100 Years of Amerequip History: Honoring Our Past

Welcome to a visual storytelling of Amerequip’s history, starting from humble beginnings 100-years ago as the Farm Specialty Manufacturing Company. We invite you to scroll down this page through our chronology, or you can ‘jump’ to a year from the menu bar at the bottom of the page. We feel privileged to share our past with you with a few of our mileposts that made us what we are today. We sincerely hope you enjoy this trip ‘down memory lane’ and thank you for ‘Honoring our Past’.



Arps Corporation was started on January 1, 1920, as a partnership between B.F. Arps and his uncle, Henry Kaiser. The company was initially named the Farm Specialty Manufacturing Company. The initial product was a Safety Plow Hitch. Sales in 1920 totaled $9,640.


In 1922, B.F. Arps purchased his uncle’s interest and moved the business to a former plumbing shop in New Holstein. In 1924, the business was incorporated and became known as the Arps Corporation. The business was still highly seasonal, and in 1925 a Snowmobile was added to the product line.

Manufacture of the Snowmobile expanded greatly, requiring plant expansions in 1926 and again in 1930. The Snowmobile by then known as the “Snow Bird” took on nationwide laurels and brought epic attention to New Holstein, as two of these specially equipped machines accompanied Admiral Byrd on his expedition to the South Pole in 1928 and again in 1933-35.


Highway mowing and golf course tractors were developed as well as snow plows designed and built for use on trucks used in the hauling of milk from farms. By 1939 the development and manufacture of a variety of tractor attachments included scoops, front blades, loaders, utility rear blades, and bumpers.



During World War II, when civilian production was curtailed, Arps had the courage to take on a Bomb Adapter production assignment. When the Bomb Adapter assignment ran out, it was replaced with a mortar shell adapter that utilized most of the home built machinery.


By 1949, a need had been recognized for improved traction of agricultural tractors during adverse weather conditions. Drawing on the earlier “Snow Bird” experience, Half-Track attachments were introduced. The Half-Tracks became quite popular for harvesting in severely wet conditions.


At the same time, development began on a trenching attachment for tractors. Known as the “Trench Hog,” it was capable of digging trenches up to 7’ deep and 20” wide. It was introduced in 1951 and remained popular into the 1960’s. In the late 1950’s the self-contained compact trenchers were becoming increasingly popular; and in 1958 Arps introduced its first self-propelled compact trencher.



In 1963, the Arps Corporation was acquired by the Chromalloy American Corporation. The Arps Division of Chromalloy acquired product lines consisting of agricultural front end loaders, posthole diggers, and a stump cutter attachment.

In 1964, a stump cutter attachment for tractors was acquired from a company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Stump Cutter attachment was completely redesigned and introduced in 1965. It was capable of cutting a stump out 14" below ground level. It was a popular attachment in parks, cemeteries, orchards, and institutional grounds.


In 1970, the first Backhoe, Model 708 was developed for use in conjunction with one of the compact trenchers and was adapted to various models of utility tractors in 1972. With an additional model introduced in 1973, the backhoe now represented a substantial portion of current sales volume.

Arps became heavily involved in producing Utility Rear Blades, Loaders, Posthole Diggers, Front Dozer Blades, Box Scrapers, and Rakes for John Deere, Ford, Kubota, and Yanmar, as well as producing product under the Arps Brand.


A new assembly facility (41,000 sq ft) was built in New Holstein in 1970 and was deemed "Plant 2."

An engineering facility was built in 1979, also in New Holstein, on 30+ acres and was deemed "The Farm."



Several lines of rear three-point mounted Snow Blowers were developed and produced into the early 1980’s.


Since 1980, Amerequip has had a strong partnership with John Deere. This grew in 1985 to include contract manufacturing to the design and build capabilities in order to produce products designed by them. Material Collection Systems started in 1985, Golf and Turf Green Mowers in 1993 and Commercial Walk-Behind Mowers in 1995.


In January 1983, a group of investors purchased the assets of the Arps and Schwartz Manufacturing groups and renamed the company Amerequip (American Equipment). John Deere and Ford continued to be the primary OEM accounts along with Amerequip branded product offering.

In 1987, a production facility in Kiel, WI was purchased to further enhance capabilities, and to efficiently manufacture new products, and continue to grow the business.


On October 29, 1998, 100 percent of the outstanding common stock of Amerequip was acquired by an Employee Stock Ownership Plan Trust (ESOP).



Amerequip has also partnered with Mahindra beginning in 2011, Caterpillar in 2012, and McNeilus (Oshkosh Corporation) in 2013.

On February 1, 2011, the ESOP sold its stock to a small group of the management team. The sale allowed the company to remain locally owned and managed.


In April 2014, ground was broken for a $7.7 million expansion at the Kiel facility, 70,000 square feet for welding and 30,000 square feet for additional assembly. And in September 2016 for a second $12.3 million expansion of 88,000 square feet, which houses new lasers and press brakes.


Looking Forward

Amerequip will continue to serve market leaders in their respective industries living our mission of “Never Compromising Our Customers’ Reputation” through exceptional customer service! Our core values of Teamwork, Respect, Integrity, Passion for Excellence and Professionalism will continue to be our foundation of how we do business. We remain committed to being a true partner by providing value and confidence to our customers through our vertical integration of engineering, testing, manufacturing, paint and assembly. In looking to the future, Amerequip will be purposeful in our growth, focusing on customer diversification driven by a culture that strives to transform us from good to great and make us an employer of choice.