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Iowa History Daily: February 23 - Eugene Sukup Files Patent

Iowa History Daily: On February 23, 1973, an enterprising farmer named Eugene Sukup filed a patent for a modification on a grain stirring machine. Co-founder, along with his wife Mary, of Sukup Manufacturing, Eugene Sukup grew an iconic Iowa business from an welding shop in Sheffield into an agricultural leader.

Born in Nebraska, Sukup moved to Iowa with his family due to the Dust Bowl and Great Depression during 1938. As he grew into his own farming operation, Sukup purchased his first grain bin in 1962. However, he grew frustrated with the grain drying process. He decided to modify a stoker auger from a coal furnace with an electric drill and chain to create a machine used to loosen hot spots and prevent spoilage in binned corn.

After some modifications, Sukup finished the Stirway stirring machine, a device Sukup started fabricating for sale in a Sheffield welding shop. During 1963, Sukup filed his first patent and founded Sukup Manufacturing with his wife Mary. Sukup continued to innovate over time, and the company grew into the world's largest family-owned and operated manufacturer of grain storage, drying, and handling equipment.

The Iowa Inventors Hall of Fame and the Iowa Business Hall of Fame both inducted Eugene Sukup before his passing in 2018. Today, Sukup Manufacturing holds more than 80 patents and sells its products in more than 85 countries while carrying on the innovative legacy created by the company’s inventive founder. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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