John Bean Co. - FMC - 1904-present - Lansing, Michigan


John Bean is one of the world's leading brands of automotive wheel service equipment.  The company's roots began with a retired inventor, John Bean, in 1904.  He founded the John Bean Spray Pump Company.  When the company merged with a nearby food machinery company, it became the Food Machinery & Chemical Company (FMC).  In 1996 Snap-On Corporation acquired the automotive equipment division from FMC and renamed it John Bean honoring the original founder.

From the start, John Bean was a pioneer in innovative technologies to meet the growing demands of the ever-growing automotive industry.  During the early 1900's John Bean's state-of-the-art pressure pumps were often used as portable fire fighting pumps.  When the pumps were mounted in trucks, one of the earliest motorized fire trucks came into being. In the 1940s Bean pioneered the high-pressure fog pump, a device now standard on most new fire-fighting vehicles.

Both Bean-equipped and Bean-bodied Fire Apparatus continued to be built through the 1970s in Lansing, Michigan.

Today Bean's parent firm, FMC - Food Machinery Co., is a large international firm specializing in military vehicles, food handling equipment and agricultural chemicals.


Many trucks released by the Willys factory as pickups or "stripped chassis" were adapted by after-market manufacturers including John Bean Co. of Lansing, Michigan. These conversions also included Forward Control fire trucks built from the cab-over-engine trucks produced by Willys from 1956-65.


In the 1940s FMC entered the defense business and began producing amphibious vehicles for the military. The company receives a $60 Million order for military vehicles during WWII.

In the 1980s FMC was awarded a $206 million contract to produce the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.


FMC History

From a continuous spray pump in California's orchards in the 1880s to some of the world's most sophisticated technology and equipment for the oilfield service, food processing and air transportation industries, FMC Technologies and its predecessor companies have a long history of technical innovation. FMC Technologies traces its roots to 1884 when inventor John Bean developed a new type of spray pump to combat San Jose scale in California's orchards. When neighbors clamored for the device, Bean Spray Pump Company was born.

At first, the company made agricultural equipment, but mergers in the late 1920s with makers of food processing equipment and cannery machinery for vegetables, created a larger company requiring a new name - Food Machinery Corporation.

By the mid-1930s, FMC was the world's largest manufacturer of machinery and equipment for handling fruits, vegetables, milk, fish and meat products. And as World War II began, FMC entered the defense business, making amphibious tractors and tanks for the military.

In the post-war boom, FMC introduced continuous freezers, providing for assembly-line production of pre-packaged frozen foods and made strides in sterilization of canned foods. The boom also prompted acquisitions in chemicals and petroleum equipment.

In 1961 the diverse, global company changed its name to FMC Corporation, and in 1966 sales topped $1 billion. By the early 1970s, FMC had 42,000 employees and a new Chicago headquarters. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and into the 21st century, the company pursued new businesses. In 2000, FMC announced a plan to restructure into two companies - one a machinery and equipment business (FMC Technologies); the other a chemicals business (FMC Corporation). FMC Technologies, Inc. became a newly listed public company on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2001, with an intial public offering of approximately 17 percent of its stock


    For more information please read:

Walter M.P. McCall & George H. Dammann - American Fire Engines Since 1900

Fred W. Crismon - Fire Engines

Bob Dubbert - Encyclopedia of Canadian Fire Apparatus

Donal M. Baird - A Canadian History of Fire Engines

Phil DaCosta - One Hundred Years of America's Fire Fighting Apparatus

Bill Hass - History of the American Water Towers

Hans Halberstadt - The American Fire Engine

Hans Halberstadt - Fire Engines

T.A. Jacobs - A History of Fire Engines

Matthew Lee - A Pictorial History of the Fire Engine

M.W. Goodman MD - Inventing the American Fire Engine: An Illustrated History of Fire Engine Patents

Consumer's Guide - The Complete Book of Fire Engines: A colorful Review of Today's Fire Apparatus

Sheila Buff - Fire Engines in North America

Sheila Buff - Fire Engines: Motorized Apparatus Since 1900

Neil Wallington - World Encyclopedia of Fire Engines: an illustrated guide to fire trucks around the world

Keith Ryan & Neil Wallington - The Illustrated History of Fire Engines

Paul Barrett - Heavy Rescue Trucks: 1931 - 2000 Photo Gallery

Larry Shapiro - Aerial Fire Trucks

Larry Shapiro - Fighting Fire Trucks

Larry Shapiro - Hooks and Ladders

Larry Shapiro - Pumpers: Workhorse Fire Engines

Donald F. Wood - American Volunteer Fire Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Big City Fire Truck 1900-1950

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorensen - Big City Fire Trucks: 1951-1996

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorenson - Motorized Fire Apparatus of the West, 1900-1960

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorensen - New York City Fire Trucks

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorenson - Volunteer & Rural Fire Apparatus Photo Gallery

Kenneth Little - Chicago Fire Department engines: Sixty years of motorized pumpers, 1912-1972

Kenneth Little - Chicago Fire Department hook & ladder tractors, 1914-1971

Ron Jeffers - The apparatus of the Jersey City Fire Department: Yesterday and today

John Rieth - Jersey Shore Fire Apparatus: Classic Thru the 60's

Philip R. Lincoln - Massachusetts fire apparatus: A pictorial Collection

Charles Madderom - Los Angeles City Fire Apparatus: 1953 Through 1999 Photo Archive

George Klass - Fire apparatus: A pictorial history of the Los Angeles Fire Department

John A. Calderone - Wheels of the bravest: A history of FDNY fire apparatus, 1865-1992

Peter Aloisi - Apparatus and fires across America: Featuring former FDNY apparatus

Scott Schimpf - Fire Apparatus of Philadelphia

Harrold Shell - Past and present: A history of Phoenix fire trucks

Leo E. Duliba - Industrial & Private Fire Apparatus: 1925 Through 2001 Photo Archive

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

George W. Green - Special-Use Vehicles: An Illustrated History of Unconventional Cars and Trucks

William T. King - History of the American Steam Fire-Engine

John M. Peckham - Fighting fire with fire: A pictorial volume of steam fire-fighting apparatus

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