John Blue Company History

An American Icon in Agricultural Pumps Since 1886

The Beginning

Nov. 28 1861

John Blue Sr. born in Scotland County, NC to Angus and Mary Ann McLaurin Blue. He was the eldest of 9 children.

Late 1800’s

John Blue’s curious mind, combined with the blacksmith skills he learned as a youth, led him to spend hours making farm tools in a small blacksmith shop on the family cotton farm.


At the age of 22, John Blue paid his father, Angus Blue, $2,000 for 100 acres of land and continued to improve and develop tools to use on cotton farms that would utilize mule power, rather than man power. He invented a cotton planter made of iron, and a machine to spread fertilizer.


Blue and his father established a business on their land in Laurinburg NC, repairing cotton gin parts and working on farm tools. The business grew and a shop and foundry were built across the street so his inventions could be mass produced and sold to other cotton farmers. It operated for many years and still stands as the Museum of
Agriculture and History.


John Blue and his friend and fellow inventor Mr. McCormick, submit their first product patent for a stalk cutter. Two years later, John Blue submits his second patent for a fertilizer distributor and cotton planter.


Aug. 11 1901

John Blue Jr. was born, the youngest of 3. Over the years, he developed a very sharp business mind and set out to make implements available to all farmers while continuing to lower his cost of production. John Blue Jr. obtained patents for all of his inventions, including the Guano Distributor in 1937, and ensured that patents protected all of his improvements.


10 years after John Sr.’s death, a fire destroyed the North Carolina foundry. Seeking a more convenient source of iron and coal, John Blue Jr. moved the company to a large foundry in Huntsville AL on Bob Wallace Avenue. Here, the company poured its own castings, and had its own welding and machine shops.


In 1952, John Blue Jr. submitted the first patent from Huntsville Alabama for the first metering pump system. “LIQUID FERTILIZER APPLYING APPARATUS”. The 1950’s were a time of great innovation, and more than 20 patents were submitted over the next decade.


Due to the increasing use of liquid fertilizer and liquid suspensions, the company devoted R&D to designing implements to handle it. In 1961, the John Blue tank division was created to fill this great need.



The Blue family sold the business to New York State firm Subscription Television Inc. (STV), but it kept the John Blue Company name.

Dec. 10 1968

John Blue Jr. was killed in an auto accident. His legacy lives on through his descendants and through the John Blue Cotton Festival which is held every October at his childhood home in Laurinburg, NC.


John Blue Company was an economic powerhouse in Huntsville, employing 700 to 800 at its peak. John Blue made pumps for agricultural and industrial operations, fertilizer spreaders, sprayers, cotton wagons, and metering devices for Anhydrous Ammonia. During 1974-76 John Blue also produced 200 Blue G-1000 tractors.

By 1980

Ownership transitioned back into private hands, a division of Burnley Corporation. It marketed its products through branch Service Centers and a network of Authorized Sales & Service Dealers across the US and Canada. It purchased a building on Slaughter Rd. in Madison AL to house the “Rex” tank company.


The Rex tank company shut down when the farm economy crashed and plastic tanks rose in popularity. Production moved back to the Bob Wallace Ave. facility. A 10-month defense contract for ammunition boxes kept the company going during this time (it was the only item produced by the company).


Major changes in the ag economy led the company to refine its product offering and focus on pumps, flow dividers, manifolds and accessories for applying liquid chemicals and fertilizers. The Bob Wallace location was liquidated at auction and many were laid off. The remaining business moved to Slaughter Rd.


With a resurgence in farming and equipment manufacturers, a new building was constructed on the west side of Slaughter Road (known as Pinehurst Drive) to accommodate the business and to modernize operations.


The company purchased CDS Ag Industries, a manufacturer of squeeze tube and irrigation pumps since 1980, and formed CDS-John Blue Company, a division of Advanced Systems Technology.


After steady growth and the addition of new liquid fertilizer products, the company outgrew its Pinehurst Drive building. It acquired a larger facility at 165 Electronics Blvd. near the Huntsville International Airport and Intermodal Center.

Aug. 2019

CDS-John Blue Company returned to its roots by becoming John Blue Company once again. The company now has over 50 patents and continues to develop high-quality, dependable, and accurate solutions to improve farming productivity and accuracy.


We are committed to providing producers with the most reliable and accurate solutions at the best price, all while delivering quality engineered solution and outstanding customer support. We embrace and promote the John Blue legacy and will never forget the passion and ingenuity of where we came from.