Our History


748 years of loyal service is the sum total of the service records of these seventeen employees of the Link-Belt Company’s Pershing Road Plant, Chicago. The names, occupation and number of years employed are given for each man. Left to right, front row: George O’Connor, Foundry Consulting Engineer, 47 years; Charles Jacobson, Watchman, 46 years; J.J. Martin, Engineering Department Record Room, 50 years; P.J. Muldoon, Watchman, 51 years; Wm. J. Wallace, Lathe Operator, 48 years; John Harneck, Crane Operator, 47 years; John McKay, Crane Operator, 45 years. Back row: Larry Spillan, Assistant Sales Manager, Crane Division, 40 years; C.V. Wilson, Foreman, 39 years; Chas. Maahs, Punch Operator, 45 years; Art Passineau, Foreman, 39 years; F.E. Nelson, Forming Machine Operator, 40 years; Olaf Wahlberg, Millwright, 39 years; Gus Hahney, Foreman, 43 years; A.O. Foskett, Engineer, 40 years; J.J. Feeney, Sales and Order Dept., 48 years; Al. Clark, Chain Assembler, 41 years. November 27, 1939.

1880 -In the early period of the development of modern agricultural machinery, much trouble was experienced with the transmission of power from one part to another with flat belts, especially where it was important to have the movements of the parts definitely timed with each other. Moisture from dew in the early mornings, the dryness of noon heat, the presence of dust, and varying weather conditions, made belts too tight or too loose and required frequent adjustment.


To overcome these difficulties William Dana Ewart, selling agricultural implements in Iowa, invented what is known all over the world as the Ewart Detachable Link-Belt, a chain made up of malleable iron links which can easily be detached, but which will not come apart in any operating position on the sprocket wheels. This gave a positive motion, and admitted of easy repair or adjustment in the field, and proved to be the salvation of the modern agricultural implement industry.


Mr. Ewart organized the Ewart Manufacturing Company, at Chicago, in 1875, for the purpose of manufacturing the chain and wheels, largely for the agricultural implement trade at that time; and in 1880 he organized the Link-Belt Machinery Company, at Chicago, to extend the field of operations of Link-Belt and wheels to power transmissions, elevators and conveyors, in the various industries.


1888 - the New York office of the Link-Belt Machinery Company, and the firm of Burr and Dodge (which handled the Ewart Manufacturing Company's chains and wheels in Eastern and Southern territory, from Philadelphia), united to form the Link-Belt Engineering Company, with plant and main office at Philadelphia.


1906 these three related Companies, the Ewart Manufacturing Company, then located at Indianapolis, the Link-Belt Machinery Company, Chicago, and the Link-Belt Engineering Company, Philadelphia, consolidated as the Link-Belt Company, with Mr. Charles Piez as its president.


The field of manufacture was extended in the passing years to include a large variety of devices for handling materials in bulk or package, including besides general elevating and conveying machinery, complete equipment for handling and storing coal, coal tipples, coal washers, sand and gravel washers, locomotive cranes, electric hoists, portable loaders, traveling water intake screens, coal crushers, feeders, Peck Carriers, etc., etc., besides chain and wheel-power transmissions for a large variety of speeds and conditions.


1921 - the Link-Belt Company bought the H. W. Caldwell & Son Company plant and business, at Chicago, thus increasing its screw conveyor and power transmission lines, and adding machine-molded gears and other Caldwell specialties.


1934- The Syntron Company of Homer City, PA was formed.


1955 – Link-Belt acquired The Syntron Company, a manufacturer of vibratory feeders, primarily for coal and ore handling. The Syntron Company manufactured widely diversified lines of products.  The Syntron electromagnetic drive was used to product the vibratory action in bin vibrators, feeders, jolters, packers, picking tables, screens, paper joggers and sieve shakers, with related automatic electronic control equipment – all engineered and produced by Syntron.


1967FMC made its second major acquisition of the decade: Link-Belt Company, a Chicago based manufacturer of power transmission, processing and bulk handling equipment. To get control of Link-Belt and its problems, FMC in early


1968 moved its Machinery Divisions administrative staff from San Jose, California, to the Prudential Building in Chicago, where Link-Belt was headquartered.


Machinery’s management next began to restructure Link-Belt, replacing the former centralized management system with decentralized divisions serving the requirements of various Link-Belt markets.  These divisions were the:

·        Chain and Conveyor Components Division

·        Bearing Division

·        Enclosed Drive Division

·        Material Handling Equipment Division

·        Contract Engineering Division

·        Stearns Electric, Link-Belt Speeder and Syntron operated separately.

1974 - Among FMC’s major investments in the early 1970’s was a new 300,000 square foot plant in Tupelo, MS, to build Link-Belt Material Handling Equipment.


2001 – FMC restructures to create 2 separate, publicly traded companies:

·        FMC Technologies (machinery)

·        FMC Corporation (chemicals)


2006 – FMC Technologies – Opens Material Handling Solutions Changshu facility.


2007 – Syntron facility (vibratory products) is closed and relocated to Tupelo, MS


2007- Material Handling Solutions acquired Technisys


2014 – Syntron Material Handling

FMC Technologies Announces Intent to Divest Its Material Handling Products Business to Syntron Material Handling, LLC, an Affiliate of Levine Leichtman Capital Partners


Proven Engineered Products – Complete Material Handling Solutions