While fighting a disastrous fire in Marshalltown, a young water works engineer was forced to hand-throttle the city's steam-driven pumps throughout the night.
That engineer was William Fisher and the year was 1876. Exhausted from that experience, he decided there must be a better way to maintain water pressure as downstream conditions changed. And there was a better way - thanks to this young engineer's inventive mind - it was called the type 1 Pump Governor. Records indicate that manufacture of this new device began in 1880.
Eight years later, the company was reorganized and incorporated as the Fisher Governor Company. The company also sold rambler bicycles. This historical note brings true meanings to the term "valve peddlers". Including bicycles, company sales reached $44,000 by 1905 as word spread about the Fisher Pump Governor. From 1905 through 1962, the Fisher sales representative network was established and began to to expand.
Spartan Controls was subsequently formed by Bill Flegal - formerly a Fisher employee and salesman for a Fisher Representative. Spartan had offices in Edmonton, Calgary and Regina.
The name "Spartan" was selected as a reflection of the Spartans of ancient Greece, who were noted for their efficiency, competitiveness and organization abilities. They were lean, keen winners.
It was decided that ownership should only be held by those working in the company. If a shareholder were to leave the company, his or her shares must be sold back to the company. In order for everyone to have a stake in the company, a strong profit sharing plan was instituted. It was decided most of the profits would be distributed each year to the people who did the work that year, rather than build up the assets of the company.
The philosophy of employee ownership and profit sharing in both good and bad times has allowed Spartan to keep its good people through the business peaks and valleys of the years. This was especially true during the phenomenal growth of the oil and gas and pulp and paper industries in the late seventies/early eighties.