Our History

Beginning Our Journey 1885 - 1952
Building the Chapman Legacy 1953 - 1986
Diversifying Through Acquisitions 1987 - 2001
Launching Our Cultural Journey 2002 - 2009
Modern Era 2010 - Now
1885 Thomas J. Barry becomes half owner of a small millwright and general repair shop in the south part of St. Louis, Missouri (USA). Thomas J Barry
1888 Barry opens a machine shop at 21st and Walnut streets, in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), to provide conveying and transportation equipment to malt houses. At this time, St. Louis was third in the nation for beer production—Anheuser-Busch alone sold 500,000-plus barrels of beer. 1888-1913_BW-Headquarters
1894 Alfred Wehmiller, Barry’s brother-in-law, joins the millwright business as a draftsman. 1894_Alfred-Wehmiller
1897 The Barry-Wehmiller Machinery Company is incorporated; with Barry as president and Wehmiller as secretary. 1898_Mr-Barry-and-Mr-Wehmiller_sepia
1901

The company designs and erects its first continuous basket pasteurizer, an economical machine that totally submerged refillable bottles. A soaking machine also is developed to fill and empty bottles of various solutions.

From a Catalog: "Our soaking machines were the first ever built in which the tank was divided up into compartments or sections by transverse partitions, and in which the general direction of travel of the bottles was vertical instead of horizontal." 1901-basket-pasturizer
1903 Barry dies, and Wehmiller becomes president and treasurer.
1913

Barry-Wehmiller builds a new plant at 4660 West Florissant Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), with strategic access to railroads, moving from 21st and Walnut streets, which had housed the company since 1888.

From a Pamphlet: “The location affords unsurpassed railroad connections for the plant, which is supplied with three separate private switches for the transportation of all raw and finished products to and from the different buildings." 1913_West-Florisant-Building-drawing-by-railroads
1916

Wehmiller is recognized for his contributions to the dairy industry.

From a Press Notice: “Head of the Barry-Wehmiller concern, is one of the few St. Louisans who deserves the gratitude and praise of countless thousands of people throughout this country, for he is the inventor of the famous ‘Barry-Wehmiller Way’—equipment which is justly claimed and proved to be the ‘Last Word’ in the production of ‘Safe Milk’…. The Barry-Wehmiller wonderful equipment washes and sterilizes the bottles, fills them with clarified milk, seals them air-tight, submerging them for one hour and twenty minutes, pasteurizing the milk at 145 degrees and cooling it to 36 degrees.”
1917 Patent application granted to Wehmiller and Barry-Wehmiller for a “method of pasteurizing liquids.”
1920 Prohibition begins, and facing an 80 percent loss in US sales, Barry-Wehmiller focused on the international brewing industry and the production of dairy washers and pasteurizers, introducing the patented National pasteurizer during this time. 1920-Pasturizer_Copenhangen
1927 Wehmiller dies, and his widow, Lillie, becomes president. 1927_LillianWehmillerRassieur
1933

Prohibition ends, reinvigorating the bottling machinery business and the brewing industry. In anticipation of the repeal of Prohibition, the Super-National bottle cleaner is developed.

From an internal quarterly review published to honor the company’s 75th anniversary: “The first year of repeal brought a return of the annual brewers’ convention…. It was at these yearly meetings that Lillie proved herself to be an indispensable asset to the company. Her gay good humor, her inexhaustible energy and her great interest in people made her a natural good-will ambassador.”
1934  Alfred Wehmiller’s son Fred joins the company as a vice president after graduating from college the year before.
1935 Fred is named general plant superintendent.
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Patent application granted to Barry-Wehmiller for an “apparatus for pasteurizing liquids in containers.”
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1939 The revolutionary BW Vortex pasteurizer is introduced, expanding Barry-Wehmiller’s reach both within and outside of the brewing industry.
1942 Alfred Wehmiller’s son Paul is named a vice president, and devotes his time to US and international sales, especially in South America.
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Patent application granted to Barry-Wehmiller for a “process of pasteurizing liquids in containers.”
1944_Army-Navy-E-Award
1944

Barry-Wehmiller earns the Army-Navy “E” Award for its support of World War II production needs. The company converted its facilities to produce 20mm projectiles, shell washers, components and fixtures for bomber turrets, gun yokes and other machine tools; team members grow victory gardens on the grounds.

