Preserving Arvin

Indianapolis Pump & Tube Company

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Some pretty major things occurred late 1921 and early 1922.  Indianapolis Air Pump Company unsuccessfully experimented with a small subsidiary in Q.G.'s hometown of Columbus in the latter half of 1921.  It was a venture to produce steel tubing under the name Columbus Steel Tube Company.  No commercial success resulted from this venture, but it did a couple things:

  • Planted the seed that there was an opportunity in the manufacture of commercial steel tubing
  • Convinced the partners to change the name to Indianapolis Pump & Tube Company effective December 31, 1921.

Both Al Redmond and Richard Arvin sold their stakes in the company in 1922, leaving only Q.G. Noblitt and Frank Sparks of the original founders.  They also expanded their product line with the purchase of the Dan Patch Company in Connersville  (IN) in 1924, adding wooden coaster wagons to their product line.  The company also started manufacturing automobile jacks the following year.

Another significant thing DID NOT happen during this time.  In 1922, Q.G. went to Columbus banker W.G. Irwin who also provided the financing behind Cummins Engine Co.  Q.G. asked for a loan of $100,000 for the company.  Irwin agreed to load the money --- on the condition that he move all operations to Columbus.  Q.G. was not comfortable doing that at this time.  What if he had?  Would Cummins and Arvin had continued independently or would they have eventually merged in some way?  Would Columbus' labor force been able to support two growing companies?  Would Columbus have eventually become home to the TWO Fortune 500 companies it boasted in 2000 until the Arvin merger with Meritor?  Interesting to think about...

In 1923, manufacturing operations began in Greenwood, Indiana, and the production operations in Indianapolis were terminated.

The company carried this name until December 29. 1927; and in its final year of existence, Indianapolis Pump & Tube had $1,773,000 of sales.

The name was then changed to Noblitt-Sparks, Inc.     One guess is that two name changes in the course of eight years probably consumed a good deal of resources (both time and money).  Tying the name to the product line (with many more products looming on the horizon) may not have been viewed as very efficient.  Besides, the wagon and jack folks were probably feeling a bit slighted!  So, enter the name Noblitt-Sparks!

More material and photos / images coming soon!