the Monitor which is believed to be the world's fastest sailboat. The 26-foot Monitor with three ladder-like hydrofoils has a top speed of about 35 miles per hour. During the Korean War, the Company was awarded a contract by the Office of Navel Research under which a 23-foot, V-hydrofoil research board known as High Pockets and a 24-foot, fully submerged, automatically controlled hydrofoil boat known as High Tail were designed and constructed. High Pockets was one of the boats taken by the U. S. Navy to the 1960 International Symposium on High Performance Ships in Holland. High Tail was successfully operated on the Potomac River with the Secretary of the Navy on board and was the basis for proposed designs of operational Navy boats. Under Office of Naval Research and Navy Bureau of Ships contracts, Baker designed and constructed a hydrofoil landing craft called High Lander in 1961, which was expected to be the first Navy hydrofoil designed for operational use.

By the end of the war, sales reached a yearly volume of six hundred thousand dollars. Then, after almost seventy-five years of designing and manufacturing windmills as the main product, sales declined drastically. This setback marked the beginning of a new era of research and development which has continued to this day.

In 1946, a new pump was introduced to provide an automatic deep well water system and this has become a staple product in the line. During that same year, the drinking fountain pump was produced for the first time. These were slow to sell at first, but now they are spread across the country at parks, highway rest stops, golf courses and campsites where city water is not available.

In 1948 a new pump jack was successfully brought out, followed by television towers (an ideal substitute for the windmill tower) and towers for fire watchers. For many years there was one of these look-out towers overlooking Lake Mendota in Madison. In 1950 pitless well units were first offered. These are prefabricated well heads and pitless units which eliminate the unsanitary well pit and the well house. Baker makes them for wells ranging from 4" to 24" and with bury depths from 2 feet to 20 feet for jet, submersible, recipro­cating and line shaft turbine pumps.

In 1954 a deep well pump of a type greatly in demand in the South was placed on the market and in 1956 the first pitless jet pumps were produced. This type of pump is unique and is patented by the Company. There has been continual improvement in the design of these products and in the tech­niques of their manufacture. The Baker branches sell a complete line of pumps but the Company does not manufacture all of them.

In 1970 a decision was made to replace the old foundry with it's coke fired cupola in order to meet the pollution abatement requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The new 27,500 square foot foundry was placed into operation July 15, 1974. The foundry, built at a cost of 1.75 million dollars, has the capability of changing air completely in the foundry every six minutes.

The office expansion, completed in 1971 approximately doubled the available space in the office building. A modern computer system was installed at this time.

On October 20, 1973, Baker Manufacturing Company celebrated its 100th year with an open house in Evansville, attended by stockholders, employees, suppliers and interested townspeople. Tours were conducted and a buffet luncheon was served to over 800 guests. Wisconsin's Governor Patrick J. Lucey proclaimed the week of October 14 through 20, 1973 as BAKER WEEK. In a ceremony held during the open house, Evansville's Mayor presented a bronze plaque on behalf of the Evansville City Council and the citizens of Evansville in commemoration of the company's role in the city's history. This plaque is now affixed to the front of the office building.

In 1977, the company purchased the Haight Pump Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Haight Division is a major source of rotary gear pumps for the fast food and restaurant industry, fire protection and process manufacturing industries. Haight pumps are assembled in Evansville and a sales office is maintained in Brookfield, Wiscon­sin.

The end of the "Baker Presidency" era occurred when J. G. Baker resigned as president and chairman of the board March 10, 1975 due to ill health. He died on February 15, 1976.

Frank X. Sandner Jr. was named president in June, 1975 and continued as president until his retirement in 1989.

Peter D. Sears became the ninth president of Baker in December, 1989 and continues to lead Baker.


