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Schaeffer Manufacturing Company celebrates 175 years in business

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Schaeffer Manufacturing Company celebrates 175 years in business

Specialized lubricant manufacturer is one of the oldest businesses in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO (January 15, 2014) – 2014 marks the 175th anniversary of Schaeffer Manufacturing Company, the country’s oldest lubricant manufacturer. Schaeffer Mfg. Co. is a sixth generation, family owned company that manufacturers oils, greases, fuel additives and specialized products.

In 1832, Nicholas Schaeffer arrived in Baltimore from Germany. He headed westward with a stop in Cincinnati before moving to St. Louis, where he founded N. Schaeffer & Co. (now known as Schaeffer Mfg. Co.). During its first 40 years of business, Schaeffer Mfg. Co. was the largest soap and candles manufacturer in the West. From the by-products of animal fats, the company produced Red Engine Oil, used by steamboats, and Black Beauty Grease, used on wagon wheels. The company’s full history can be read here.

“Nicholas Schaeffer’s courage to start a business from nothing inspired family members to continue in his footsteps,” says Tom Schaeffer Herrmann, CEO. “Their commitment to future generations kept the company family owned and operating continuously for 175 years.”

Times and technology changed, prompting the biggest shift in the company’s history. After World War II, Schaeffer Mfg. Co. focused more on developing its lubricant business and less on soap and candles. Prior to the 1940s, grease and oil only represented 20 percent of the company’s sales.

“It was a rebirth for the company. We realized if we wanted to contin­ue the business, we needed to establish our own brand of oil,” explains Jay Schaeffer Shields, company president. “Schaeffer was making private label oil for the major oil companies, but we had the know how to make it better. With that vision burned into our minds, we started using better base stocks and blended them
with friction modifiers.”

After all this time, Schaeffer Mfg. Co. still produces its full product line from its home office in St. Louis. Kettles that were used to make soap now produce grease; office desks occupy areas where candles were made; and the manufacturing plant has more than tripled in its capacity.

“Schaeffer is a solid and stable company with the resources to continue doing the best we can for our customers and to offer opportunities for our associates,” says Herrmann.

In addition to commemorating the 175th anniversary, Schaeffer Mfg. Co. is honoring Nicholas Schaeffer’s 200th birthday. “Nicholas was a notable business and civic leader in St. Louis who was known for his loyalty and generosity,” says John Schaeffer Shields, chairman of the board. “His business was built on his pioneering spirit and strong integrity, and we carry on those same ideals today.”

About Schaeffer Mfg. Co.
Manufacturers of specialized lubricants, Schaeffer Mfg. Co.’s products deliver improved fuel economy, longer lubricant life and outstanding performance to machinery, vehicles and heavy equipment. With over 500 factory reps nationwide selling direct to end users, Schaeffer Mfg. Co. provides local sales service to various industries, including construction, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, industrial, commercial and municipal fleets, trucking and racing.

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