Laura, Jim, and Bob at the shop in Milford circa 1950. The dog pictured is Happy - the first field pup.
Robert Davis and Son has been in business since 1931, begun by Robert “Bob” Davis, and his wife Laura.
In the late ’20s, the couple was traveling from the Lake Cumberland area in Kentucky/Tennessee to Minnesota with their infant son, Jim. They stopped for a bite to eat in Hoopeston, Illinois, and Bob was offered a job. He was a blacksmith by trade.
A few years later, he opened his own blacksmith shop in downtown Milford, Illinois, a small farming community.
In the days of shoeing horses - shaping hot steel with hand tools - he found a lot of work helping the local farmers. Horses were replaced with tractors and farmers’ needs changed. He did as well.
His engineering skills were put to the test making hay racks and flare wagons, and he was always available to repair equipment. Over time, farmers became more self–sufficient.
Jim came on board after he got out of the service in ’46, having served in Germany during World War II.
The transportation industry expanded and covered more miles. It just so happens that Milford is located along Route 1, a main artery out of Chicago. Semi-trailers passed through Milford, and the Davis' welding shop needed more space to accommodate its customers.
It moved to two different locations within Milford before it finally settled to its present location a mile south of town.
There was a lot of need for repair work on the trailers — brakes, side sheets, new dollies — and we needed more space to do the work.
Beginning in the ’60s, Jim’s sons, John and Jim, were important tools in the family business.
Ingenuity led to the family moving on from repair work to building their own trailers: flat bed, scrap trailers, dump trailers, and 40 ft. trailers with 5 ft. sides.
As time went on, a new idea formed to build a fuel trailer – The Field Pup. Originally, the idea was for easier fuel carting for farmers, but the need quickly arose for disaster recovery.
Many of the same tools Bob used in the ’30s can still be found around the machine shop today. Today, though, it's a welding shop.
Robert Davis and Son was incorporated by John. Now, his daughter, Wendy; nephew, Matt; and a hard–working engineering team help build each unit to a customer’s specification.
We still help out the area farmers and businesses who need a little repair work done on their equipment along the way.