From a US Navy website: “Representing only 5 percent of the estimated war plants in the nation, those plants meeting the stringent eligibility requirements ranged in size from a one-man plant to large corporations and included facilities that converted from peace to war production, as well as new plants built especially for war purposes…. Excellence in quality and quantity of production were two of the determining factors in granting Awards.”
1946 Barry-Wehmiller’s research department is founded to improve bottling machinery.
1950 A departure from the Super-National and its cleaning brushes, the International all-hydro bottle cleaner is introduced, with an impressive recommended operating speed of 500 bottles/minute.  1950_HydroJet
1951 Lillie Rassieur (formerly Wehmiller) resigns as president. Fred becomes president, and Paul is named executive vice president.
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Barry-Wehmiller Ltd. is founded in London to provide more effective service and modern machinery outside of the US, without currency restrictions.
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Barry-Wehmiller purchases the Edward Ermold Co. of New York, with its labelers and unpackers, as well as the Bruceway can markers and uncasers.
1951_Fred-Wehmiller
1953 William A. Chapman joins Barry-Wehmiller as executive assistant to Fred. Bill had been involved with the company as an Arthur Andersen accountant. Bill Chapman
1955 Barry-Wehmiller acquires the rights to manufacture the Hydro-Jet bottle cleaner for non-labeled bottles (soft drinks, primarily) and the New-Matic uncaser from the Liquid Carbonic Corporation.
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The annual BW Seminar begins to educate bottlers in both English and Spanish.
1957 Fred dies, and Bill Chapman becomes president. He had previously served as vice president, general manager and treasurer. With the growth of canned beer, nonreturnable glass and German competition, the company struggles to stay in business.
1958 Barry-Wehmiller de México S. A. de C. V. is formed in Mexico City to provide reliable technical advice, and to supply quality repair and maintenance parts more quickly and affordably.
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To improve service in Australia and nearby countries, Barry-Wehmiller (Australasia) Pty. Ltd. is formed.
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The Palleter is introduced, which automatically loads filled beverage cases onto pallets and unloads empty bottle cases from pallets in one simultaneous synchronized operation, bringing complete automation to bottling plants. The Causti-Clean removes labels from the soaking compartments of bottle washers.
1959 The Jagenberg Ultra-Tempo labeler is introduced, which impressively operates at 300 bottles/minute for paper labels and 250 bottles/minute for foil.
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Barry-Wehmiller team members traveled 280,000 miles around the world, visiting customers located everywhere from Helsinki to Singapore and Johannesburg to Toronto.
1960 Barry-Wehmiller celebrates its 75th anniversary. From an internal quarterly review published to honor the milestone: “Old timers at Barry-Wehmiller are a dime a dozen. Twenty and thirty year service records are common. Father and son or father and daughter combinations are on the payroll. Many a St. Louis parent has said, ‘Try to get a job there. Wait if you have to. It’s always been a good place to work.’” BW 75th Anniversary
1960

Barry-Wehmiller holds 34 US patents and 84 patents in 14 other countries.

Said Bill Chapman: “The acceptance of our products through the years could not have resulted alone from the standards of quality they set, but is also due to the loyalty and support of our employees.”
1963 Ownership passes to the Chapman family.
1969 Bob Chapman joins Barry-Wehmiller. Bob Chapman in 1969
1975

Bob Chapman becomes chairman and CEO after father’s sudden death from a heart attack.

