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  KWIK-WAY COMPANY HISTORY


All companies are started because someone identified a problem then came up with a solution. In the case of the Cedar Rapids Engineering Company (Kwik-Way) there was no precise way to scientifically recondition a valve or valve seat of an automobile engine in the early 20th century. The methods employed were extremely crude and provided marginal results at best. The company's founders recognized a need for a precision way to perform this required service and after much trial and error they developed the Kwik-Way principle of cylinder head reconditioning. In 1920, the first Kwik-Way valve refacer was sold. At the heart of the machine was the now famous Kwik-Way Six Ball Chucking System. The sales literature for this revolutionary new machine called the new chucking system a "masterpiece of modern mechanical engineering". The company's founders were in fact highly educated engineers and the chucking system they developed in 1920 is still the world's most accurate chuck for reconditioning valves. The valve seat grinders that were developed are also still recognized as the best in the industry. These two products differ somewhat today from what was sold in 1920 but the original design concepts remain intact in today's current production units. Our estimates indicate that Kwik-Way valve refacers have reconditioned over 2,500,000,000 valves since first introduced in 1920.

In 1932, Kwik-Way introduced the first modern cylinder boring machine for reconditioning engine cylinders. Kwik-Way is still recognized world wide for producing the best portable cylinder boring machines. The product line was expanded over the years to include many different products. During World War II the company's piston grinders were used to grind glass radio crystals for the war effort. They were the only machines available at the time that were capable of delivering the accuracy required. Kwik-Way also made thousands of torque wrenches for the war effort and many are still in use today and occasionally turn up for sale on Internet auction sites.

In the late 60's, early 70's, Kwik-Way acquired three companies, expanding the company's product offering to new markets. The first company was Lempco Products, a well-respected manufacturer of surface grinding machines and presses. The second company was Ward Products of Canada. They manufactured a complete line of cleaning equipment. The third company acquired was Line-O-Tronics. This acquisition was Kwik-Way's entry into the expanding wheel service market. Kwik-Way's wheel service efforts were largely unrecognized as the machines were sold mostly under private label agreements to such firms as Snap-On, Ford Rotunda and many other OEM type accounts. During this time frame Kwik-Way introduced yet another industry first, an on the car brake lathe that has been the number one selling lathe of its type ever since. Kwik-Way relied on non-company distribution channels for the wheel service product sales until the mid 1990's.

In 1995 Kwik-Way faced some challenging issues including a significantly downsized engine rebuilding market. During that time period the company's product lines were carefully evaluated and redefined to meet the ever changing needs of the automotive aftermarket and to reposition the company for the future.

In 2000, Kwik-Way entered the expanding wheel service market with a new distribution program and renewed marketing effort to capture a larger market share than private labels had done in the past. Once again, the company introduced another first in the industry with the Lightning Lathe, the fastest operating brake lathe in the world. Kwik-Way also became the exclusive U.S. distributor for SICAM tire changers and wheel balancers. This alliance strengthened Kwik-Way Products' presence in the wheel service equipment industry. The Kwik-Way/Sicam alliance continues to deliver cutting edge technology and compliments our other Kwik-Way lines quite well.

In 2000, Kwik-Way acquired the Irontite Products Co. Irontite is an industry respected supplier of Crack Detection and repair equipment, diesel injector sleeve repair tooling and coolant system additives. These products continue to be manufactured at the El Monte CA. manufacturing facility and distributed globally.

2001 brought the inclusion of Van-Norman Equipment Co. into the Kwik-Way Products Inc. family of finely engineered products. The Van-Norman Flywheel Grinders are the best in the industry and the original 204C brake lathe is the longest produced, most respected brake lathe in the world. The Van-Norman acquisition afforded better utilization of the Kwik-Way manufacturing facility.

Today, as always, the greatest asset the company has retained from the 87 year tradition of Kwik-Way excellence and innovation, is a team of highly skilled craftsmen and people dedicated to delivering the best products and service possible. A great majority of our employees have been designing, selling, manufacturing and servicing Kwik-Way equipment for over 20 years.

We are all looking forward to the future.
 

   

 
         
         

All Information Displayed on this Website is intended for US Domestic customers only. International Customers Should Contact Their Local Distributor or Write to Us at international@kwik-way.com for a quote.

IRONTITE Products Inc.
Manufacturer of Irontite®, Van Norman® and Kwik-Way® Brands
2525 18th Street SW, Suite D, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404 USA
+1-800-553-5953  «  Tel: +1 (319) 377-9421  «  Fax: +1 (319) 377-9101
Email: Click Here for Online Email Form

Due to Kwik-Way's commitment to continuous improvement, equipment specifications, options, accessories and information are subject to change without notice.