Original Founders

Allen S. Baker, Almeron Eager, L. M. Mygatt

Levi Shaw, W. S. Smith, Caleb Snashall



Caleb Snashall 1873 - 1885

L. M. Mygatt 1885 - 1887

Almeron Eager 1887 - 1903

Allen S. Baker 1903 - 1916

John S. Baker 1916 - 1938

Cleland S. Baker 1938 - 1947

John Gordon Baker 1948 - 1975

Frank X. Sandner Jr. 1975 - 1989

Peter D. Sears 1989 - 2007

Don Wesdell - Present


The first branches were established in Minneapolis and Fort Dodge in 1887 and 1890. Subsequently, branches were opened in Fargo, North Dakota; Hutchinson, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Omaha, Nebraska; Madison, Wisconsin; and Appleton, Wisconsin. The locations and number of these branches have changed over the years in response to their profitability. In recent years, all of the wholesale branches have been sold

Formerly, the Wholesale Division was comprised of 13 branches located throughout the Midwest and Canada, selling plumbing, heating/cooling and well supplies. Sales were in excess of 30 million dollars. There were 110 employees in this Division.

Branch locations were:

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Davenport, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
Fort Dodge, Iowa
Keokuk, Iowa
Hutchinson, Kansas
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Bismarck, North Dakota
Fargo, North Dakota
Minot, North Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota
Appleton, Wisconsin
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada



1. Baker Manufacturing Company was first organized by Allen S. Baker and Levi Shaw, October 1872.

2. Purpose of organization was to manufacture rotary steam engines. Only 2 or 3 were made and the project was dropped due to inefficiency and a lubrication problem.

3. To gain more capital, the company was reorganized April 1, 1873. Name of the company was A. S. Baker Company.

4. New purpose was to do machine shop repair business with a sideline of building rotary steam engines.

5. First President Caleb Snashall

Treasurer Almeron Eager
Secretary W. S. Smith
Foreman & Gen Superintendent A. S. Baker
Other Investors Levi Shaw
L. M. Mygatt

6. Original investment was $1,000 each or $6,000 total, and later increased to $12,500, the only outside money to ever be invested.

7. Snashall and Mygatt hardware store did the material purchase at a profit.

8. Smith and Eager did the collection of all accounts and paying of expenses.

9. Business was not a success and Levi Shaw retired during the first year, taking pay in goods manufactured.

10. A two story frame building, 24 x 38, was built on the corner of Enterprise and Church Street.

11. First foundry was built in fall of 1873 and put into operation in winter of 1874. The current foundry was put in operation in July 1974.

12. With the first foundry in operation, iron pumps were produced and a new windmill designed.

13. First windmill patent was in April 1874 by A. S. Baker and C. A. Snashall.

14. First pump patent was in April 1876 by A. S. Baker.

15. Trademark "Monitor" appeared in 1876 and was chosen by A. S. Baker, a Civil War Veteran, who was en­thralled with the innovativeness of the battleship, "Monitor".

16. A. S. Baker had been shot in the back at the Battle of Gettysburg. As the bullet was too close to the spine to be removed, it was left. He was discharged and sent home. After several years the bullet worked its way to the surface and Mr. Baker removed it. He previously had been wounded seriously in the back at Gainesville and had been in the battles at Fitzhugh Crossing and C­hancellorsville.

17. In January, 1879, Mr. Tuttle, the first traveling salesman, offered to buy Almeron Eager's stock who had indicated he wanted to sell out. Mr. Eager declined after seeing the appreciated value of the stock.

18. On February 12, 1879, the business was incorporated under Wisconsin law as "The Baker Manufacturing Company" with paid up capital of $20,000.

19. The stone lab building was built in 1881.

20. Mr. Antes, of the Antes Press, got his start in the northeast corner of the second floor of this stone building.

21. By 1882 a machine shop, foundry, woodworking department, paint department and a blacksmith shop existed.

22. On April 16, 1884, the plant was destroyed by fire and rebuilt with a one story brick building.

23. Baker Mfg. Co. supplied electricity to the City of Evansville from 1887 to 1901 with lights going out at 11:00 p.m.

24. A. S. Baker was also an organizer and President of The Evansville Telephone Exchange.

25. A. S.Baker was a man who wanted to do something for Evansville and also to build things. Some of the other investors were only interested in money.

26. In 1893, Baker Mfg. Co. was awarded a gold medal for excellence of design of its windmill, which was erected at the World's Fair Exposition in Chicago.

27. The Galvanizing Department was started in 1896.

28. Profit Sharing was established in 1899 after several previous attempts. Capital stock was increased to $300,000 with $200,000 as preferred stock to the investors and $100,000 as common stock in profit sharing to the employees.

