THE SCHRAMM AIR COMPRESSOR
D. Schramm and Emil Maerky met at the 1899 Philadelphia Export
Exposition. They entered into a partnership on January 2, 1900, to
repair stationary engines for elevators in the Philadelphia area. The
company's initial inventory cosnsted of a lathe, a shaper, a drill
press, two vises, a work bench, a few hand tools, a one-horsepower gas
engine and an abundant supply of enthusiasm. The Company grossed $4,000
the first year; this success was due to the fact that elevators broke
down regularly and there were few competitors to repair them.
Christian's son Henry N. Schramm joined the business during its second
In 1902, the Schramms bought out Maerky's share of the
business and the partnership of Schramm and Maerky was dissolved. In
1907, Henry Schramm became a partner in the Company and in 1916 the
company was renamed Chris D. Schramm and Son. The Schramm Company
expanded rapidly and it was necessary to move to larger facilities and
to expand its workforce.
In 1907, George W. Davidson of
Wilmington, Delaware, asked the Schramms to build a portable air
compressor to power pneumatic tools for cutting and shaping marble.
Gasoline engines were modified into air compressors and the production,
servicing and repair of these machines became a significant part of the
business. The Company offered three different sizes of air compressors;
all sold well. The Company also continued its primary business of
servicing and repairing gasoline engines.
The Schram Company
converted commercially available engines into air compressors. These
included four-cylinder, six-cylinder and eight-cylinder engines made by
Ford, Continental, Rock Island, Domestic and Wisconsin, amongst others.
The Ford V-8 engines were especially popular. On each engine, one-half
of the cylinders were used to power the compressor and the other half
to produce compressed air.
In 1916, the Schramm Company
opened showrooms and branch offices in New
York City and Philadelphia.
1917, the Schramm Company purchased a factory belonging to the
Sharpless Separator Works; this facility contained 25,000 square feet
on seven acres of land. By1922, the Company had stopped repairing and
servicing gasoline engines and it concentrated on building air
compressors, pumps, hoist units, and engines for specific power
Business was slow during World
War I. After the
war, the Schramm Company built captive balloon hoists (French Balloon
Windlesses) for the U.S. Signal Corps in Europe. The Company also
produced low-pressure compressors for diving and salvage work. The
popularity of these products resulted in the Company becoming a leading
military supplier during World War II, when it was given government
contracts to build portable generator sets, spare parts, tractors,
trailer trucks, air compressors, welders, air tanks, and railway cars.
Business was so good that the Company had to subcontract some of its
In 1950, the Schramm Company
introduced the Pneumatractor
and later, the Fordair60, which were purpose-built self-propelled air
compressors designed to operate with front-end loaders, snow plows,
bakfill blades, front and rear winches, mowers, posthole augers, rotary
brushes, pneumajacks and other implements. The Schramm Company also
began to produce screw compressors.
In 1955, the Schramm Company
introduced the Rotadrill, a mobile, top-head, air-flush, hydraulic,
rotary drilling rig. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the
Rotadrill was refined and became a major device for drilling shallow
and deep water wells, blast holes, and oil and gas wells, as well as
wells for mineral exploration, environmental construction, geothermal
exploitation, etc. Schramm's current production
primarily consists of industrial Rotadrills, stationary compressors and
Seventy-five of the Company's production is exported to
such as China, Brazil, Australia, Russia and South Africa.