Manufacturing Company was founded by Gail Wilson in 1952 in Pipestone,
MN. Gail and his brother operated an implement business in
Pipestone. When Gail or his brother sold a piece of farm equipment that
required a hitch pin to be hauled home, he would have to go to a competitor and
purchase a hitch pin. Gail was not satisfied with the designs of the pins
that were available, so, he constructed his own hitch pin from an old hay
loader spring tooth and then would give the customer a choice between the pin
he constructed or the pin he went and bought from his competitor. Almost
every farmer took the pin that Gail constructed. Soon after this, Gail's
brother went back to farming and Gail started his new career.
Gail first started Wilson Mfg Co in a 1 stall garage on a part time basis during the summer months. He worked very hard to come up with new and innovative designs. A good portion of his designs came from personal experience and advice from the many customers he helped while at the implement dealership. Gail worked all by himself for many years developing and perfecting his product line. Some of the designs that Gail come up with required him to develop special tooling to help him create the parts. Amazingly, the ideas behind these special tools are still used in our shop today. Gail did all this with a disability that in today’s world would prevent him from working in a machine shop; he was legally blind.
Howard Douty worked for Gail Wilson for a short amount of time, but during that time Howard learned the importance of a clean and organized shop, not only for efficiency but for the safety of Gail. These values of a organized and clean shop have been passed down to Robert which in turn passed down to Joe. Howard and Perdita bought Wilson Mfg Co from Gail Wilson in 1969, after buying the company they moved the business to their 2 stall garage in the middle of town until they needed more space. In 1975 Howard and Perdita decided it was time to relocate the business and their family to a location that would allow them to continue to expand the business. Wilson Mfg Co is still located on this site.
Howard was more than just the owner of Wilson Mfg Co. He was deeply involved within the community. He helped to establish the Pipestone & Rock County charter of the Gideon International Bible Association. He also helped to organize the first chapter of the Pipestone County Food Shelf and held various positions and duties at First Lutheran Church in Pipestone. Howard and Perdita were a very big supporter and promoter of various local school activities and athletic events. Howard was also a member of the noon Kiwanis Club. As busy and devoted as he was to the community, he still had time to raise a family with his wife of 53 years, Perdita. They had 4 daughters and 1 son. Howard died in 1997 at the age of 77. Perdita continues to live in the same house she raised her family in. In May of 2014 we will have the pleasure of celebrating her 90th Birthday.
The one son Howard & Perdita had, Robert Douty, bought Wilson Mfg Co from his father in 1990 after serving as the Plant Manager for several years. Robert was also very involved in the community while raising a family. He served in the United States Army before taking over for Howard and continued to do so till his retirement from service in 2001. He served 8-1/2 years on Active Duty and 21-1/2 years in the MN Army National Guard. Robert was a member of the Pipestone Volunteer Fire Department for 22 years. During that time he held several leadership positions, which included; Captain of the “Engine Company”, 1 year as 1st Assistant Chief and 3 years as Fire Chief. He was president of First Lutheran Church and held various other positions within the church organization. Most recently he was a member of the “Southwest MN Honor Flight” Organization that helped raise money to send WWII vets to the memorial in Washington DC. Robert is also an American Legion member. He and his wife Mieko, married 40 years, raised 3 boys while doing all of this. Robert is currently the CEO, and has told everyone that he will officially retire in the next couple of years. Until then, he continues to be very active in the day to day operations, but makes sure there is plenty of time during the day for his grand kids and when weather permits, you will find him on the golf course.
In 1997, Robert’s second son Joseph, moved back to Pipestone and started working at Wilson Mfg Co. He is currently the President and will be the third generation owner of Wilson Mfg Co, a truly “Family Owned and Operated” business. Joseph, like his father and grandfather, is just as involved in the community. He has been an active member of the MN Army National Guard for 23 years, during that time Joe has been on 3 overseas deployments. He is an active member of the Pipestone Volunteer Fire Department which he has been a part of for the past 15 years. Joe is also on the Variance and Zoning committee for the City of Pipestone and is an American Legion and a VFW member. Along with his active involvement in the community , Joe also finds time to be help out the nice young gentlemen in Pipestone by volunteering his time as the Assistant High School Boys Basketball Coach, which he has been doing for 7 years. If that didn’t keep him busy enough, he also coaches his daughters’ elementary & middle school softball teams in the summer. He and his wife Alison have been married for 15 years and have 3 daughters and 1 son.