29. Highest profit sharing rate was 120% in 1906, with 64 employees sharing.

30. Gas engines were started to be produced in 1905.

31. The first female employee, Blanche Devine, was hired in 1905. All secretaries were male before then.

32. Warehouse was built in 1906 and was the first poured concrete building in Wisconsin. The chicken netting in the windows was a new development at that time.

33. The three story machine shop was built in 1907 and was the second poured concrete building in Wisconsin.

34. Two experimental tractors were built in 1907 by Mr. Patch, aided by J. S. Baker. The design was good, but due to a disagreement between Patch and Baker, Patch left and the manufacture never came to fruition.

35. First self oiling windmill was produced in 1923.

36. During World War II a jumping vehicle and tanks were designed for NDRC.

37. The office building was built in 1940 and an addition added in 1971.

38. Baker Mfg. Co. was the first company to manufacture pitless well units, in 1950.

39. In the hydrofoil boat program, Baker achieved the following:
a) The first successful hydrofoil boat (High Pockets) to be assigned to the U. S. Navy.
b) The first inherently stabilized hydrofoil sail­boat in the world.
c) Unofficially the world's fastest flying sailboat (35 mph in a 15 mph wind).
d) Demonstration of High Tail to President John F. Kennedy with the Underwater Demolition Team.
e) The design of a 40 foot hydrofoil landing craft.

40. About 115 U. S. and foreign patents have been assigned to the company.

41. The total facility floor area is 206,500 sq. ft.

42. The total land area is approximately 10 acres.

43. The current number of employees is 153 in Evansville, 278 total company wide.

44. The maximum number of company employees was 273 in Evansville with 395 total company wide.

45. Many of our employees live in Evansville

46. In 1989, Baker's electric bill was 23.77% of the total for the City of Evansville. The next largest user was 9%. The electric bill was $541,260. The demand for electricity is 37% of the total for the city. Baker also used 6% of the water at a cost of $4,047 plus a sur­charge of $18,280 for sewer.

47. Presidents:

1873-1885 Caleb Snashall

1885-1887 S. M. Mygatt
1887-1903 Almeron Eager
1903-1916 Allen S. Baker
1916-1938 John S. Baker
1938-1947 Cleland S.Baker
1948-1975 J. Gordon Baker
1975-1989 Frank X. Sandner Jr
1989-2007 Peter D. Sears

2007- Present Don Wesdell

Frank Hubbard
Charles Jenkins
Fred Wilder
Sever Hatlevig
Frank Lewis
Alvin Olsen

49. The Haight Division was purchased in 1980. Sales since that time have increased 9 times in dollars and amount to about 5% of company sales and 10% of factory sales. Haight is a major source of pump and motor units for the fast food and restaurant industry. The Haight line has been expanded with an external pump from England's largest gear pump manufacturer, Albany Pump Ltd. The Albany line is also being used to pump fire fighting foams. Haight is continuing to be a larger percent of factory sales each year.

50. The Instrument Division was a result of Neil Lien's work at the University of Wisconsin Physical Sciences laboratory. Sixteen monochromators were built, ranging in price from $175,000 to $450,000 each. Additional related synchrotron radiation beamline equipment was also built. A very large vacuum chamber, known as a Diffraction Grating Evaluation Facility, was built for Goddard Space Flight Center. The Instrument Division was discontinued upon Neil Lien's retirement from the company.

51. The Wholesale Division was comprised of 13 branches, located in Appleton, WI; Cedar Rapids, IA; Keokuk, IA; Davenport, IA; Fort Dodge, IA; Des Moines, IA; Fargo, ND; Rapid City, SD; Hutchinson, KS; Minneapolis, MN; Minot, ND; Bismarck, ND; and Baker Manufacturing Ltd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, a wholly owned subsidiary. Sales were in excess of 30 million dollars. Rex Blum was Vice President-Wholesale Division. There were 110 employees in this Division. All of the branches were later sold by 1998.



The Appleton branch was started in 1957 by L. A. Spencer and is presently managed by John N. Abitz. Sales are made up of plumbing, heating and well supplies. Appleton had 12 employees.

