Our company was founded in 1947 by Elmer Hansen under the name of North American Manufacturing Company. Mr. Hansen
W Series Turret
invented a self-unloading farm wagon in 1941 and in 1946, he left his Nebraska farm and moved to Sioux City to manufacture the farm wagon. The original factory was a 50' by 70' garage in downtown Sioux City and built in 1955. In the late 1950’s, the expansion and growth of the agricultural products increased our production almost beyond plant capacity. Due to acute congestion and extremely crowded conditions in the old plant, it became more and more difficult to maneuver any type of mobile equipment around the plant. Elmer Hansen investigated available lift truck vehicles, but found them all too large to work in his crowded conditions. Since there was nothing suitable to buy, Mr. Hansen designed and built his first lift vehicle for his own use. It later became apparent there was a national market for this vehicle, and further redesign and improvements to the truck led to the birth of a completely new type of product. The new forklift truck called NAMCO.
In the year of 1962 after three years of development and testing, the first NAMCO emerged on the market in the Summer of 1962. By this time, the company had moved into a new plant (the present facility) three miles east of Sioux City on a 15-acre lot. The NAMCO forklift truck, available in electric, gasoline, or propane models, was unveiled at the October Products Show in Des Moines, Iowa, and immediately captured the interest of manufacturers and the market.
By 1973, ten different styles of self-unloading wagons were being manufactured, including one model brand labeled for John Deere. Through 1975, North American Manufacturing Company manufactured a chassis for International Harvester’ s motor home and their “multi-stop” trucks (used in the delivery of milk, bread, and mail); and also produced auger elevators, chisel plows, and OEMed snow blower flighting. In 1978, the company was purchased by Don Stoterau and Group (George Wattonville, Otto Ermler, and Del Norton) and took the name NAMCO, Inc. NAMCO, Inc. continued with the manufacture of farm equipment and forklift trucks. Our current owner, Karl Schaeff GmbH and Company of Germany, purchased the company in October of 1981 and incorporated under the name Schaeff-Namco, Inc. Farm equipment and forklift trucks continued to be manufactured; and a line of construction equipment was added. In March of 1987, Mr. Schaeff transformed the company to its current standing of Schaeff, Inc. This was a name change only. While continuing the manufacture of forklift trucks and marketing of construction equipment, the line of farm equipment was discontinued. 1992 was a turning point for Schaeff. A new management team was brought in to build Schaeff into a market leader as an industrial and construction equipment supplier.In 1993, the redesigned Stand-up, Counterbalance, Materials Transport Vehicle, and Tow Tractor were reintroduced to the market. At the same time, a new dealer network was put in place to aggressively take our new products to their markets.
The Warehousing Series electric, stand-up, counterbalance lift truck was introduced to the marketplace in 1995. The forklift is the culmination of many years of work and research to create a product that is superior to the competition. Unmatched features like electric steering, an ergonomic work space, upgradeable software features, programmable controls, built-in run-time diagnostics, and a rugged, durable design, give the customer the ultimate value for all their material handling needs. In 1997 Schaeff, Inc., revolutionized the industry with its introduction of the Warehousing Series' W90t Turret electric, stand-up, counterbalanced lift truck. The W90t's innovative turret attachment pivots loads 180 degrees for side-to-side access in very narrow aisles. It's the new paragon in the forklift industry. In 1999 Schaeff, Inc., introduced the Echo 3,000 TM , electric, stand-up, counterbalanced forklift, designed specifically to meet the needs of the majority of the forklift market. This streamlined model can lift up to 3,000 lb. and reach as high as 189.5". Schaeff, Inc., reintroduced the Namco forklift to the market. This small forklift will fit in places most other forklift can't, filling a niche in material handling that had long been ignored by most forklift manufacturers.