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Vermeer Corporation is a family-owned company that manufactures agricultural, environmental and construction equipment and is headquartered in Pella, Iowa. It was founded in Pella in 1948 by Gary Vermeer as Vermeer Manufacturing Company.
In 1947 farmer Gary Vermeer designed a mechanical wagon hoist for his own use. Farm neighbors observed his wagon hoist in operation and were soon asking for the implement. At his request, a local machine shop fabricated a number of these hoists to meet the demand. In the spring of 1948, it was evident that the unit could be successfully produced and marketed on a larger scale. Consequently, Gary and a cousin, Ralph Vermeer, founded Vermeer Manufacturing Company the latter part of that year. Shortly thereafter, they began manufacturing the Vermeer mechanical hoist in their newly built factory. However, the introduction of competitive hydraulic wagon hoists made it obvious that new products must be developed for the young company to survive.
A second farm implement was designed—a portable power take-off drive for hammermills and shellers. The Vermeer Pow-RDrive met with almost immediate success...thousands were sold. Through these early years other small farm equipment items, such as a wagon end gate seeder and wheel cleaner for row crop tractors were designed and manufactured.
In 1955 the original boom type agricultural sprinkler, designed for use with high clearance crops such as corn, was developed and marketed. Widespread acceptance was because the Vermeer sprinkler covers a large area with a low precipitation rate, substantially reducing labor cost. In 1967 automation was introduced with the launching of the Vermeer traveling sprinkler system.
In 1956 Vermeer Manufacturing Company became one of two organizations to introduce the hay conditioner to the agricultural market. By 1960 nearly 5,000 units had been marketed to the farm industry. A major breakthrough in the agriculture industry was the development of the round baler.
In 1957 the first Pow-R-Stump Cutter was introduced. Although other devices had been used in removing stumps, they were generally expensive, cumbersome and not practical for widespread use. The patented Vermeer stump cutter was the first practical, low-cost answer to stump removal.
In 1963 experimentation began on the development of a mechanical tree moving machine. A few months later, the Vermeer TM-700 was introduced. This was the first machine designed to dig, transport and replant large trees economically. About four years later the Vermeer tree spade was introduced. The first machine, model TS-44, enjoyed immediate acceptance and more than 400 units were sold the first year.
Gary Vermeer retired as CEO in 1989 from Vermeer Corporation and served the corporation as Chairman Emeritus of the Board until his death on February 2, 2009. Gary's two children, Robert Vermeer and Mary Andringa Vermeer, took over the company after Gary's retirement.
In 1991 Vermeer Corporation launched its Navigator horizontal directional drilling machine line-up which has been used in installing fiber optics communications cables. As a trencher equipment manufacturer, Vermeer trenching equipment has been used on road construction and mining projects, within the equipment rental industry, and on other job applications.
Today, Vermeer markets 100 agricultural and industrial products worldwide, and operates 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 m2) of plant space for manufacturing, with their most recognizable product being wood chippers designed for the tree service industry.
- "Vermeer". Garyvermeer.com. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
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