Cedar Rapids was incorporated as an Iowa Corporation in 1918. Baker products were first sold at a transfer company there and the office work was done at Evansville. In 1940, the branch was reorganized by J. L. Thurman. William E. Eckhart was the current Manager. Cedar Rapids sells plumbing and well supplies with a strong emphasis on heating. They had 13 employees at Cedar Rapids.

Keokuk was a satellite of the Cedar Rapids branch and was started in 1978. John Murphy was the Branch Supervisor. Keokuk specialized in plumbing, heating and well supplies. There were 5 employees at this location.

Davenport, also was a satellite of the Cedar Rapids branch, was opened in late 1989. Davenport is a pump supply house and also offered heating equipment. There were 4 employees there.

The branch at Fort Dodge was started in 1890 by J. M. Broderick and was incorporated as an Iowa Corporation in 1918 with W. T. Lemmel as the Manager. In 1934, it was bought by C. S. Baker, who was a resident agent of the company. Joe P. Riley was the manager. The branch had 10 employees and specialized in plumbing, heating and well supplies.

Des Moines, the newest branch, is a satellite of the Fort Dodge operation and was opened in 1991. Larry Liscum was the Operations Manager. There were 4 employees at Des Moines.

Fargo was started in the early 50's and was managed by Tom Osborn. Fargo had 11 employees. Sales were made up of plumbing, heating and well supplies.

Rapid City was a satellite of Fargo. Rapid City opened in 1985 and Larry Bland served as the Operations Manager. Plumbing, heating and well supplies were sold by this South Dakota branch, which employed 4 employees.

Hutchinson, Kansas was organized in 1935 as a satellite of the Kansas City Branch. The branch began under the supervision of Will Talbott, the son of George Talbott, who started the Kansas City branch. Rich Nissen was the Manager. There were 10 employees at Hutchinson. Sales were made up of plumbing and well supplies and heating and air conditioning equipment.

The Minneapolis branch was organized under the name of Northwest Wind Engine Company in 1889, with C. P. Silloway as the Manager. He developed a very profitable business which he maintained until his death in the early 1920's. His son, Lewis Silloway, became Manager and soon expanded the Baker product line to include the ABC washing machine. In 1939 the branch was reorganized as Baker Manufacturing Company with D. Hindrichs as Manager. John Voss was the Manager, with 11 employees. Minneapolis specialized in pumps and well supplies.

Baker Manufacturing Company purchased the Minot branch in 1980. Lloyd Rynestad was the Manager. Minot sold plumbing, heating and well supplies and employed 10 people.

Bismarck was started in 1983 and was a satellite of the Minot branch. Bismarck handled plumbing, heating and well supplies and employed 3 people.

Winnipeg - Soon after World War I, (November 1, 1924) the Baker Manufacturing Company bought the wholesale business from Manitoba Engine Company of Brandon, Manitoba. The corporation was formed under the name of Ames-Baker Limited, with P. M. Ames as Manager and J. S. Baker as President. In 1931, reorganization took place and the name was changed to Baker Manufacturing Limited. G. B. Farrell was transferred to the home office in Evansville and O. A. Doak was appointed Manager. The branch moved to Winnipeg in the late 1940's. Wayne Dunford was the manager. Winnipeg had 10 employees and specialized in pumps and well supplies.


The MIS department was established in 1969. The first computer, a NCR Century 100, was installed at Evansville in 1970 and has 16 384 characters of memory and data storage of 8.4 million characters. This system used punched cards to do the programming and processing of the transactions for the first two systems, sales analysis and payroll.

In order to meet current needs, the computer system was upgraded to a NCR V8595 II E system with a memory capacity of 8.4 million characters and data storage of 4.8 billion characters. This system utilizes online terminals for program­ming and inputting. The 140 online CRT's input over 50,000 transactions in 11 hours and send reports to 40 online printers located in Evansville and the branch locations.

The MIS department has developed and currently supports 1500 programs containing over 1.3 million lines of code for the following systems:

Accounts Receivable
Bills of Materials
Material Management
Inventory Management
Material Requirements Planning
Master Production Scheduling
Purchasing and Receiving
Customer Order Processing
Foundry Scheduling
Product Pricing
Sales Analysis
Backup and Recovery of Data Storage
Online Program Development
Data Base Management



The foundry has been an important part of Baker Manufacturing Company for many years. In early 1970, management decided to replace the old foundry rather than modernize and update the existing facility.

