The Story of Ritchie Waterers

Fresh Water For Life

A Breakthrough for Farmers

Oskaloosa, Iowa native Thomas Ritchie patented his first water device in 1921 by connecting underground running water to automatic float-controlled watering equipment. Heated with a kerosene lamp, the water remained free flowing in cold weather. Ritchie’s new patented waterer was a revolutionary innovation for farmers, and soon, a business was born.

Building a Legacy

In 1929 Ritchie incorporated and moved to an old machine shed in Marshalltown, and part of the manufacturing took place in a 24′ x 48′ machine shed in Conrad until 1943. That year, blacksmith C.D. Wilson purchased Ritchie, moved the business to Conrad, and operated it out of a small blacksmith shop. Shortly after the move, automatic electric heat was introduced to the watering equipment, helping to establish Ritchie as the leader in the industry.

After his father’s death in 1979, C. D. Wilson Jr. took the reins of the business and expanded its market and the technology of the product. To meet demands, the company had gone from making six models to more than 40, giving it the distinction of being the largest manufacturer and distributor of the most complete line of animal and livestock watering equipment in North America.

A Bright Future

Today, 100 years since our founding, we offer a complete line of animal watering products all over the world and can point with pride to an unmatched reputation for quality and integrity. We even receive orders from farmers who tell us they’re still using an original Ritchie fountain they bought 30, 40 and even 50 years ago.

Since 2004, we’ve been fully employee owned and we’ve been in the same location on Main Street since 1943. We build our automatic waterers from the ground up, from design to prototype to end product. This allows us to ensure quality from the very beginning.

From single horse stall founts to large fountains that accommodate 500 cattle, Ritchie automatic waterers continue to set the standard in quality. So when you buy a Ritchie waterer, you know you’re getting the most dependable product on the market—not to mention the best value, service and warranty in the business. Our history of quality will continue to guide us and our manufacturing process for years to come.