It started with a fire. The Viking Group traces its roots back to the 1880s when Emil Tyden, a Swedish immigrant, developed an innovative railroad car seal in Chicago. In the late 1890s, Tyden was introduced to a businessman in Michigan who convinced him to move to Hastings, where he founded the International Seal and Lock Company to manufacture the patented seals. Tyden went on to create one of the world's first automation systems – fully a decade before Henry Ford mass-produced automobiles.
After a fire destroyed his factory in 1920, Tyden resolved to enter the fire sprinkler business. He was introduced to a St. Louis businessman who claimed to have developed some designs for fire sprinklers and valves. After it became apparent that the business was in trouble, Tyden bought 100% interest in The Viking Corporation and began manufacturing fire sprinklers and valves in Hastings.
Rapid growth. Tyden expanded the company by partnering with talented “sprinklermen” around the United States, and in a very short time developed a sizable number of highly qualified Viking sprinkler contractors. Viking maintained this contractor orientation until the mid 1960s.
The rapid growth of the fire sprinkler market in the mid 1970s caused Viking to establish a network of affiliates who could properly service the market with Viking products as well as other components necessary for sprinkler installations. By the mid-to late-1980s, Viking divested itself of all contracting and design interests and focused on the development, manufacture, and distribution of fire sprinklers, valves, and devices.
Global reach. In the early 1990s, Viking SupplyNet was established as the sole distributor of Viking products and related fire protection components. Viking Supply Net International was also developed to build a strong global presence. Worldwide, Viking SupplyNet is now represented by over thirty wholly owned locations as well as a large network of independent distributors.
In 2002, Viking Group, Inc. launched Viking Fabrication Services to offer contractors complete fabrication services for steel pipe, the largest component for most sprinkler systems. Viking Plastics joined Viking Group Inc. in early 2007 to provide an integrated package of products and services for independent fire sprinkler contractors worldwide and create a seamless and comprehensive single-source solution for residential fire protection.
A world leader. A 2009 merger with Minimax formed one of the largest fire protection companies in the world, giving Minimax Viking unparalleled global capabilities in a wide variety of fire detection, control, and suppression technologies.