Little Giant

Anniversary of a pump innovation milestone

A pump known as the Little Giant originated in 1941, when a plumber named R.M. “Doc” Wolfe found a solution to the quality challenges he faced with evaporative cooling pumps. The “Little Giant Vaporizer”, considered the first electric motor-driven submersible pump of its kind on the market, was born.

2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the Little Giant pump, which can be applied to plumbing, HVAC, dewatering, utility pumps, and a variety of other pumps. The company, which has since been absorbed by Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Franklin Electric, built its foundation on the 1941 model. Shortly thereafter, the Little Giant Vaporizer Company was created in Oklahoma City, where 15 employees manufactured submersible vaporizers for evaporative coolers.

A throwback photo of Little Giant's beginnings.

A throwback photo of Little Giant’s beginnings.

“Little Giant products and people have been an important addition to the Franklin family,” DeLancey Davis, Franklin Electric’s vice president, stated in a press release April 27. “Little Giant has provided a terrific base business in the wastewater, HVAC, and outdoor living channels, and holds strong brand recognition with key areas of distribution in each of these markets. Much of this can be attributed to consistent product introductions, innovations, and a loyal customer base that has continued to make Little Giant their brand of choice for 75 years. The Little Giant brand was built on dedication to quality and availability and is a testament to our loyal employees, who put their craftsmanship into every Little Giant product to support our customers’ craft. We are truly grateful to our ideal collection of employees, customers, and business partners who have teamed together for 75 years to make Little Giant the leader it is today.”

After World War II, the company purchased an aluminum die-casting machine and began contracting work. By 1950, the expansion had increased its provisions and expertise. It then developed an upgraded version of the Little Giant Vaporizer Pump that could be used anywhere water recirculation was problematic. This basic, electric motor-driven submersible pump was used specifically for the recirculation of water for evaporative coolers, minnow tanks, home garden pools and fountains, light coolant oils for machinery.

The original Little Giant Vaporizer pump, circa 1954.

The original Little Giant Vaporizer pump, circa 1954.

Ultimately, the company would refine its name to become Little Giant Corporation, expanding its focus to battery chargers and steam cleaning machines. These were later sold so the company could focus completely on water pumping. Over the next 20 years, it continued to build its name around innovation, with products such as: condensate removal pumps, sump pumps, magnetic drive pumps, sump/sewage/effluent pumps (1980), aquarium pumps (1990), sewage basins, pool cover pumps, grinder pumps (2000), sewage basins…even decorative outdoor living products for the landscape industry, and LED lights. Little Giant’s Outdoor Living product line also provides a variety of pumps and accessories for decorative water, hydroponics, aquarium, pool, and marine applications.

Franklin Electric’s acquisition of Little Giant took place in 2006. The parent company recognizes these pumps as a reliable product with a rich history. 75 years is a milestone for any product; and in this case, proof of how innovation can yield decades of customer satisfaction and success.


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