What's in a Name?

Four generations of innovation, quality, and customer service.

Douglas Miller
Principal & Founder

Allan Edwards, Inc.: For seventy-five years, the name has stood out in the oil and gas industry for its innovation, quality, and customer service. And for seventy-five years, four generations of men named Allan John Edwards have led the company in a way that makes customers and employees alike see themselves as part of the same family.

From the entrepreneurial spirit of founder Allan John Edwards Sr. in 1947 to the nimble, intelligent decision-making of Allan John (Chip) Edwards IV today, Allan Edwards, Inc. has remained reliable and trustworthy.

That’s because regardless of which Allan John is in the lead, Allan Edwards, Inc. values relationships.

Seventy-Five Years: Moving Forward and Staying True.

Tulsa attorney Rusty Patton’s association with Allan Edwards dates back to 1976 when he began providing legal counsel to the company leadership team as a law clerk.

“They’re always moving forward, doing something,” Rusty said. “They’re not content to just sit.”

There is a sense, however, in which contentment can be a strength. And Allan Edwards has found contentment in remaining true to its identity since day one: a company big enough to be an industry-wide leader, yet small enough to continue treating employees and customers as family.

Through the decades, Allan Edwards’s leaders have watched smaller, similar family-run businesses get swallowed up by the largest oil and gas companies.
Allan Edwards remained steadfast—content, you could say—to not deviate from what made the company the envy of its industry.

“One of the things we did that a lot of people don’t is we chose not to be a giant company,” current president Chip Edwards said.

“We’d rather be good than big.” – Chip Edwards

As a result, the history of Allan Edwards, Inc. is marked by descriptors like family environment, flexibility, diversification, community-minded, caring, and devotion to doing the right thing. But, ultimately, according to Rusty, the key to Allan Edwards’s success is a simple approach to doing business.

“It’s not difficult: ‘We take care of our customers, we take care of our employees, and everything else will take care of itself,’” Rusty summarized. “That’s been an ethos, I think, in the company forever.”

Forever? Well, for seventy-five-years anyway.

And still counting.

That approach has made the name Allan Edwards, Inc. everything that it stands for today—regardless of which Allan John Edwards is at the helm

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A Company Built on Innovation.

Allan Edwards, Inc. was born out of three decades of experience, pipeline expertise, and international insight.

That Allan John Edwards Sr. would form his own international company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, seems only natural considering the international path his life followed: He grew up in Scotland, met his wife and married her in Canada, and moved to Oklahoma to work in the oil business.

Certificate of Incorporation from the State of Oklahoma, 1947.

Allan established his personal and professional roots in Tulsa, and three generations and seventy-five years later, the name Allan John Edwards remains a fixture here. The company he created to bear his name—Allan Edwards, Inc.—now is under the leadership of the fourth Allan John (Chip) Edwards and still is as highly regarded as when Allan Senior set up his company to be a desirable place both to do business and to work in the pipeline industry.

It’s fitting that the three Allans who have followed the company founder have focused on continuing his legacy—because carrying on a legacy is what led to the company’s existence.

Dynamite blasts pieces of the Potomac River bottom in preparation for the laying of a natural gas pipeline in 1949.

Allan Edwards Sr.’s invention of river weights changed the pipeline industry and set his company on a trailblazer’s path.

In Some Ways, Allan Edwards, Inc. Was Born Out of Tragedy.

M.F. Hampton Company

In 1944, 51-year-old Allan Edwards Sr. joined the M.F. Hampton Company as a copartner. Two years later, Merle Francis Hampton—the man for whom the company was named—died in a car accident while on a business trip to Kansas City, Kansas. After the shocking loss of the pipeline and oilfield equipment business pioneer, Allan increased his leadership role at M.F. Hampton.

The following year, 1947, Allan purchased the partnership and created Allan Edwards, Inc.

He incorporated his new company on April 1 and chose as its home the same McBirney Building offices from which M.F. Hampton had operated.

The May 3 edition of that year’s Oil and Gas Journal announced the new company by touting Edwards as “widely known in oil circles, having been actively engaged in the oil-field-supply business for the past
twenty-five years.”

In Allan’s case, “widely known” meant internationally known.

When Allan became a copartner at M.F. Hampton, The Petroleum Engineer reported that he “brings to the Hampton firm a world-wide acquaintance in the petroleum industry and a broad experience in the equipment business.” (Never mind that the publication misspelled his first name as Allen. The knowledge of how to spell Allan’s first name would soon catch up to his standing within the industry.)

Black, Sivalls & Bryson

Allan had earned much of his reputation during eighteen years with Black, Sivalls & Bryson (BS&B), including twelve years as an intelligent, hard-working sales manager. BS&B was one year older than Allan, tracing its origin to 1892 and the early Pennsylvania oil fields.

During Allan’s nearly three decades at BS&B and M.F. Hampton, he gained the pipeline expertise and international insight to guide Allan Edwards, Inc. into a leading role in its industry.

The Invention of River Weights

Allan’s innovative nature showed early in the company’s history through designing and manufacturing concrete river weights, which solved buoyancy issues with pipelines by anchoring pipes
in water bottoms.

The new product coincided with two significant events: the destruction of Europe’s industrial economy because of World War II and the global steel shortage the United States could not evade. Despite the need for a material to replace cast iron, the new concrete river weights Allan created changed the pipeline industry and set his company on a trailblazer’s path.

The fascination with these oversized river weights was evidenced by the newspapers that dispatched reporters and photographers to document the large pieces of equipment used in local pipeline projects. The curiosity was aided by projects like the laying of a natural gas pipeline across the Potomac River in 1949. In that project, window-rattling dynamite blasts propelled chunks of the river bottom above the river’s surface as high as the Washington Monument. The explosions had nearby residents asking, “What was that?

Allan Edwards Sr.’s invention of river weights changed the pipeline industry and set his company on a trailblazer’s path.

This article first appeared in Müllerhaus's publication Legacy Journey Quarterly. For information regarding any of the projects mentioned in this publication or to inquire about Müllerhaus Legacy or our services, please contact Ally Seifried at 918-747-0018 or Alexandra@Mullerhaus.net

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Douglas Miller
Principal & Founder