Donaldson's was founded in 1915 (which means that next year will be their centennial--I hope they do something locally) by a Minnesota man who was trying to solve a problem with the early tractors. His filter was made of wire, a can, and a tee shirt, and though simple, it got the job done. From simple filters that cleaned the air, they branched out to make filters that stopped fires caused by engine sparks. The company headquarters is in Minnesota, not too far from the Mall of America, the International Airport, and Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Donaldson's has manufacturing facilities in many states and in several foreign companies. No manufacturing is done in Rensselaer despite the fact that the Rensselaer plant is huge--over 600,000 square feet. (That is over 17 acres!) The Rensselaer plant is a distribution center.
The other main market is the agriculture machinery market, their original market. Again, farm equipment needs many filters and Donaldson's supplies them.
We then entered the main part of the building, I was overwhelmed by how big it was. I kept thinking that there is no way that I can capture the size on camera. I kept thinking of the closing scene in the Raiders of the Lost Ark where the Ark is being put into some huge warehouse.
Below you see the huge batteries for the fork lifts being recharged. Switching these very heavy batteries in and out of the equipment is the most dangerous job in the plant. However, it will soon be unnecessary.
All the equipment that moves things around the floor is electrical.
We were about to turn the corner and head south through the shipping area. But to see what is there, you will have to wait until part two of this Rensselaer adventure.