Auto parts to power take-offs
Lou Conne (far left) started Muncie Power in a small office of the Plank Brothers Building (second from left) and hired Hamer Shafer (center) as the first employee. Shafer expanded the company by purchasing a manufacturing division (second from right) and led the company to join Interpump S.p.A.
The end of the Great Depression probably doesn’t sound like the best time to start a new business, right? But that’s exactly what Louis Conne did in July 1935. He founded Muncie Parts Manufacturing Company, which later became the Muncie Power Products, Inc. you know today, in a section of the Plank Brothers building in Muncie, Indiana.
In the beginning
Conne came to Muncie in 1932, to become manager of Durham Manufacturing—a household furniture and appliance company. Muncie Parts Manufacturing Company began in a single office space (less than 500 square feet) with a desk, chair, telephone, and marketing and inventory catalogs—and one other employee, Hamer Shafer. Ironically, the company did not manufacture anything—it did assemble a few parts—but it really served as a distributor of new and recycled automotive replacement parts.
The automotive parts business was rapidly growing because of the economic situation. New vehicle sales were stagnant in the 1930s, meaning those that owned cars were driving them longer and were replacing parts. Additionally, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler Corporation had locations in Muncie or in nearby Anderson, Indiana, meaning it was easy to access inventory supplies.
In addition to offering automotive parts, Muncie Parts Manufacturing began to get into the niche market of power take-offs (PTOs) and mechanical winches. PTOs are a type of device that use a power source, such as an engine via its transmission, to perform a variety of mechanical tasks. One thing that made Muncie Parts Manufacturing PTO models stand out was because the shifter control could be operated inside the cab.
From first employee to company president
Shafer, the first employee, was a 19-year-old recent graduate of Muncie Central High School and became Conne’s right-hand man. Together, the two mailed out flyers and letters to potential customers and would go out on the road to various states to promote and market to other distributors.
Later, when Shafer took on a larger role in the company’s operation after the passing of Conne, Muncie Parts Manufacturing shifted its primary product emphasis to PTOs. Shafer saw the opportunity in the development of the work truck. This is because after World War II, trucks became bigger because people wanted to haul more in less trips and the increased attention on building infrastructure meant trucks had more work to do.
Shafer had bought into the company when he entered into a joint partnership with Conne’s daughter in 1952, which would become incorporated again eight years later. In 1965, Shafer purchased the remaining stock and became the company’s president.
Through the late 1960s and into the mid-1970s, Muncie Parts Manufacturing expanded their products with a patent of the polyethylene hydraulic oil reservoir and offering the dump pump. It wasn’t until October 1979 when the company officially changed its name to Muncie Power Products to better represent their role in the truck and mobile equipment industry.
More than a distributor
In 1982, with Shafer leading the company as president, the decision to develop a revolutionary PTO design with Tulsa Winch, a division of Sperry Vickers, guided Muncie Power to becoming a manufacturer rather than only a distributor. After purchasing the PTO manufacturing equipment and facilities in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in November 1986, then Muncie Power officially became a manufacturer. Since then, Muncie Power now offers a wide breadth of products that can be used on various applications.
Muncie Power eventually went on to join Interpump Group S.p.A. in 1999, becoming part of a multinational operation. Today, Interpump Group is a leader in power take-offs and high pressure piston pumps. Even with the growth of the company and the transfer of ownership to the Interpump Group, Muncie Power continues with the same mission: “…to provide quality products and services that will satisfy the needs and expectations of our customers.”
To maintain that mission, Muncie Power also created a Product and Application School to not only help give employees a better knowledge base of the product offerings, but also to distributors throughout the country. In the early years, part of the school’s areas of focus included a hands-on PTO assembly program for outside distributors throughout the country. The school’s goal was to better assist distributors in getting exactly what they needed.
This commitment to the customer has been what has made Muncie Power successful through the years. Muncie Power continues to focus on a people first philosophy to motivate their employees to provide the best quality of service to their customers. By continually investing in the customer service team and product development, Muncie Power places an emphasis on the customer and providing the experience for them.
