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
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