Smith Equipment Manufacturing was founded by Elmer Smith as Smith Inventions in 1916. Located in a garage in Minneapolis, it was primarily a design and manufacturing operation building a line of oxy-acetylene welding and cutting equipment. Over the years, Mr. Smith added other products and businesses but, for the most part, oxy-fuel gas apparatus was the primary product that stood the test of time.
In the late 1950's, a decision was made to expand the business into markets outside the welding industry and a "high pressure" regulator business was formed. Also, the name of the company was changed to TESCOM Corporation that is an acronym for The Elmer Smith Company of Minnesota. Eventually, Tescom consisted of four antonymous divisions, one of which was Smith Equipment Manufacturing which relocated to Watertown in 1981.
Smith Equipment offers an extensive line of cutting torches, gas regulators, tips and replacement gauges, and boasts its trademark "LIFETIME" warranty, one of the strongest warranty and service agreements in the industry. Smith also serves the HVAC and jewelry industries with a line of specialty products developed specifically for these unique applications. Other Smith products include gas mixing devices, aircraft pitot tubes and specialty gas mixers. Smith serves the following industries: construction, steel fabrication, shipbuilding, maintenance, salvage, "low grade" specialty gas, instrumentation (pitot tubes), jewelry, hobby, HVAC and general industrial. Smith Equipment currently has 165 employees located at the Watertown facility.
Smith's manufacturing operation consists of cellular business units for each product line, producing in high volume, "mass production" metal working equipment (CNC, automatic screw machines, line drilling), plating, swaging, assembly and test.
In 1996 Smith Equipment was acquired by Full Circle Investments, a group of investors, who utilized Smith as the cornerstone to build "Arcsmith" -- now a group of four companies. In 1997 Welding Nozzle International, Palmetto, Florida, was acquired and placed under the Smith Equipment umbrella. Two other companies, National Torch Tip of Pittsburgh anbd OXO Welding Equipment of Troy, Ohio have since been added to Arcsmith.
In 1998 Illinois Tool Works (ITW) purchased Arcsmith. ITW, a diversified global manufacturer, is a $10 billion Fortune 200 company based in Chicago.
During the last few years, Smith Equipment has focused on product line simplification, factory in-lining and employee empowerment. These efforts have significantly reduced inventories and greatly increased throughput, all of which has dramatically improved overall productivity and thus bottom line profits.
We strongly believe the "future history" of Smith Equipment depends on every employee subscribing to the 80/20 rule and the five principles of focus, flow, simplify, empower and trust!!