About Us

In the industry, Humphrey Manlift is well-known for providing belt manlifts and personnel elevators that are well constructed, dependable, and enduring in value. Our products have been installed worldwide, providing continued use and efficient operation from the late 1800’s to the present day. We are committed to the customer and dedicated to our mission in manufacturing a quality product that will endure for centuries to come.

The History of Humphrey Manlift Company

HistoryIn the late 1800’s Seth K. Humphrey earned his living working in a South Dakota flourmill. After moving up and down the numerous stairs of the elevator, he quickly realized the value of an automated alternative to the exhausting task of climbing and descending those stationary steps. Late in 1886 and early 1887, Seth Humphrey developed an idea that was to become the first Humphrey Manlift. Convinced of the value of his concept, he designed and built his first wood frame belt manlift that was sold in the spring of 1887 to Charles A. Pillsbury for his Minneapolis mill, which was then the largest mill in the world.

In 1887, Humphrey patented his idea for the belt manlift and turned the manufacturing rights over to the A. F. Winter Manufacturing Company in Faribault, Minnesota. He then proceeded to establish the Humphrey Company, becoming its first president. While production of the belt manlift was undertaken by Winter Manufacturing, Seth Humphrey traveled throughout the West, writing several books as he toured the country.

In 1910, Nutting Truck and Caster Company of Faribault assumed a controlling interest in the Humphrey Company and thereafter began running the Company. The Humphrey Company, however, continued as a separate company, retaining the Humphrey name and company records. In January 1913, the first steel angle frame belt manlift was produced and then 34 years later in March 1947, the first channel frame belt manlift was developed and shipped.

In 1953, A. B. Morris, the executive vice-president of the Nutting Company, was the person responsible for running the Nutting Company since the death of their president, Walter Nutting, in 1940. Over the years, Morris had accumulated a substantial amount of Nutting Company stock. Realizing the potential for the Humphrey Manlift, Morris offered his Nutting stock to the Nutting family in exchange for their stock in the Humphrey Company. The exchange occurred and, in 1953, A.B. Morris became president of the Humphrey Elevator Company.

Enduring in value and dependability, Humphrey Manlifts, which have improved over the years, are basically the same as the belt manlifts originally created by Seth K. Humphrey. Throughout the years, there have been other belt manlift manufacturers who merely copied the Humphrey Manlift, however, to the best of our knowledge, Humphrey Manlift Company is now the only manufacturer supplying belt manlifts worldwide. We continue today, building on a tradition established by Seth K. Humphrey in 1887.