Photos by Robert Stocki
Tuthill celebrated 125 years of being a family-owned, American-based manufacturing company. On August 26, 2017, the Tuthill Pump Group and corporate headquarters gathered together on the lawn outside the Alsip, IL manufacturing plant. Children and families enjoyed many activities such as a climbing wall, bounce houses, a Ninja Warrior obstacle course, face painting, a petting zoo and more.
Tuthill commissioned a Chicago muralist, Sam Kirk to create an original art piece to commemorate 125 years of Tuthill. The piece tells the history of the company which began in 1892 as a brick manufacturer. To create the bricks, horses needed to haul clay out of steep quarries. When the horses were perishing from the strenuous work, Mr. Tuthill intervened. He bought a patent to a steam-powered truck which would replace the horses and carry out clay. Kirk’s art piece outlines Tuthill’s history in the shape of a heart, paying homage to Mr. Tuthill’s heart which drove him to his first patent that saved the horses’ lives.
The story of how Tuthill began is outlined in black and white on the exterior of the painting. In color is a mural of symbols representing the industries Tuthill’s products touch today: agriculture, medical, power and energy, chemical, food and beverage. In the center of it all is part of a Tuthill pump called the flange, which is manufactured today.
"I enjoyed working on this piece because it represents all of the ways Tuthill is working to help our world to function better - with balance and joy," Sam Kirk said. She titled the piece: "A days work, a lifetime of impact."
At the 125th celebration the artwork was revealed. Families gathered around and painted bricks with words or drawings of things that they “pump their heart into,” or that they’re passionate about. Family. Dancing. Big fish. Equality. Friends. One after the next the bricks were brought to life with bright paint. The bricks the families painted are symbolic of the bricks made from the clay in the quarries that the horses hauled, back in 1892. Now, they create a foundation for the wooden framed art piece that hangs on the wall at Tuthill’s corporate office in Burr Ridge, IL.