While the company we know today was officially formed back in 1972, we trace our first roots to a time almost fifty years earlier. Now, close to a century later, our roots have reunited to form a company that would not exist without the leaders who came long before.
It started in 1917. At the time, the world was fighting The Great War, Ford manufactured its two-millionth Model T and a gallon of fuel was a mere four cents. That same year, Henry Schmidgall moved his family to Hancock, Minnesota. He purchased a concrete factory in the small, farm town about 150 miles west of Minneapolis. By the 1940’s, Hancock Concrete was one of most pioneering, most modern concrete builders in the United States.
During the same decade, Henry’s son and coworker, Wayne Schmidgall, purchased the aggregate production division from his father. His business became known as Schmidgall Sand and Gravel and its chief customer for most of its existence was Hancock Concrete.
The tradition continued another generation later when Wayne’s son, Neil Schmidgall, started working in the family business. Neil’s passion was building and repairing the conveyors and plants used to help produce his father’s aggregate supply. By 1972, other producers in western Minnesota started to notice Neil’s work and a growing customer base allowed him to form a brand new business he named the Superior Machinery Company.
Two years later, Schmidgall Sand and Gravel closed, but Neil was already strategizing how to grow and broaden his young enterprise. That same year, Ersham Manufacturing of Enterprise, Kansas, offered to sell their conveyor idler inventory, presses and tooling. A purchase price was negotiated and in 1974, Superior Machinery was an American idler manufacturer; a unique business model to this day as Superior remains the only North American manufacturer of both conveyor systems and many of their related accessories.
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, Superior Industries continued steady growth, but an event in 1997 altered the company’s future forever. That is the year an aggressive, young engineering department completed final research and development on a telescoping radial stacking conveyor. What came to be known as the TeleStacker® Conveyor remains the company’s premiere product line, helping to grow Superior’s customer base from the United States to six of the seven continents on the planet. After successfully launching the complex machine, the original innovative spirit endures and has led to 75 more new products since.
The 2000’s will be known for extreme growth at a rapid pace that has yet to slow. During the last decade, Superior Industries has extended outside of its headquarters in Morris, Minnesota, and added new businesses in Arizona, Georgia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. In 2008, the company acquired Westmor Industries, a neighbor in Morris, Minnesota, and the community’s second largest manufacturer. Two years later, Superior reconnected its roots when Hancock Concrete joined the flourishing family of companies.