Ingersoll in the years

1887: America Grows into a World Power and Ingersoll is There

Young Winthrop Ingersoll of Cleveland, Ohio wanted to play professional baseball, but his father Judge Jonathan Ingersoll did not agree. The father's solution was to purchase an interest in W.R. Eynon & Co., a local machine tool company.

The year was 1887. Winthrop eventually took over Eynon, and in 1891 with a loan of $29,000 from Rockford businessmen, moved the company there. "One of the prettiest places I have ever seen, " Ingersoll explains. "And they have the very best class of mechanics."

The first shop was 50 by 150 feet; the first payroll was for 19 employees. But Winthrop Ingersoll developed his company's capability to adjust to the machine tool industry cycles early. In 1903 he doubled the size of the company in a bid to win a large contract from General Electric Co.

Ingersoll obtained the order, and by 1906, the firm had completed the largest milling machine of its time 157.5 tons for GE.

The company grew on the crest of the boom in the automobile industry in the first 25 years of the twentieth century, and then on that of World War I production. By 1916 the firm had recorded its first million-dollar sales year, added an assembly shop, and more than doubled the payroll to 451.

1917: The Foundations of Excellence

In 1917 the company built $750,000 worth of machinery to build 50-caliber machine guns. By the end of the year there were almost 600 employees. One of those who joined that year was Robert M. Gaylord who had married Ingersoll's daughter, Mildred.

Revenues passed the million-dollar mark in 1918. The following year Winthrop Ingersoll, responding to the urging of his employees, put in writing the policy that Ingersoll would conduct its operations in ways that labor unions would not be needed.

It has remained so to this day.

Ingersoll Rockford Headquarters Today The company weathered the postwar slump and grew steadily through the 1920s, developing continuous milling machines for engine blocks in the automobile industry and other equipment used in the manufacture of locomotives. In 1924 Ingersoll built the first transfer line for the automatic machining of engine blocks in the U.S. In 1928 Winthrop Ingersoll died, and Robert Gaylord succeeded him.

The company stood on the threshold of more growth in 1929 when the Great Depressionstruck but prosperity began to return in the late 1930s and the company purchased the Schuman Piano plant, built a new assembly shop, and added office and garage space.

1940's: Modern Challenges

The Ingersoll Milling Machine Company joined the massive war production that was the United States' response to World War II. The company built a 175-ton swivel head boring machine to cut and machine armor plate for naval vessels. It was so effective that the Navy honored Ingersoll with the prestigious "E" Award. The firm also built large-scale machinery used in the manufacture of reduction gear drive cases for battleships, hulls and turrets for battle tanks, torpedo tubes and antiaircraft gun mounts. It also pioneered the development of carbide cutting tools. By 1942 sales had risen to $11.5 million, and the work force to 1,200.

Sales and production slumped briefly after World War II ended but had picked up by the 1950s. That decade the company added many new buildings for assembly, office and engineering space, storage, the manufacture of cutting tools, and fabrication.

1953: Largest Milling Machine in the World

And the tasks Ingersoll undertook grew. In 1953 the company built the largest milling machine in the world for installation in its own plant. The machine measured 133 feet long and weighed 500 tons. By the late 1950s several more of these "giants" were added to the plant, making Ingersoll's Rockford facility one of the most modern and productive big machining shops in the world.

Ingersoll's customer base expanded into the growing aluminum industry, and into the manufacture of diesel engines for locomotives in the 1950s. The company sold to customers in India, Australia, the Soviet Union, and France, among others.

1960: Expansion in the Technology Age

The 1960s began with projects to build two large transfer lines for an Opel automobile plant in West Germany. The order heralded the massive growth of the foreign customer base in the 1960s. Ingersoll joined with West German company Waldrich Siegen to build a cutting tool plant in West Germany, and in 1966, a similar venture led to construction of a plant in England.
That decade Ingersoll also led the way in new technology, developing and building electrical discharge machining (E.D.M.) and numerical control (N/C) equipment.

1970: 15th Largest US Metal Cutting Manufacuter

By 1970 annual sales totaled $37 million, and Ingersoll ranked 15th in size among 250 US metal cutting tool manufacturers. The firm's acquisition of H.A.Waldrich of Siegen, West Germany and later Waldrich Coburg in Germany marked even further growth and firmly established the company as a dominant international builder of machine tools and complete manufacturing systems.

1980's: World Powers - World Strength

In the 1980s Ingersoll joined in partnership arrangements with Boeing, General Motors and others to provide large manufacturing systems for major aircraft components and powertrains for the automobile industry.
Today, Ingersoll is helping meet world demand for dramatic improvements in manufacturing flexibility, productivity and quality with a new generation of Vertical and Horizontal MASTERCENTER™ machines.

Applications abound in aerospace, heavy machinery, machine tool, automotive and other manufacturing industries.

In 1996 Ingersoll introduced High Velocity® machines which are rapidly transforming the manufacturing process to provide agility and flexibility for many manufactured parts throughout the world.

These machines are being shipped to Europe and Asia, as well as Ingersoll's customers in the Americas.

Ingersoll ranks among the top special machine builders in the entire world.