About Ritchie

Thomas Ritchie developed the concept of the automatic waterer valve in 1921 in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Local farmers enjoyed the innovation and the first automatic waterers were built. From there our founder patented the first automatic waterer device and a business was born.

Since that time, Ritchie Industries has developed into the leader in watering innovation and now manufactures a complete line of livestock and horse waterers to the highest specifications in the industry. Automatic waterers are our focus and our specialty.

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. Ritchie is an employee owned company located in Conrad, Iowa, a small, no stop light town of around 900 people. Ritchie Industries have been in the same location, Main Street, since 1943.

From a single horse StallFount 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.

To find the automatic waterer that will suit your needs, visit our products page.



Our Mission is to provide the best watering systems and products in the industries and market segments we serve. We support this mission with our tagline.

“Fresh Water For Life”


Ritchie History

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. Farmers liked the labor-saving qualities of Thomas Ritchie’s patented waterer, and a new business was born.

In 1929 Ritchie incorporated and moved to an old machine shed in Marshalltown. Part of the manufacturing also took place in a small 24′ x 48′ machine shed in Conrad until 1943. That year, blacksmith C.D. Wilson purchased Ritchie, moved the business to Conrad, and operated the business 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. In January of 2004, Ritchie Industries became employee owned.

Today, more than 90 years later, Ritchie Industries offers 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 receive orders from farmers who tell us they’re still using an original Ritchie fountain they bought 30, 40, and even 50 years ago. That history of quality is what guides us in the manufacturing process today. So when you buy a Ritchie, you know it’s going to work for a long, long time.