The present foundry became operational in 1974 and is the newest plant facility. It was built at a cost of about 1.75 million dollars. Today it would probably cost five times that to dupli­cate.

The foundry is extremely important in the production of Monitor products, however Monitor needs only require about 20% of the foundry capacity.

All raw materials are received by truck. Steel and pig iron of known chemical analysis are purchased to guarantee our customers high quality gray and ductile iron castings.

Melting is done in three 6,000 lb. capacity coreless induction furnaces. The tapping temperature ranges between 2700 degree F. to 2800 degree F. Various charges are made up, using materials of known chemical analysis.

We have a complete metallurgy laboratory which enables us to check chemistry on all metal prior to poring. This is done on a direct reading spectrometer, which delivers an instantaneous reading each time a sample is submitted. The metal is also checked after pouring by using a microscope to check the matrix as well as pulling bars to assure quality castings.

The molding media is sand which is delivered by truck and blown into sand storage silos. This sand originates in areas near the Illinois River at Ottawa, Illinois or Portage, Wisconsin. This sand is washed, dried and screened. Though it appears black, it is called green sand in the foundry industry.

The sand is prepared by a mixer, known as a muller. it mixes 3000 pounds each load and is completely automatic. The computer which controls the sequence of mixing in the muller prints out the results at a remote printer in the laboratory. Results are verified by a full-time technician.

The sand is then conveyed to the molding stations by an overhead belt. The bindicators control the amount of sand in the hoppers above each molding station. The sand drops into the flask around patterns. The molder controls the ramming proce­dure by jolting or squeezing the sand around the pattern. He also sets cores, if required, in the interior of the mold.

Cores are produced by several different methods. Some are made in iron boxes and require only the hot box to cure the core and others are cold box, or chemically cured cores. Cores are an important part of the casting process because they form the internal passages of a casting.

The molds then move to the pouring floor to be filled with liquid metal. Melt department employees place jackets around the mold and set weights upon the top. This causes the mold to become rigid and overcomes the possibility of the liquid metal breaking out of the mold.

After the metal solidifies, the molds are dumped on a conveyor and then move across a shaker, which separates the castings from the sand. They are then discharged on a large turn-table for sorting and placed in steel bins.

The bins are placed in a skip-hoist and elevated into a steel shot blast machine which cleans the outside scale from the castings. Following this operation, the castings are inspected and go to the clean room for shipping and grinding processes. After grinding, they are sent to the shipping department for final inspection and boxed for shipment.

At the beginning of the 20th century there were approximately 5,000 foundries in the United States. Today there are only about one-fourth that number. Iron foundries are the nation's fifth largest manufacturing industry and produce in excess of 12 billion dollars in sales.

Baker's foundry produces both gray and ductile iron. Ductile iron is a comparatively new metal. It has emerged from the status of an experimental metal and achieved a significant position in the cast metal industry.

On June 1, 1993 a new and modern no-bake mixer was installed in the foundry, expanding our capabilities in this unique molding process. This mixer has improved productivity while eliminating waste sands generated during the molding process.

On August 1, 1993 the foundry put a new set of cope and drag molding machines into service. These machines, designed to make molds for extremely large castings, have allowed us to create castings substantially larger than those we were previously capable of manufacturing. This equipment has already been successful in attracting business to Baker that we otherwise would not have been able to accept, and will continue to be used to attract additional new business.



Has a MSDI-150 computer for making paper tapes for one of the five CNC machines.

Has a CNC Minifile for storing mazat­rol programs on to the floppy discs.

Has two CompuAdd PC's, one for or­ga­nizing tooling and program files and one with a CAM system designed to generate programs used by the CNC machinery.

Has a mission terminal for making on-floor transactions and retrieving production in­formation from the main­frame computer.

oCntains program files, tapes and insert tooling storage.


This is part of our Total Quality Program where all gages used by the machine shop are stored and where simple gage accura­cies can be checked.


