Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

A bit of John Bean history

The company's roots began with a retired inventor, John Bean, in 1904.

He founded the John Bean Spray Pump Company (John Bean Mfg. Co. of San Jose, California & Lansing Michigan). The company was founded by chemist John Bean in 1883 as the Bean Spray Pump Company in Los Gatos, California, producing piston pumps for insecticides

In 1914 the Company built the new plant in Lancing, Michigan and closed the smaller facility in Berea. this move also put them close to the Novo engine Company in Lansing.

In 1928, Bean Spray Pump purchased two companies: the Anderson-Barngrover Co. and Sprague-Sells Co. At this time the company changed its name to Food Machinery Corporation, and began using the initials FMC

John Bean's involvement in the firefighting industry began in the late 1930s when someone used one of their agricultural sprayers to fight a fire. Once the company became aware of this development, they created a high pressure "fog" system to fight fires

In 1946, FMC bought Bolens Lawn and Garden Equipment. FMC changed its name again in 1948, becoming Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation.

In 1961 the name was changed to FMC Corporation.

Bean also manufactured fire fighting equipment in the 1960s through the 1980s under the FMC and the Bean names. Both Bean-equipped and Bean-bodied Fire Apparatus continued to be built through the 1970s in Lansing, Michigan.

FMC also produced fire truck fire pumps and pumper bodies. It had an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) arrangement with Ladder Towers Inc. (LTI) to market aerial ladders. In the early 1980s the fire apparatus division of FMC tried to expand its role in aerial ladders on fire trucks, leveraging the Link-Belt crane division. FMC's expansion into production of aerial ladders failed: the FMC Fire Apparatus division was shut down in 1990.

John Bean trucks were initially built in Lansing until the mid-1960s. Production was then moved to FMC's complex in Tipton, Indiana and again in 1986 to Orlando, Florida.

In 1978, Van Pelt was purchased by FMC Corporation; P.E. Van Pelt Inc., was an American fire apparatus manufacturer in Oakdale, California; and the Van Pelt nameplate continued to appear on trucks built in Oakdale. In 1987, FMC consolidated fire truck production in Florida and the Oakdale plant was closed.

The division was shut down in 1990.

FMC Corporation began spinning several of its divisions into separate companies, including United Defense and FMC Technologies, and selling its divisions, including its automotive division to Snap-on Equipment, a division of Snap-on, in 1996. Snap-on renamed the division the "John Bean Company".[ The building has be re-purposed and today the John Bean Building is a multi-tenant facility located just south of the I-496 / Cedar Street interchange. The facility offers small, medium and large workshop space with heavy power throughout. In addition, flexible storage space, forklift service and on site personnel are available. Office space is available.

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