Congratulations to the 50th anniversary of Marquip! BW Papersystems has taken this opportunity to browse the company archives, to study old articles and to interview many contemporary witnesses to find out as much as possible about the past 50 years. The result is an exciting journey through time with many insightful information on Marquip, its ups and downs, its innovations and products, the company’s philosophy and much more.
Follow us on this trip and experience the development and growth of Marquip from 1968 to today from different perspectives. The first of a total of six parts of our series A Journey Through Time focuses on the founding of the company and its financial development to the present day. Join us and beam to the year 1968, when it all began…
Part One: Foundation, expansion and financial growth until present
With just $500 in his pocket, Carl Marschke founded Marquip, Inc. (Marschke Equipment) in June 1968. This seed capital and the permission of his former employer, Wisconsin Wood Products, now Georgia-Pacific, to market a panel wrapping machine the young engineer had invented during his employment, laid the cornerstone for a greatly successful company.
In December 1968, Carl Marschke was able to ship his first panel wrapping machine. That year, Marquip reached estimated sales of slightly less than $70,000. One year later, when Richard Thomas joined Marquip as a co-owner, the company sold machinery worth $100,000. Marschke and Thomas quickly established Marquip as a reliable manufacturer of custom-designed automated machinery for the building materials industry.
Richard Thomas looked back on that time when Marquip’s office was next to the Phillips supermarket, and they were building their products at a local machine shop owned by Marschke’s uncle. “Carl had negotiated a deal with him: He was allowed to market the panel wrapping machine he invented when working for his uncle’s company. In return, his former employer received one percentage of the profits for the initial five machines.” There was no investment from people except of Marschke and Thomas. Marquip used bank loans to provide for cash flow in the beginning.
“Every dollar went back into the business. We grew as fast as we could make money.” (Richard Thomas, former co-owner of Marquip).
In 1974 the oil price crisis hit the construction industry in the USA hard and many of Marquip’s customers closed their doors forever. Marschke and Thomas had to set out in search of new promising industries. They found the corrugating and finishing industries in which the company remains a worldwide market leader today. Their first invention for this new industry, a high-speed splicer, was a success story propelling the company to fast growth.
In 1995, when Richard Thomas left Marquip, the company made about $100 million sales. Two years later Marquip sold equipment, spare parts and services for a total of $186 million. It was the strongest financial year ever in its history before the acquisition by Barry-Wehmiller. Shortly thereafter, in 1998, however, the Asian financial crises hit Marquip particularly hard. The company had invested substantial time and resources developing the Asian markets. Large investments in research and development, and major setbacks, such as a canceled $11 million order for a first complete corrugator line, forced Marschke to file for bankruptcy in 2000, after a sales low of $88 million.
In September 2000, Marquip was purchased by Barry-Wehmiller, a global supplier of manufacturing technology and services based in St. Louis, Missouri. Since then, not only the name, but also sales have evolved steadily. In 2002, Barry-Wehmiller bought two companies located in Baltimore: Ward Machinery Company and United Container Machinery. Marquip became MarquipWard and shortly afterwards MarquipWardUnited. Today, the brand name MarquipWardUnited belongs to BW Papersystems, just as VortX, Apollo, Curioni, Will-Pemco, Kugler-Womako, Bielomatik, Zerand, Questec and K&H.
Since its acquisition by Barry-Wehmiller, MarquipWardUnited has increased its sales continuously. Directly after the acquisition the company’s revenue increased year after year. The strong sales of equipment and the successful spare parts and service business of the MarquipWardUnited brand have made it a successful business today. In 2017, BW Papersystems generated revenue of $536.7 million.