Said Bob Chapman: “Within days of my dad’s death, our banker visited and told me they were freezing our line of credit. I remember thinking ‘I am not going down!’ In my mind, I had no other choice than to take direct control, cutting costs and implementing disciplines that ultimately moved the company into record profitability and financial stability within nine months.” Bob Chapman in 1976
1979 Barry-Wehmiller establishes an operation in Clearwater, Florida (USA), specializing in the design and manufacture of Italian fillers for the Western beverage industry. 1979 Clearwater Location
Early 1980s Sluggish markets, global recession and other economic conditions trigger period of financial decline. Bank pulls the loan a second time. The leadership team challenges itself to reposition the company by redefining the core business and financial strategies.
1986 Barry-Wehmiller Design Group, an engineering consulting firm, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is formed. Design Group old logo
1987 Barry-Wehmiller spins off two-thirds of the company in a $35 million IPO offering on the London Stock Exchange, divesting control of its European-based company, while retaining ownership of its historic brewery equipment business. This dramatically enhanced Barry-Wehmiller’s financial strength and marked the beginning of the modern chapter in the company’s history. Harvard Business School subsequently wrote a case study on this event in the company’s history.
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Barry-Wehmiller acquires ABC Conveyor & Auto-Flush Systems, Ltd., the company’s first acquisition after developing its modern growth strategy.
1987_Financial-Times
1988

Strategy for Growth, Value and Liquidity established to identify companies and products that fit the vision of an ideal packaging machinery company.

Said Tim Sullivan, Group President, Paper and Converting: “This strategy helped us focus on creating a business that experienced sustainable and consistent success. We began seeking out companies that complemented our business…ones with a long history and a large installed base of equipment that were struggling and would have a motivation to sell to us.”
1989 Barry-Wehmiller acquires Pneumatic Scale Corporation in Quincy, Massachusetts (USA). It becomes Pneumatic Scale Angelus after the acquisition of Angelus Sanitary Can Company in 2007. Pneumatic Scale Corporation logo
1989 Barry-Wehmiller moves from 4660 West Florissant Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), to its current global headquarters at 8020 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton, Missouri (USA). BW Headquarters St. Louis
1995
Thiele Engineering Co. is acquired in Edina, Minnesota (USA). 1998 merger of BPMC and Thiele Engineering creates Thiele Technologies (now part of BW Flexible Systems and BW Integrated Systems).
 
Thiele Technologies
1997 Barry-Wehmiller acquires Accraply Inc., based in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA). Accraply
1997 Hayssen Inc., in Duncan, South Carolina (USA), is acquired. The subsequent acquisition of Sandiacre Rose Forgrove in 2006 changes name to HayssenSandiacre, and eventually, Hayssen Flexible Systems (now BW Flexible Systems). HayssenSandiacre
1999
Barry-Wehmiller acquires Fleetwood Systems in Romeoville, Illinois (USA). The name is changed to FleetwoodGoldcoWyard in 2005 after subsequent acquisitions (now BW Integrated Systems).
 
FleetwoodGoldcoWyard
2000 Marquip Inc., of Phillips, Wisconsin (USA), is acquired. The 2002 acquisitions of Ward Machinery Company and United Container Machinery change name to MarquipWardUnited (now BW Papersystems). MarquipWardUnited
2000 IT consulting firm Barry-Wehmiller International Resources launched, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) (now part of Design Group). Barry-Wehmiller International Resources
2002

Guiding Principles of Leadership (GPL), Barry-Wehmiller’s cultural vision statement, is drafted and becomes the cornerstone of the culture.

Said Maureen Schloskey, a member of the GPL creation team: “The document we created exemplified how we wanted everyone to treat each other. We had described a ‘perfect culture’ that we would all like to aspire to achieve. One of the proudest moments of my life was when I was asked to put my signature on the bottom of the original GPL document.” 2002 - Guiding Principles of Leadership
2005

Barry-Wehmiller launches GPL SSR leadership recognition program to honor those team members who embody the traits articulated in the GPL.