Has a Numerex Coordinate Measuring Ma­chine with Unime­asure II Software and Metri Stat Software for statisti­cal process con­trol. It has a 28" x 40" granite table with 18" of vertical travel. Equipped with a 5-way probe and ram optical probe of 10 to 250 power magnification and powered by a Compu­Add 386 comput­er, it has a re­peatability of one ten thousand of an inch per inch of trav­el.



The first machine has a 6 station tur­ret with 14" travel mounted on a 6' bed with 36" of horizontal travel and 21" of swing over ways, 13" over carriage cross slide. Equipped with a Barfeed attachment, it can machine bar stock from 1/2" in diameter to 3" diameter.

The second machine is the same with the exception of the barfeed attach­ment. This machine is equipped with a 12" chuck for holding a variety of casting shapes.


Has a 48" stroke and five ton pulling capaci­ty. It is used for cutting keyways and inter­nal splines.


Built by Baker and designed by Ed Dvorak in 1973, the cap machine is equipped with 6 Dumore drilling and tapping heads for ma­chining vent caps and turtle rings. Approxi­mately 20,000 castings are moved across this machine annually.


This set of drill presses are used exclu­sively for machining hand pump bases found in many waysides across the country.


Used for all types of drilling and tapping operations up to 3" pipe threads.



Used with multiple drill heads for high volume part production


Used for cutting threads on smaller rods up to 1" in diameter.


Automatically cuts material up to 12' long and 10" in diameter.


Runs on an automatic cam cycle and cuts the thread bores and o-ring lands on pitless sleeve castings before they are galvanized. This particular machine runs two families of sleeves with a 15 minute change over time from one to the other.


Purchased in 1988 for $158,000, this machine has a 20" maximum swing over the ways and a 15-3/4 maximum cutting diameter with a 12" chuck. It is capable of turning shafts 39" long and generating spindle speeds of 3,000 RPM and rapid travel speeds of 709" per minute. It is equipped with a 24 position tool turret and a fully programmable tailstock.

This machine tool is controlled by a mazatrol T2 computer with graphic displays and has an electronic tool setting eye for faster change-over. It uses conversational programming language.


Two identical machines. One is controlled by a T1 computer and the other by a Fanuc computer. The T1 control uses conversational programming language and the Fanuc uses paper tape. The Fanuc controlled M4 was purchased in 1981 for $123,000 and the T1 controlled M4 was purchased in 1984, for $132,000.

They have 22" maximum swing over the ways and 11" over the cross slide with 12" chucks. Capable of turning shafts 60" long, generating spindle speeds of 2,200 rpm, and rapid travel speeds of 470" per minute. Equipped with a front octagonal disc turret and a rear hexagonal boring turret and a manually operated tailstock.


There are four virtually identical hobs in the machine shop. They are used for producing Helical and Spur gears for water pump and Haight pump cases. They are capable of hobbing gears 16" in diameter and up to 17" in length.


Purchased in 1988 for $255,000, this is the largest of our CNC Turning Centers. It has a 15" chuck with a maximum swing over the ways of 30", 22" over the tooling carriage, and 61" between spindle and tailstock. Capable of rapid travel speeds up to 400 inches per minute, its 15 tool decagonal turret clamps in place with 12 tons of force and its NC tailstock clamps in place with 15 tons of force and can produce nearly 3 tons of thrust. The spindle is driven by a 50 horse power electric motor, machine weight of 11-1/2 tons. like the Quick Turn 35, this machine tool is controlled by a mazatrol T2 computer.


Purchased in 1991 for $180,000, this machining center is capable of 40" x 24" horizontal travel and 24" of vertical travel at the rate of 600 inches per minute. The spindle reaches 4000 RPM maximum with a 15 HP spindle drive. The machine is capable of positioning and repeatability accuracies of less than .0001 of an inch. Total machine weight is 20,000 pounds.


The testing of Haight pumps is done in this lab.


Fixturings and tooling are designed and built in this area. Three engine lathes are capable of doing work up to 18-1/2" in diameter and up to 52" long. Three drill presses drill and tap holes up to 2-1/4" in diameter. Four milling machines, two vertical, one horizontal, and one combination, are capable of doing work up to 20" wide and 36" long. The combination mill is also capable of doing angular work from zero degrees to 90 degrees. Both surface and cylindrical grinders are available for doing very close tolerance work. The tool room is equipped with a precision layout table for work layouts as well as an assortment of precision layout devices such as height gages and sine bars.


