Company History 2017-05-08T14:47:53+00:00

Company History

Serving many industries – Including medical, communications, dental, automotive and mechanical – a leading family company creates the precise parts its customers need, delivering complete satisfaction.

The Specialty Mfg. Co. has a rich heritage in St. Paul that spans more than a century and four generations.

The company is a family business that has been built on creative energy and a long tradition of helping people with their products. Founder William Boss was a strong believer in the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention.” He was an agricultural engineer by training, and he received numerous patents for his inventions, which included a lawn mower – grass collector (1902), a clothesline reel (1912), and a garden hose reel (1918). Boss founded The Specialty Mfg. Co. in 1900 to produce, market and sell many of his own inventions. His firm emerged as a leading custom manufacturing company in the Twin Cities.

The Specialty Mfg. Co. has produced all kinds of custom-designed products, from the Acme Egg Weighing Scale to garden hose reels. Over the years, the company has continued to diversify its product lines and forge strong relationships with clients in various industries, including Pentair and other well-known names such as Medtronic, Ecolab and Thermo King.

Special Services

The Company’s capabilities make possible the wide spectrum of services it offers, such as machining, stamping, injection molding and assembly. Ultimately, the company name was aptly created by Boss. The Specialty Mfg. Co. is prepared to manufacture a wide array of special products to meet the needs of its customers. “We are not selling a commodity, we are selling a service,” says Daniel McKeown, president. “We custom-design products and manufacture them for our clients.”

Precise Parts

The Specialty Mfg. Co. is organized into seven integrated divisions. Its two leading product lines are valves and dental components. The Valve Products Division manufactures a wide variety of valves and check valves made of brass, stainless steel and plastic materials. These products are purchased by numerous industries including automotive, water purification, medical, beverage, and chemical dispensing. Specialty Dental manufactures and sells small pneumatic valves, manifolds, and custom injection molded parts for the dental industry. SafeWay Hydraulics, Inc. is a leading supplier of Quick Action Hydraulic Couplings for the Industrial, Agricultural & Mobile Equipment Industries. Rola-Chem Corp. produces peristaltic pumps, controllers, flow meters and other products for the pool industry. Specialty Intregrated Service offers decades of experience in precision machining, metal stamping, injection molding and fixture building. Each area is accomplished in their manufacturing discipline, utilizing the latest technology and equipment. New Ulm Precision Tool is a custom fixtures and tools manufacturer.

Long-Term Community Support

Boss learned the values of hard work, thrift and responsibility while growing up on his family’s farm in Wabasha County , Minnesota , and these values helped him to create a business that has stood the test of time. The Boss family has remained committed to St. Paul as the company has grown to encompass 200 employees. In addition to operating his own business, Boss had an impact on the emerging St. Paul business community. He and his brother, Andrew Boss, were involved in the founding of the School of Agriculture at the University of Minnesota , St. Paul . William Boss also was a founding member of the Midway Club, now the Midway Chamber of Commerce. In 1951, he started the Boss Foundation, which continues to support the arts and humanities in St. Paul today.

The fourth generation of the Boss family is now at the helm of The Specialty Mfg. Co. , with great-granddaughter Heidi Sandberg McKeown as chairman and her husband, Daniel McKeown, as president. “It is our intention to remain a privately held, family-owned business, and our clients and employees value this,” Daniel McKeown says. The company takes pride in the fact that it has never lost money in its more than 110 years in business. “This financial stability,” McKeown continues, “coupled with the fact that we are family owned and have long-term, tenured employees, really distinguishes The Specialty Mfg. Co.”