In 1937 a small company changed the future of household appliances by introducing the Winkler Stoker, an automatic coal stoker. In Lebanon, Indiana, The Winkler Brothers, Carl J. Winkler Sr., Walter N. Winkler, Maurice F. Winkler, and Herman E. Winkler, along with two others, bought an old wheel works building on E. Walnut St. and under the name Winkler Manufacturing Corporation, started producing the Winkler Stoker. As they expanded in the following years, they made several major purchases and several name changes.
In 1938 what had been known as Winkler Manufacturing Corporation became known as U.S. Machine Corporation. In 1939, as U.S. Machine Corporation grew, they purchased what is now the American Legion building on W. Main St. in Lebanon and moved their office from their factory on E. Walnut St. factory to the new Main St. location. Later in 1939 the Hydroil Corporation Building on N. Patterson St. was also purchased by U.S. Machine Corporation.
After the rapid growth in the late 1930’s, U.S. Machine Corporation offered their services to the War Department. In 1940, they began production of Ordinance materials. Not only was this initial government contract finished before the promised date, no Ordinance item was ever returned to the Company because of faulty workmanship. This only set a precedent for how the business would continue to grow and operate.
Throughout the war, U.S. Machine Corporation continued to make supplies for the government. In 1945 they produced the two-millionth 81-MM mortar shell. After pausing for a moment to present the shell to Col. Joseph C. Shouvlin, they not only continued to work, but opened a second line to double production.
Aside from making war supplies, U.S. Machine Corporation played a lead role in the government’s fuel conservation drive. They continued to manufacture industrial and commercial coal stokers, which replaced hand fired and oil burning equipment.
U.S. Machine Corporation made quite a name for themselves during the war. Stewart – Warner was so impressed with their continuing quality, service, and craftsmanship that U.S. Machine Corporation became Division Six of the Stewart – Warner Corporation. With this consolidation, Stewart – Warner was able to expand Division Six and add 50 new models to the line.
In 1954, the same year as the Division Six expansion, Stewart – Warner introduced many innovations that are now standards in the industry. This included the first split condenser-compressor air conditioning system which led to the public acceptance of central air conditioning, an electric furnace, and the first furnace with a valve that would automatically adjust the heating flame to match the heat loss during mild or cold outside temperatures.
With so much pride and excellence just in the name Stewart – Warner we are proud to announce the new high efficiency line of Stewart – Warner heating and air conditioning products. The name your parents and grandparents knew and trusted is now the name you can count on for quality heating and air conditioning products of the future…Stewart – Warner.
About Home History Vision Statement Mission Statement Values