South / Regional Reports

Little Giant Pump Co.: A Historical Perspective

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The Little Giant Pump Company originated as the Little Giant Vaporizer Company and was organized under the laws of Oklahoma on March 8, 1940, “for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing units for the evaporation and vaporization of water to be used in evaporative cooling and humidifying installations, paint spray booths and the manufacturing of cooking utensils, making dies and doing outside diecasting for other manufacturers.”

“Doc” Wolfe’s Vaporizer — the invention that started the company in 1940.
The Vaporizer, from which the company’s name was derived, was “simply a water spray device that throws water vertically in a fine spray, used on evaporative coolers for the purpose of water distribution on the pad.” It was also used for “spraying filter pads in humidifiers and for spraying water in water-wash paint spray booths.” Advantages were that “it did not stop-up easily or become corroded shut after a short period of use.”

An early patent application drawing of the Vaporizer.
The Little Giant Vaporizer Pump — developed in 1948 — was an outgrowth of the vaporizer, built on the same interchangeable unit. It consisted of “a pumping head fixed onto the same basic unit that the vaporizer front is used on.”

Literature of the time tells us the Vaporizer Pump was a small, low-pressure, high-volume pump that could be used wherever recirculation was a problem. It was “completely sealed in oil and hermetically sealed.” Applications included “recirculation of water for evaporative coolers; circulations of water in minnow tanks; circulation of water in home garden pools and fountains; circulation of light coolant oils for machine tools; laboratory uses and many other widely varied applications.”

A patent application drawing of the company’s second product: the “Submersible Vaporizer Pump.”
The pump was “unique in the field, in that it could be used as well underwater as out of it.” Clients included Coca-Cola®, York Corporation, Bastian-Blessing, and Canada Dry.

By 1953, the company had moved from its original location at 5101 North Classen to more expansive facilities, comprising a total of 11,000 sq ft. Output was expected to be 25,000 units.

The Vaporizer Pump, circa 1954, with cover in place.
Today, Little Giant Pump Company occupies seven buildings in Oklahoma City totaling more than 400,000 sq ft. The 15 employees who manufactured “submersible vaporizers” for evaporative coolers during the 1940s has now become a force of more than 500.

The Vaporizer Pump, circa 1954, with cover removed.
The company’s comprehensive line now includes wastewater pumps; sump, effluent, and sewage pumps; dewatering/trash pumps; condensate pumps; magnetic drive pumps; low-pressure sewer systems; water garden pumps and products; and a variety of utility pumps.

The C2/C3, Little Giant’s first true condensate pump, circa 1954, which used the Vaporizer Pump for removal of condensate in mechanical refrigeration and air conditioning units.
The latest evolution of the Vaporizer Pump is the EC-400 — one of the world’s smallest, most versatile condensate pumps — for mini-split air conditioning and heating systems, especially where gravity drainage is not practical or desirable, with a two-piece design that provides installation flexibility.

Little Giant’s VCMA condensate pump.
Recent model introductions also include Little Giant’s Magnum Series 20G and 20GH 2-hp grinder pumps, including automatic, high head, and dual seal models. The submersible pumps feature a cutter assembly that cuts materials into tiny particles, producing a fine slurry that passes easily through the system.

In 2000, Little Giant took another step in the solution of wastewater problems by acquiring Interon, developers of a state-of-the-art low-pressure sewer system. Interon has developed a “total solution” for addressing collection and treatment issues that have plagued the wastewater industry.

Little Giant Pump Company products are sold through plumbing, hvac, and industrial distribution; home improvement; and other outlets internationally. Commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural customers can also view products at the company’s website,, where they can study the company’s entire line, specify products, and receive interactive guidance in designing water gardens and sizing sewage systems.

Sullivan is national sales manager for Little Giant Pump Company.

Publication date: 06/03/2002

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