Sioux Chief Mfg. Co. Inc. was founded and incorporated in August, 1957 by the late Martin E. “Ed” Ismert, Jr. in an attempt to smooth the boom-bust housing cycle that his plumbing wholesale supply company experienced. Sioux Chief got its start during the late ’50s by packaging specialty fasteners and other items geared toward residential plumbing jobs. In the early ’60s, Ed borrowed the idea of spinning copper tube closed for simple air chambers and adapted it for stub outs which could be used by plumbers. This preformed copper tube saved plumbers from sweat soldering tube caps onto their copper tube for water shock and test-off purposes. By 1975 a heavy emphasis on sales and new product development began when Ed’s two eldest sons purchased the corporation and took over operations. Since then Sioux Chief has introduced a wide range of innovative products.
MEI & Mike Ismert
Sioux Chief began its operations in a 3,000 square foot third floor area of Double I Supply, a plumbing wholesaler in the Kansas City, Kansas west river bottoms, from 1957 to 1967. After moving to Kansas City, Missouri from 1967 to 1969, Sioux Chief grew into a 10,000 square foot building in Grandview, Missouri from 1970 until 1983. In 1983, the corporation purchased its own building for the first time, a 23,000 square foot plant, warehouse, and office south of Peculiar, Missouri. Today this plantwarehouse- office has grown to occupy more than 300,000 square feet on 140 acres.
Employees at Dock Door
Sioux Chief’s founder, Martin E. “Ed” Ismert Jr., was greatly interested in Western Americana. Ed’s father, Martin Sr., was a collector and Midwest authority of Western and Native American artifacts in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. When the time came to name his new company, it did not take Ed long, as he had learned from his father all about the Sioux Indian Nation. The Sioux Nation were a very proud and resolute people that, while being fierce and competitive, held in highest regard the family, the Earth, and especially Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit. Ed commissioned his brother Bud, an artist who studied under Thomas Hart Benton, to draw the “Young Determined Sioux Chief” in full ceremonial dress as the logo for his young determined company. Sioux Chief Manufacturing, being named and patterned after such a distinctive people would put forth an image not easily forgotten.