German pump manufacturer WILO AG has been in business 135 years; power tool manufacturer Vermont American was founded 60 years ago; and Fluidmaster, manufacturer of toilet repair parts, is now 50 years old. 


A worldwide manufacturer of pumps and pump systems for heating, air-conditioning and cooling systems, water supply, sewage disposal and purification, WILO AG is based in Dortmund, Germany. It was founded by Louis Opländer in 1872 as a factory for copper and brass goods and expanded into the heating and sanitary areas in 1920. Today the company has facilities in more than 50 countries and employs nearly 6,000 people worldwide. Pictured: Electronics production was established at the Dortmund headquarters in 2001. Since then, the electronic components for all Wilo pump works (Dortmund, Oschersleben, Aubigny/France, Gimhae/South Korea) and all brands (Wilo, Salmson, EMB) are produced there.

Vermont American

Founded by Lee B. Thomas Sr. in 1947 as a business with one customer (Sears Roebuck & Co.), one product (a circular saw blade), and one plant, Vermont American was initially called American Saw and Tool. Today the company is known for its power tools accessories, including bits and blades, designed for both professional tradesmen and do-it-yourselfers. It was purchased by the Robert Bosch Tool Corp. in 2000. This year the company updated its merchandising racks, plan-o-grams and retailing guides. Also, it now offers a new line of packaging in a brighter red color that prominently displays key selling benefits, uses application icons to make product selection easier and features trilingual text.

Gary Harris (L) and Robert AndersonSchoepe.


Founder Adolf Schoepe launched Fluidmaster’s pilot fill valve technology in 1957 to provide more efficient and reliable toilet technology that worked with, rather than against, water pressure. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary with an event at its headquarters in San Juan Capistrano, CA, Oct. 5 that drew 500 attendees, including employees, customers, partners, vendors and area dignitaries. Visitors were invited to walk through the new Adolf Schoepe museum and tour the company’s plant. Gary Harris, vice president of sales, served as master of ceremonies and Robert AndersonSchoepe, president and chairman (and son of the founder), was a featured speaker.