W S Darley & Company

Manufacturing & Automotive

W S Darley & Company Careers, Pay and Expert Network

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W.S. Darley & Co. is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of firefighting, defense and emergency services equipment, based in Itasca, Illinois, USA. W.S. Darley & Co. was founded by William Stuart Darley in Chicago, Illinois, in 1908. The third generation family-owned company started out selling its firefighting and police equipment to municipalities across the US through its mail order catalog. In 1926, Darley met Henry Ford to discuss methods of producing fire trucks. Ford agreed to sell Ford Model T chassis to Darley so the company could start manufacturing fire trucks. Later that year, W.S. Darley introduced the first commercial fire truck in the US. Priced at $690, they were significantly more affordable than other fire trucks, at roughly 20% the cost. Much like Sears, Roebuck & Co. selling large, expensive items such as homes out of its catalogs, W.S. Darley began selling fire trucks out of its. In 1933, they began building their own pumps for their fire trucks at a new plant in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Building pumps quickly became the companys core business. W.S. Darley began to focus on expanding its product line in 2008, starting the Darley Defense division to market new and existing products to the US Department of Defense; as of 2012, the division was the companys largest in terms of sales.