In 1919, Bert Bennett owned and operated a taxi service and drive-in service station in Muskegon, Michigan. As the owner of the business he was probably responsible for most of the service on the taxicabs. One of the most demanding chores was packing grease in the differentials by hand. He felt there must be a better way to do this. After seeing an ad in an auto magazine for a grease injector from the A.J. Wood Manufacturing Co., of Grand Rapids. Bert went to Grand Rapids to purchase one of the injectors. He not only came back with an injector — he came back with the whole company. Wood had orders, but he lacked capital to meet the demand, so he sold the company. Bert rented some space and started the Bennett Injector Company.
During the first four years, sales increased from $33,000 to close to $500,000, (About $7.5 million in today’s dollars) and Bennett was becoming a very successful company. In 1924, the company moved into larger quarters and the name of the company was changed to Bennett Pump Corp.
By 1928, it was evident that for further expansion the company needed more capital and the stockholders agreed to sell controlling interest in Bennett to Service Station Equipment, Ltd., of Toronto, Canada; 1928 also saw further expansion by SSE. The Shotwell Co., manufacturers of gas pumps, was purchased and merged with Bennett, putting Bennett in the gas pump business for the first time. ECO Tireflator was also moved from Bryant, Ohio, to Muskegon. In 1932, SSE merged with the John Wood Co., but continued to market their products under the SSE name, and did so until 1950. In 1930, Bennett made their only visible pump, the 810.
“In 1933, SSEC (Service Station Equipment Co.)found it necessary to consolidate because of the Depression, and the Bennett Division was moved to Conshohocken, Pa., where water-heating equipment was manufactured. Around 1933, Bert Bennett tried to organize a bond issue to purchase the Bennett Co. and move it back to Muskegon. Before it was completed, Bert Bennett passed away. The combined enterprise of water-heating equipment and gasoline pumps failed to work out and, in 1937, the business was brought back to Muskegon.
During the late 1940s the manufacture of electrical gasoline pumps accounted for over half of the company’s business and they were the country’s largest producers of automatic tire-inflating equipment known as the ECO. In 1950, the Service Station Equipment Co. name was dropped and they became known as Bennett Pump Division, of John Wood Co. Early 1964 saw the acquisition of controlling interests of the John Wood Co. by Anthes Imperial Ltd., a Canadian corporation. In 1968, Molson Breweries Ltd. of Canada merged with Anthes.
“In February 1979, Bennett was sold to an international group of investors headed by SATAM of Paris, France. In 1984, Bennett changed hands again, and became part of Compagnie Generale des Eaux of Paris, France. Bennett remained part of this company until the mid-1990s when a small group of investors from Michigan purchased the company and returned ownership to the Muskegon area, where it all began. Bennett is still in business today. They operate sister companies, Bennett Pump Co. (retail pumps) and Bennett Commercial Pump Co. (commercial pumps).”