HOUSTON, Texas (April 23, 2013) – When the London-born, Scots-raised Robert W. Gardner came to the United States in 1849, he taught mathematics in Illinois, then returned to Scotland two years later. But he found opportunities in Scotland to be less promising than in the U.S., so he went back to Illinois. He settled in Quincy, located along the east edge of the Mississippi River, more than 300 miles southwest of Chicago.
Quincy became the manufacturing base for Gardner’s invention of the “flyball” governor in 1859. It controlled the speed of steam engines, which at the time were the primary source of power in the United States. The invention propelled the Gardner Governor Company to prominence over the next three decades.
In 1890, Gardner delved into the more competitive market of steam pumps. The Gardner duplex reciprocating pump became a breakthrough product with a reputation for quality, finding a niche in the marketplace over pumps manufactured and sold at a lower cost.
The Gardner Governor Company, which expanded its operations in Quincy toward the end of the 1800s, entered a pivotal point of prosperity in 1901 when oil was discovered at Spindletop outside Beaumont, Texas. Gardner pumps were increasingly in demand as the oil boom progressed. With the location of Gardner’s Quincy headquarters along the Mississippi, a direct shipping route to the Gulf of Mexico provided the company a significant competitive advantage.
Robert Gardner’s son, J. Willis Gardner, succeeded him as president of the Gardner Governor Company in 1905. J. Willis Gardner is credited with introducing a duplex steam pump called the “Gardner Booster,” designed specifically for mud service. Founder Robert Gardner died in 1907, but in his son's capable hands, the company continued successfully, developing pumps for the petroleum industry, and a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship was born.
Meanwhile, the Denver Rock Drill Company, which was founded in 1891 by William H. Leonard during the discovery of gold in Cripple Creek, Colorado, became successful through manufacturing and selling the Waugh drill, which drew a level of demand in the mining industry similar to that for Gardner pumps in the oil industry. In 1912, the Guggenheim family created the International Steam Pump and Machinery Company, which acquired Denver Rock Drill in 1913.
The evolution of pump technology in the early half of the 20th century became seemingly a game of “can you top this?” The turret-type reciprocating pump gave way to the slush pump in 1923, only to be outdone by later models that featured an open crankshaft construction, which was superseded by the industry’s first enclosed, eccentric-driven duplex power pump.
In 1926, the Gardner Governor Company met its “natural” match in the Denver Rock Drill Company and merged in 1927 as Gardner Denver, with Leonard as the newly formed company’s first president and CEO.
Gardner Denver did not break stride as it continued to supply equipment for oil wells, pipeline trenching, mining, dam and tunnel projects, highway construction, and more.
During World War II, Gardner Denver production was focused on the needs of the U.S. armed forces and merchant marines. Gardner Denver pumps were used on submarines and Liberty Ships.
In addition to introducing the industry standard for mud pumps, Gardner Denver was also at the forefront of technology for frac pumps, and is the only pump manufacturer that offers both drilling and well servicing pumps.
Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, Gardner Denver pumps continued its service to the oil and gas industry. The Offshore Technology Conference, an annual event that began in Houston in 1969 and has become the world’s largest energy industry trade show, routinely features the latest in Gardner Denver products and technologies. The company was acquired by Cooper Industries in 1979, then was spun off by Cooper in 1993. Gardner Denver’s operations evolved as part of Cooper Industries’ expanded organizational structure. After the spinoff, Gardner Denver continued its focus on quality and its growth through strategic domestic and overseas acquisitions.
Gardner Denver’s relentless pursuit of quality has led to cutting-edge improvements in its product lines and services. The company’s game-changing PZ-2400 drilling pump, rated at 2,400 BHP with a maximum pressure of 7,500 PSI, is 20 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than its competitors. This pump can fit into the same space occupied by a competitor’s 1,600 HP pump. In other words — two PZ 2400s can take the place of three competing pumps! And, the PZ-2400 enables faster mobility, from new construction to rebuilds.
Another Gardner Denver innovation, the TLS 10 fluid end, features the company’s proprietary Falcon Technology, which lowers stress while extending the life of the fluid end in well servicing pumps to up to three times longer than the fluid ends within competitors’ pumps. The TLS 10 fluid end has been so successful that Falcon Technology will be integrated throughout all Gardner Denver fluid-end product lines.
The 1,500 BHP Maverick, a recent addition to Gardner Denver’s pump line, combines advanced thinking from well-servicing and drilling technologies. Only 101 inches wide, the Maverick fits on a trailer, combining the same performance as larger pumps in a smaller, more efficient footprint.
Gardner Denver engineers products that are unmatched in quality and reliability by combining advanced geometry with autofrettage expertise. State-of-the-art, contemporary facilities in Fort Worth; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Altoona, Pennsylvania reflect Gardner Denver’s commitment to advanced repair, testing and lean manufacturing processes.
In addition to its continuous innovation of products and services, Gardner Denver is also innovating its communication channels to connect with customers across a media ecosystem to ensure the voice of the customer is heard. Gardner Denver is passionate about responding to customers' and market need with high-performance solutions.
As the leading manufacturer of drilling and well servicing pumps, Gardner Denver delivers the longest service life in the industry. Rigorously tested and American-made, Gardner Denver pumps are smaller, lighter and more powerful, providing the highest productivity and lowest total cost of ownership.
To learn more, connect with Gardner Denver Petroleum Pumps at pumpingperfected.com, and help celebrate 100 years of pumping innovation on Wednesday, May 8, at booth #5849 at the 2013 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
Headquartered in Wayne, Pennsylvania, Gardner Denver, Inc. offers both engineered and industrial products to customers worldwide. In addition to the petroleum pumps that serve the oil and gas industry, Gardner Denver is a global manufacturer of industrial compressors, blowers, pumps, loading arms and fuel systems. Its products are used in a wide range of applications including power plants, water purification, the food and beverage industry, paper mills, aviation, swimming pools, and pharmaceuticals. The Company has 40 manufacturing facilities located in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific, with offices in 33 countries.