Tracy Williams of BW Papersystems was one of the first winners: “This award is one of the most amazing things that ever happened to me. When that car came home, my kids said ‘Wow, Mom. You did that!’” 2005 SSR Winners
2005 Barry-Wehmiller acquires Paper Converting Machine Company (PCMC) in Green Bay, Wisconsin (USA). PCMC
2006 Living Legacy of Leadership (L3) is created to integrate Barry-Wehmiller’s people-centric leadership with Lean thinking. L3 logo
2007 St. Louis Business Journal names Barry-Wehmiller one of the Best Places to Work in St. Louis, Missouri (USA). 2007 BestPlacesWork
2008 Barry-Wehmiller founds Barry-Wehmiller University (BWU), a continuous learning program that provides a dynamic educational experience for team members, enabling them to grow, develop, learn, advance and share their gifts with others. 2008 BWU
2008 Barry-Wehmiller revenues surpass $1 billion.
2009

Economic downturn delivers blow to Barry-Wehmiller: 40 percent drop in new equipment orders creates financial uncertainty. Drawing upon the ideals of the Guiding Principles of Leadership and the company’s vision of “measuring success by the way we touch the lives of people” to offer direction, CEO Bob Chapman devises a way past the crisis through shared sacrifice with a furlough program.

Said Bob Chapman: “I asked myself, ‘What would a caring family do when faced with a crisis?’ The answer: Everybody would each take a little pain so that no member of the family would have to experience dramatic loss. Business rebounded well ahead of the broader economic recovery - fiscal year 2010 was a record year in earnings.”
2009

CEO Bob Chapman’s son Kyle Chapman cofounds Forsyth Capital Investors (now BW Forsyth Partners), which combines private equity experience with Barry-Wehmiller’s strategic value creation and people practices.

Said Kyle Chapman: “I am immensely grateful for the influence my dad has had on my family and business life. He has always said that ‘raising a family and running a business are no different.’ I can attest to that, as the lessons he and my mother taught me as a child I still call upon as a business leader today.” 2009 Forsyth Capital Investors
2012 CEO Bob Chapman delivers TEDx talk at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois (USA). Bestselling author and speaker Simon Sinek hosts the event focused on “Service to Others.” Since then, Chapman’s TEDx talk has been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube. Bob Chapman ScottAFB Speech
2012 Barry-Wehmiller featured in Discovery Channel documentary “Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami” about reducing medical errors. 2012 Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami
2012 CEO Bob Chapman’s Truly Human Leadership blog launches. THL old logo
2012 Barry-Wehmiller launches charitable Hearts to Hands Relief Fund, a team member-funded initiative to help coworkers in need. 2012 Hearts to Hands
2013 Our Community Listens, a nonprofit that brings Barry-Wehmiller University’s Communications Skills Training (now Listen Like a Leader) to communities across the US, holds its first class. This foundational course teaches the fundamentals of listening and leadership, with the goal of positively impacting lives—at work, at home and in the community. Our Community Listens
2013 Barry-Wehmiller acquires first French company, Paris-based Arcil SA (now Synerlink). Arcil
2013 Barry-Wehmiller University trains US Air Force professors to teach Communications Skills Training (now Listen Like a Leader) to airmen.
2014
Barry-Wehmiller is featured in bestselling author Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last. Sinek’s TED talk promoting the book and its concepts calls out Barry-Wehmiller’s leadership model as well.
 
Leaders Eat Last
2014
Inc. Magazine names Barry-Wehmiller one of its “Most Audacious Companies” in the area of culture.
Said Inc. editor Scott Leibs: “Chapman believes that the only bottom line that matters is how leaders treat people.”  2014 INC Most Audacious Companies
2015

Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family, authored by CEO Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia, is released to critical acclaim. The WSJ bestseller is now available in five languages.

