or 150 years, Porter has been manufacturing innovative, durable, and adaptable products. Porter’s roots run deep in the agricultural world but today we thrive on engineering and manufacturing athletic facility equipment for top level competition. All along Porter has been an industry leader; from our origins of producing farm equipment to today’s Powr-Touch® 5 wireless gymnasium control system. Porter has excelled 150 years in manufacturing because of our foundation of innovation. This is our history:
In the fall of 1856, Joseph E. Porter was storing hay at his father’s farm. The work was done manually with a pitchfork and was very time and labor intensive. Convinced there was an easier way, he began working on a solution and ultimately invented the Porter Hay Carrier. This revolutionary device gained him a national reputation as an inventor and pioneer of hay tool manufacturing. In 1868, the J.E. Porter Company of Ottawa, IL was established for the manufacture of pulleys, hardware and hay loft equipment. Porter was awarded several patents and remains renowned in the agricultural community.
In 1893, J.E. Porter became a stockholder and president of the Inland Steel Company of Chicago Heights. Inland Steel made Porter’s radical new steel rail, which he debuted at the Chicago Word’s Fair. This rail along with his new carrier could run on a curved track and introduced never before seen configurations and applications for use outside of barns.
By this time the new sport of basketball was growing quickly as was the construction of model playgrounds. Porter continued making barn equipment into the 1920’s as it transitioned into manufacturing basketball, gymnasium and playground equipment. In 1939, Porter’s playground apparatus was chosen exclusively for the Children’s World at World’s Fair in New York. By the 1940’s Porter was the world’s largest manufacturer of playground, gymnasium and swimming pool equipment.
Porter’s story is one of innovation and growth. Today the Porter brand is dominant among architects and facility owners because of our proven product performance and durability. We don’t just build basketball, volleyball and gymnasium equipment; we offer total facility equipment solutions. We design our equipment with the safety and performance of athletes at the forefront of our minds. We care about the success of our customers and work relentlessly to maintain their trust and confidence in Porter equipment.