The Moore Company

The Moore Company, known locally as the “fan factory,” was founded in Kansas City, Missouri, in the summer of 1940 as a proprietorship by Robert D. Moore. Mr. Moore had previously been employed as a design and development engineer for J. F. Pritchard & Company of Kansas City, and while there, had developed a cooling tower fan 11 feet in diameter which was, at that time, the largest commercially available fan in the United States. The Moore Company was established with the primary purpose of supplying the needs of the Pritchard Company for cooling tower fans.

In 1941 The Moore Company developed a 17-foot-diameter fan which was, again, the largest fan commercially available. The same year the Company enlarged its activities when it contracted to construct for T. W. A. various types of passenger loading steps, refueling ladders, commissary carts, and various types of ramp equipment used to service airplanes.

In late 1941 the Army Air Force decided to install machine gun turrets on B-17 bombers, which up to that time had been unarmed. The Moore Company was awarded a contract to fabricate the riveted aluminum turrets and did manufacture two turrets for each of the then existing bombers. The Company was busily building these turrets at the time of Pearl Harbor.

An Interesting experience in the production of war equipment was initiated when the Army Air Force at Wright Field urgently needed auxiliary gasoline tanks to be mounted in the bomb bay of B-25 airplanes in order to provide sufficient range to permit ferrying them to North Africa. Almost overnight the company was awarded the contract, without competition, for designing, tooling, and building 500 of these 200-gallon capacity tanks. Measurements were taken on the assembly line, and the tanks and supporting structure were designed from these measurements. Haste was of such importance that the design was never checked by the Air Force. However, the tanks proved entirely satisfactory.

During the war, the company laid plans for peace time and proceeded with the design of a line of fans which would bear ‘The Moore Company’ name as differentiated from those which were being built especially for the Pritchard Company. Two lines were developed: one known as the Series 48, having a 48-inch hub, to be built in diameters from 8 feet to 16 feet, to be constructed of Monel metal, and to be installed upon a speed reducer furnished by the cooling tower manufacturers. The other unit was a direct drive fan complete with a mounting frame, fan ring, guide vanes, and a low-speed electric motor to drive the fan wheel. These units were to be constructed of Monel metal, stainless steel, or plain carbon steel, ranged in diameter from 3 to 8 feet, and were to be used in cooling towers, aerial coolers, or in industrial ventilation. In order to complete the development of this series of units, it was necessary to design and develop a line of low-speed motors, which necessitated a great deal of additional equipment and tooling. The company has, for years, manufactured its own motors.

Near the end of World War II, the company had shrunk to a total of about 10 employees, due largely to the fact that materials were still allocated to strictly essential uses, and a slump had developed in new plant construction. No consumer goods were being produced, and even air conditioning was at a standstill.

Plans for the new building were hurriedly drawn and ground was broken on July 15, 1947. The building was built by local workmen with Mr. William Lohmar serving as Superintendent of Construction. Glen Fox supervised the installation of electric power in the building. John Neff handled the plumbing. The net result was an ultra-modern, windowless factory building of 15,000 square feet with adequate facilities for future growth.

The factory building was dedicated on June 23, 1948, with music by the high school band and speeches by Mr. Porter, Mr. Moore, and other community leaders. Because of many years of distinguished and devoted service to his community by Mr. Claud Dail, the new building was dedicated to him and a bronze plaque bearing his name is embedded in the structure.

On July 4, 1948, Mr. Moore moved to Marceline, and on July 5, the plant was opened with a skeleton crew and only the Final Assembly Department in operation. As each departmental group was inaugurated, additional departments were moved in one at a time until by the end of 1948 the plant was in full production. The Kansas City plant continued to operate until December of 1950, at which time it was closed and the remaining equipment brought to Marceline.

All of the company’s products and processes have been of its own design and development. In 1950 it was found desirable to form a heavier fan hub of sheet Monel metal or stainless steel. As a result, the company pioneered in the process of forming metal by use of explosives, which is now in common use all over the world.

Through this period, the company has also designed and developed a counter-rotating motor which will drive two aligned fans in opposite directions and which will permit direct drive of fans up to 30 feet in diameter without use of gears or belts.

In 1951 the company designed and developed a cooling tower fan of Monel metal or stainless steel construction which has been built in diameters up to 28 feet. In the past three years an aluminum fan has been developed which is now available in diameters up to 32 feet. Such a fan is large enough to completely cover a modern five or six-room house.

The majority of the fans produced by the company are used in water cooling towers which cool water for power plants, refineries, process plants, air conditioning equipment, and other industrial uses. A recent installation comprised 32 of this Company’s 28-foot-diameter fans installed on two cooling towers of the Southern California Edison’s generating station at Etiwanda, California. These towers are over 100-feet wide and several hundred yards long.

The Company has no cause to regret its move to Marceline and is proud to be a part of this fine community.

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