Our Story

In the early 1950's, Arthur Vriezelaar, a professional photographer, invented a small, inexpensive machine that allowed a small photographic studio to mass-produce prints economically. This machine was called the Midland Photographic Easel, and the company name was Midland Mfg. & Dist. Co.

He started production of these machines in the basement of his home in Monroe, Iowa. His business expanded and he moved the process to an old carriage house in his backyard. As time went on Midland became a tool shop, building Pace Silk Screen machines, Globe milking machines, Pillo-Pak containers, redwood kits, as well as the Easel. During this time, a new building went up and several additions were made.

Plastic bottles were starting to replace glass bottles in the late 1950’s, and the opportunity to get into this new wave of the future looked good. The first plastics blow-molding machine was delivered to Midland July 1, 1960. The machine was built by Waldron-Hartig, serial number 3. According to Mr. Vriezelaar, Midland was the fifth company in the USA to start blowing plastic bottles. This makes Midland one of the oldest blow molders in the country.

Back then, nobody really knew how to make a plastic bottle. Even the machinery people and the plastic resin people were in the dark. However, within three years, that molding machine was making plastic bottles 24 hours a day, 6 days a week.

In the early 1960’s, PVC was becoming quite popular in Europe. So in 1965, Midland installed one of the first PVC blow molding lines in the USA.

During the next 15 years, Midland would grow to over 20 blow molding lines, with plants in Monroe, Iowa, Chicago, and Memphis, Tennessee. Midland would be making bottles and industrial parts for many notable companies such as: Anderson Windows, Caterpillar Tractor, Colgate Palmolive, General Motors, John Deere, Lever Brothers, Maytag and Vermeer, as well as many smaller companies that were not as well known.

1st Tradeshow

Today Midland operates all business from a state-of-the-art facility in Monroe. Second generation management is at the helm, with third generation in training and fourth generation still in school. Midland will always be a family business, run by family members.

Most of Midland’s customers have been Midland customers for many years, some as long as 45 years. The reason is simple: fair prices, great quality and personal service. Midland produces containers and industrial parts from ½ ounce fluid capacity to 5 gallons, in resins such as high density, low density and high molecular weight polyethylene, PVC, polypropylene and polycarbonate.

The silk screen-decorating department has two semi-automatic machines, and one fully automatic machine that can print as many as 4,000 bottles per hour.

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