Dake Corporation at 125: Forever Changing, Forever Young
Since its founding in 1887, the JSJ-owned Dake brand has built a solid reputation for pragmatic adaptability in its approach to business, and striving for ever-higher quality in its ever-evolving product lines.
So how does a company like Dake observe its 125th anniversary of continuous operation and remarkable flexibility?
Well, hold the fanfare for a sesquicentennial. Dake’s West Michigan operations in Grand Haven and neighboring Spring Lake will shut down a few hours early on a Friday afternoon, and the team members will enjoy a picnic and softball game at a local park. And then, in Dake’s low-key and dutiful way, it’s back to work on Monday morning to fulfill the needs of the markets it serves, and to keep the company going strong for the subsequent generations.
“Sure, it’s a tremendous milestone to reach 125 years in business,” admits Jason Riemersma, general manager for the Dake Corporation. “But more significant than the number of years is the number of dedicated and talented team members who have contributed to Dake's success and adaptability throughout the decades and generations. Our people truly make Dake the great company it has grown into today.
Dake has diversified in recent years to include OEM furniture manufacturing at the company’s Spring Lake location, as well as producing a robust line of arbor, bench and hydraulic presses, cold saws and band saws at the Grand Haven facility. Dake also manufactures ferrous and non-ferrous castings.
It’s a dramatically different operation than it was in its early years in Grand Haven when it produced the innovative double-reciprocating, square-piston steam engine invented by William F. Dake, for whom the company was named. In subsequent decades, Dake produced engines that ran equipment in coal mines, generated electricity for headlights on locomotives, weaving the cables that supported the construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and helped build the Panama Canal and miles of railway and subway tunnels along the Eastern Seaboard in the early part of the 20th Century.
Since being purchased in 1940 by the JSJ Corporation, the company has morphed into producing a great variety of high-quality, industrial-grade machines, as well as supplying furniture to a number of the largest manufacturers of contract furnishings globally.
“We have invented and reinvented our company many times,” said Riemersma. “We are always looking for new ways to serve and to leverage our strengths. That’s a legacy worth remembering.”
Since 1887, the Dake brand name has been associated with high quality, industrial grade machines. Dake offers a complete line of arbor presses, hydraulic presses, bench presses, cold saws, and band saws. Dake also manufactures and distributes ferrous and non-ferrous castings. Its newest product line, OEM furniture, was added in 2011.