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Our History

Despatch Industries’ legacy is founded on the critical principles of service, quality and innovation. Using these principles as guidelines for its business has created a path of great growth and success for Despatch in its 100+ year history. The company prides itself on producing the highest quality products possible, and providing an unmatched level of customer service. The innovative spirit of the company drives employees to seek new technologies and solutions to better meet customer’s needs. Though Despatch is a leader in the markets it serves, the company remains nimble and diversified in order to quickly respond to changing times and market environments.

The company’s philosophies and innovations have allowed Despatch to grow and thrive for a century, and to move full-speed into its next 100 years of success.

Our History

Our Service

Innovation Resource Center

Thermal Business Group

Carbon Fiber Business Group

Solar Business Group



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An ITW company

Despatch Industries is one of ITW’s 825 decentralized business units. ITW employs approximately 60,000 men and women who are focused on creating value-added products and innovative customer solutions.



  • 1902

    Albert E. Grapp starts his first business, Despatch Industries with plans to service and repair electrical items that were just beginning to be invented in the early 1900s. It wasn’t long before the innovative entrepreneur was building electric heaters for frigid Minneapolis streetcars and developing flour drying ovens for milling companies like Pillsbury.

    1904

    Grapp devised a small flour testing oven for Pillsbury. The oven was lined with tile for more consistent heating and provided heating accuracy to plus or minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit – a first in the business
  • 1913

    Despatch Manufacturing Company was officially incorporated in the state of Minnesota.

    1916

    Grapp invents an electric oven for baking bread. The product was packaged as the Electric-Maid Bake Shop, a franchise system to sell complete bakeshops.


    1917

    America enters World War I. Despatch invents small, custom ovens for armament production, as well as larger foundry and finish bake ovens for steel producers in America and Europe.

  • 1924

    Despatch finances its first power hacksaw, drill presses and small lathes to streamline steel cutting instead of doing it all by hand.

    Despatch creates its own sales organization and hires the company’s fi rst agent, based in Pittsburgh.

    1925

    Despatch receives a request from Moore Bedding Company to build its first continuous conveyor oven for baking bed springs after they were dip-painted.

    1926

    Despatch develops a relationship with Bennett Insulation Company, a Minneapolis neighbor, and is entered in a new industry, creating ovens to dry piping insulation.

  • 2000

    Despatch is awarded several large Solution Heat Treat Furnace projects from aerospace manufacturing companies.

    2002

    Despatch celebrates its 100 year anniversary.

    2005-2009

    Despatch expands its global presence by opening regional offi ces in Shanghai, China; Berlin, Germany; and Taipei, Taiwan.

    2001

    LCC stackable clean process ovens were designed to save clean manufacturing floor space.

    2005

    Despatch is introduced to infrared technology and enters into the solar cell manufacturing market with the launch of its new CF/CDF metallization firing and drying furnace product line.
  • 2010

    Despatch sells its 1000th metallization firing furnace.

    Despatch’s VOC Thermal Oxidizer achieves rapid acceptance in the solar market. The VOC Thermal Oxidizer destroys over 99% of hazardous VOCs from gasses exhausted during the drying of metallization pastes in solar cell manufacturing.

    2011

    Despatch is acquired by Illinois Tool Works.
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Despatch is a member of ITW EAE, A division of Illinois Tool Works, Inc. For more information visit www.itweae.com