|Traded as||NYSE: PLOW|
Michael W. Wickham
Western Products is an American brand name for snow plows and other professional snow removing equipment manufactured by Western Welding and Manufacturing. The company also manufactures a variety of truck-mounted sand and salt spreaders, snowplow replacement parts and snow removal accessories.
Western Products employs approximately 250 people at its manufacturing facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the company is a division of Douglas Dynamics group (NYSE:PLOW), which also owns the Blizzard and Fisher Engineering brand names.
On September 5, 1950, Douglas Seaman purchased Western Welding & Manufacturing, a small machine shop in Milwaukee that was founded in 1943. Western mainly handled small, one-off welding jobs for large manufacturers. A friend suggested to Seaman that he should start manufacturing snowplows as a way to diversify his business, which he did. In 1952, Western Welding introduced its first snowplow at a time when the U.S. population was shifting toward suburb settings, which increased the market for light trucks. This increased the demand for snowplows.
Suburban areas continued to thrive through the 1950s, and the light-truck market continued to grow. The demand for snowplows continued rising, allowing Western Products' sales to double between 1961 and 1968. The 1970s also proved to be a profitable time for the company, as its share of the national market for the type of snowplows mounted on light trucks rose from 33 percent in 1968 to 40 percent a decade later. In 1977 Douglas Seaman incorporated as Douglas Dynamics Incorporated, which he placed as the parent company for Western Welding & Manufacturing. In 1984, Douglas Dynamics expanded, purchasing Fisher Engineering, a well respected competitor in the snow plow business.
In November 2005 Douglas Dynamics purchased Blizzard Corporation, including their complete line of snowplows and snowplow patents. Among the patents was a patent for an “adjustable-wing snowplow” that allowed the blade to extend from 8 feet out to 10 feet. Douglas Dynamics incorporated that technology into both its existing snowplow brands.
In the 3rd Quarter of 2012, Douglas Dynamics' profits declined considerably due to a record low snowfall.
- Gurda, John (2000). Built By Seaman: Four Generations of Family Enterprise. p. 65. OCLC 48645043.
- Jackson, Kenneth T. (1985), Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-504983-7
- "Douglas Dynamics Incorporated time line". Douglas Dynamics Incorporated. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Douglas". The Business Journal. The Business Journal. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "Douglas Dynamics 3Q earnings fall more than 40%". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.