Said Bob Chapman: “My hope is that this book will become a handbook for people at any level of leadership in organizations. Then perhaps what we discovered along our journey will improve the joy of work and ultimately life for so many." Everybody Matters Book Signing
2015 Barry-Wehmiller launches Everybody Matters podcast to share the voices of other like-minded leaders also trying to change the world.
2015 BW Leadership Institute (now Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute) is founded to share with other organizations Barry-Wehmiller’s learnings about leadership and fostering a people-centric culture. 2015 BW Leadership Institute
2015 Barry-Wehmiller acquires German-based companies Winkler+Dünnebier GmbH (W+D) and POEM GmbH from Körber AG. Winkler + Dunnebier
2016 Everybody Matters documentary debuts, interweaving the story of the ups and downs of Barry-Wehmiller’s business with the transformation of the culture. 2016 Everybody Matters film
2016 Forsyth Capital Investors (now BW Forsyth Partners) establishes infrastructure equipment platform with the acquisition of HawkeyePedershaab Inc., headquartered in Mediapolis, Iowa (USA).
2016 Harvard Business School publishes second case study about Barry-Wehmiller, this time exploring how the company’s views of responsibility for team members impact the business. 2016 Harvard Business School logo
2016 BW Packaging Systems debuts at Pack Expo, bringing together Accraply, BW Container Systems (now BW Integrated Systems), Hayssen Flexible Systems (now BW Flexible Systems), Pneumatic Scale Angelus, Synerlink and Thiele Technologies (now part of BW Flexible Systems and BW Integrated Systems) into one solutions-driven platform.
2017 CEO Bob Chapman is named in Inc. Magazine list of world’s top 10 CEOs. 2017 Inc Top 10 CEOs
2017 Forsyth Capital Investors rebrands as BW Forsyth Partners.
2017
Across from Barry-Wehmiller’s headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), a plain park corner is transformed into magnificent gardens,  pathways and outdoor gathering spaces, and named Chapman Plaza in memory of CEO Bob Chapman’s parents, Bill and Marge Chapman.
2017 Barry-Wehmiller Design Group and Barry-Wehmiller International merge to form unified consulting platform.
2018 BW Container Systems team and end-of-line teams from Thiele Technologies become BW Integrated Systems. Hayssen Flexible Systems team and bag-converting and bag-filling/palletizing teams of Thiele Technologies become BW Flexible Systems.
2018 Barry-Wehmiller revenues exceed $3 billion and 12,000+ team members globally.
2018

Barry-Wehmiller surpasses 100 acquisitions when its Winkler+Dünnebier GmbH division acquires BICMA Hygiene Technologie GmbH, based in Mayen, Germany.

Said Rhonda Spencer, Barry-Wehmiller's Chief People Officer: “The easy part of sharing our cultural vision in newly adopted companies is that, fundamentally, all people want the same things: to feel truly known, to feel they are making a valued contribution to something worthwhile and to be recognized for that contribution. It’s easy for people to buy into our vison. The challenge is to ensure that we live up to that vision for every team member.”
2018 BW Leadership Institute (now Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute) adds Cape Town, South Africa, office.
2018 Barry-Wehmiller acquires first Chinese company, Dongguan-based K&H Machinery Co. Ltd., which joins BW Papersystems.
2019 First Marjorie E. Chapman Memorial College Scholarships are awarded to children of Barry-Wehmiller team members, in honor of CEO Bob Chapman’s mother’s commitment to education.
2019 BW Leadership Institute (now Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute) launches TEDxClayton, a day-long event with speakers focused on “Shaping the Human Experience.” Chapman & Co Leadership Institute
2019

BW Leadership Institute changes name to Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute.

Said Sara Hannah, Managing Partner of Chapman & Co.: “We are continually inspired by Bob’s vision to change the world through business. We want to help organizations become places that bring out the best in their people. This name change is the start of a new chapter - we’re excited to see where it takes us.”   Chapman & Co Leadership Institute
2019 CEO Bob Chapman honored with Entrepreneur Award from Arch Grants, a St. Louis, Missouri (USA), organization that helps small businesses as they are getting started.
2020
CEO Bob Chapman tours Europe, visiting five countries to share Truly Human Leadership message with business leaders, students, human resources professionals, governmental leaders and others.
 
A Truly Human Leadership World Tour!
2020 CEO Bob Chapman’s son Kyle Chapman is promoted to president of Barry-Wehmiller after cofounding Forsyth Capital Investors (now BW Forsyth Partners) in 2009, serving in a strategic financial advisory role for Barry-Wehmiller from 2015 to 2019 (while co-leading BW Forsyth Partners) and then becoming Barry-Wehmiller’s interim chief financial officer in early 2020. Said Kyle Chapman: “In this new role as president, my focus will be to continue to build upon our foundation as a vibrant company known for our culture of care, our commitment to validating the trust our customers place in us and continuing to invest in market-driven innovation — while reinforcing our belief that the only way to lead is with people and performance in harmony.” Kyle Chapman