Today, Muncie Power has nine company owned locations: headquarters in Muncie, Indiana, assembly centers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Muncie, Indiana, and distribution centers in Atlanta, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; and Visalia, California. Beyond these manufacturing and distribution facilities across the country, Muncie Power maintains a global distribution network to best meet customer application needs and provide industry leading customer service.
This year, Muncie Power broke ground on a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This new facility will allow for expanded manufacturing capacity, additional machinery, and continued product innovation.
Muncie Power Products Timeline
Muncie Parts Manufacturing Company opens; Hamer Shafer hired as first employee
Muncie Parts Manufacturing Company branded single-gear PTO with BorgWarner
Hamer Shafer becomes president of Muncie Parts Manufacturing Company
Polyethylene reservoir product line introduced and patented
Polyethylene reservoirs are best used for intermittent-duty applications and are available in a box or upright design.
Wet line kits introduced
Wet Line Kits come in a variety of reservoir sizes and configurations to meet your system needs.
Company renamed: Muncie Power Products
Initiated joint venture with Sperry-Vickers
Power shift PTO introduced
The Power Shift PTO allowed for hydraulic shifting for automatic transmission and air shifting for standard transmissions. This PTO is no longer available.
TG Series PTO introduced
The TG Series is a verstaile double-gear PTO featuring a die-cast alumnum housing.
Manufacturing Division and Distribution Center location opened (Tulsa, Okla.) and manufacturing capabilities purchased from Sperry-Vickers
CD10 Series PTO introduced
The CD10 Series is a constant drive PTO for Allison and Caterpillar automatic transmissions.
CS10 Series PTO introduced
The CS10 Series is a heavy duty clutch shift PTO for Allison and Caterpillar transmissions.
CS20 Series and CS24 Series PTOs introduced
The CS24 Series is a clutch shift PTO for Allison and Caterpillar transmissions.
SH Series and SD Series PTOs introduced
The SH Series is an air shift only PTO designed for high torque applications.
CS6/8 Series PTO and FA Series PTO for Ford introduced
The CS6/8 Series is a clutch shift PTO for Allison 1000/2000 Series automatics and many current manual transmissions.
The FA Series PTOs are designed to fit Ford's 5R110 TorqShift® and 4R100 automatic transmissions.
Muncie Power joins Interpump Group
Interpump Group S.p.A. is one of the top organizations with in the hydraulics inudstry at an international level.
Shaft Extension products added
Shaft extensions provide an easier hydraulic pump installation by allowing the pump to move to the rear of the transmission.
FR Series PTO introduced
The FR Series PTOs are designed to fit Ford's 5R110 TorqShift® and 4R100 automatic transmissions.
SS88 Series and GBFR Series PTOs introduced
The SS88 Series is a split-shaft PTO for medium and heavy duty vehicles.
The GBFR Series is a gearbox for the FR66 PTO.
Optimum Series pumps introduced
The Optiumum Series pumps offer premier performance on a variety of applications across several industries.
Pin-pin Mount hydraulic cylinders introduced
The Pin-pin mount cylinder is one of the lightest cylinders on the market and has a self-bleeding design for easier install.
Trunnion Mount hydraulic cylinders introduced
The Trunnion mount cylinder allow for increased capacity in the dump body, feature strict machining tolerences, and more.
Directional Control Valves introduced
Directional control valves work on a variety of hydraulic applications and are a sectional type, meaning they can be stacked in any combination.
Hose & Fittings introduced
The Hose & Fittings Division manages high-quality hose and fittings for various applications.
The Omni-System™ is a mid-level technology soluction for snow and ice control.
Omni-System™ Plus introduced
The Omni-System™ Plus is a snow and ice control solution with remote dianostic support, flow sharing, multi-camera inputs, and more.
F20 Series PTO introduced
The F20 Series is a clutch shift PTO designed for Ford's 10R140 and features noise abatement technology.