CLIFF'S SCHRAMM AIR COMPRESSOR



Schramm1 Cliff Ingold acquired his Schramm Air Compressor from Mike Tessman, a vendor at a Hill Country Antique Tractor & Engine Show in Fredericksburg, Texas. Cliff and Mike estimated the scrap value of the compressor, and that was what Cliff paid for it. He hasn't done anything to the compressor; it's one of a number of projects awaiting restoration.

The compressor is a Model GOH; the serial number 234137.

Cliff enjoys talking about his Schramm, he can be reached at cliffrof@windstar.net, 830-864-5754 (landline) or 830-928-1201 (cellphone).
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THE SCHRAMM AIR COMPRESSOR COMPANY

Christian 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 year. Schramm6

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.Schramm7

In 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 applications.

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 work.

Schramm8In 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 high-pressure compressors. Seventy-five of the Company's production is exported to countries such as China, Brazil, Australia, Russia and South Africa.