Pitless adapters are designed to allow access to water wells without digging up the well.

The THREAD-O-MATIC MACHINE is used for cutting small pipe and components for the pitless adapters.

The CYRIL BATH is a press that is used for punching holes and forming different components for pumps and frames.

The NIAGARA SHEER MACHINE is used for shearing sheet metal up to 3/16" thick.

The STRAP MACHINE is specially designed to cut and roll stainless steel bands for pitless adapters.

The BIGNALL-KELLER is a pipe threading machine for pipe from 4" to 8" and the 6" LANDIS goes from 2-1/2" to 6". There are various sizes of wells ranging from 3" to 8". The upper well casings are cut here to specific length and to go beneath the frost line. They are assembled in the assembly area with a spool into a discharge body. This spool is removable so the water pump can be withdrawn from the well for repairs.


Galvanizing is a very old process and is still the best way to stop corrosion.

The process involves:

1) Pickling in diluted acid at 150 degrees to 170 degrees.

2) Rinsing parts after acid bath.

3) Fluxing the parts in Zaclon Flux F. (Zinc Ammonium Chloride) 12 degrees to 15 degrees Baume.

4) Applying hot dip galvanizing coating at a temperature of 850 degrees to 870 degrees.

5) Rinsing in cold water and store.


Our state-of-the-art painting system is a new addition to Baker, having been put into operation in mid-August 1993. This system consists of a three stage material preparation system including a high-pressure spray wash to thoroughly clean parts prior to painting, an iron phosphate application to enhance the corrosion resistance of the paint, and an aqueous-phosphate application to seal the parts.

After the surface preparation described above is complete, parts are painted by either spraying or dipping. The paint is then baked until dry in a specially-designated oven at temperatures ranging from 250 degrees F to 400 degrees F.

This equipment is used to ensure that our products reach customers clean, dry, and ready for years of attractive and durable service.


The Industrial Pitless area is located in what used to be known as the lab. The lab has a unique history as it was used by the Navy for the building of ships during the second world war. This area was mainly used for the welding and assembly of large oil pumps and in 1993, the entire Industrial Pitless operation was located in this area. This area is very conducive to the assembly of the large industrial pitless units because of the 8000 lb. overhead crane that this area is equipped with.

The manufacturing of industrial pitless units requires several operations and associated equipment. These being:

Welding * Custom and standard industrial pitless units are welded in this area. This process is more difficult because it involves the welding of ductile iron discharge bodies to 3/8" wall steel casing. Forty-five thousandths thick wire and a mixture of 90% argon and 10% shielding gas are used for the welding process. Approximately 300 standard units and 50 custom units are welded annually.

Flame Cutting * The pipe casings for standard and custom industrial pitless units are flamecut to length and beveled in this area. This process is done by using a standard torch which burns oxygen and acetylene gas. To cut the various pipe lengths, the torch is secured to a pipe cutting machine which rotates the torch around the diameter of the pipe at the desired length. Four different machines, capable of cutting a range from 8" diameter to 28" diameter and pipe wall thicknesses up to 1-1/4" are used.

Testing * Before final assembly, the discharge bodies and spools are tested for leaks. The spool and discharge body is assembled, using o-rings to form a seal. The unit is then filled with water and pressurized to 300 pounds per square inch for 10 minutes. 300 PSI is more than sufficient, as the majority of units never rise above 100 PSI in the field.

Final Assembly * This process involves painting the assembly inside and out, including the lift-out pipe. Then the unit is completely assembled, tagged and ready to ship.

Strap Machine * PL straps, which are a component of the Snappy pitless unit, are welded on this machine. The process involves welding a stainless steel stud to a stainless steel strap. Stainless steel wire is used along with a special shielding gas which is a tri-mixture of 90% helium, 7.5% argon, and 2.5% CO2. There are nine different sizes of straps that are welded on this equipment. Approximately 30,000 straps are welded annually.

Discharge Body Jack * This piece of equipment is used to align the discharge body to the casing.


Haight pumps are assembled, tested, painted and boxed in this area. Haight pumps are used for pumping hot oil and other fluid in the fast food industry.