Wilden Turn 65

Matt Gardner

65 Years of Progress

In 2020 Wilden® are celebrating 65 years in business as a global leader in air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps. Jim Wilden established his namesake company Wilden in a walnut grove in San Bernardino USA. According to pump industry legend the company all started with a burst water pipe and a cheeky prediction:
It all started in 1955 when a large water pipe ruptured, flooding a production area at the steel factory where Jim Wilden was employed. Amid the chaos, a cool-headed foreman surveyed the flooded workshop and drenched workmen and shouted across to “Slim”, Jim’s nickname, “Hey, Slim, you would make a million dollars if you could invent a pump to get this stuff out of here.” Apparently this was the inspiration for an entire industry to bloom, as Jim went on to invent the Air Operated Double Diaphragm (AODD) pump.

Jim’s AODD pump invention was based on the need to create a pump tough and reliable enough to handle the harsh demands of the heavy-construction and mining industries, where the need to pump water, slurry and other abrasive fluids such as cement, is an ongoing requirement. He developed a completely new type of pump that featured air valves and diaphragms suitable for use across a broad range of applications.  After some trial and error, Jim began successfully manufacturing and selling M16 and M14 model AODD pumps.

Jim’s innovation did not end with the invention of the first AODD pump. He continued to further refine his manufacturing processes, and eventually hired a salesman, so he could focus on his strengths: engineering, production and design. The innovation and refinement continued, by 1964, the air valve, which once took six hours to produce, could now be made in 60 minutes; the entire pump, once a 40-hour project, was reduced to less than 4 hours. These manufacturing improvements and further hydraulic-fluid efficiencies his pumps delivered allowed Jim to innovate and develop new products,  notably including the M8, which is the basis for the current models available today.

In 1963 Levingston Bros was established as the New Zealand distributor for Wilden. Closely followed by Pump & Machinery in 1970 becoming a distributor. In the late 90's Levingston's and Pump & Machinery merged, combining their extensive Wilden knowledge.

By the mid 70's Jim was at it again, expanding operations globally, pioneering lean manufacturing principles and introducing new air distribution systems (ADS) to extend the Wilden range. Jim passed away in 1989, sadly right before he could see the full global benefits of the new product line take hold in the chemical, pharmaceutical and sanitary industries.

Even though Jim Wilden is no longer at the helm of the company, the new millennium has turned out to be just as innovative and productive as the previous decades. With global energy saving trends and best production practices, Wilden’s focus has evolved to address these concerns while still maintaining the high performance, long lasting quality and customer satisfaction for which the company is renowned. With the advent of the revolutionary Pro-Flo X™ and energy-efficient Pro-Flo® SHIFT ADS, Wilden promises to keep alive the innovative spirit and customer-focused culture that Jim instilled.

Pump & Machinery continue to proudly represent Wilden. Our team includes the 2 most experienced Wilden Sales Engineers in the Southern Hemisphere and we are all working hard to gain a fraction of their experience. To ensure consistent supply and competitive pricing Pump & Machinery parallel import genuine Wilden parts, accessories and pumps. In addition to our masses of Wilden experience our team pride ourselves on being the AODD experts, with a weath of experience in Graco, Nomad, Versamatic, Sandpiper, ARO, and more.

Critical Stock

New Zealand and the Pacific Island are geographically isolated and therefore our industries can be vulnerable to loss of production caused by break downs. Our industrial customers rely upon the extensive stock holding of Pump & Machinery to support their production. We stock NZ's most extensive range of Wilden and AODD pumps, in a wide range of configurations and materials. For specialist applications we have engineers able to adapt and re-engineer pumps to suit almost any chemical / temperature / pressure / viscosity application.


Pump & Machinery carry the most extensive stocks of Wilden and AODD parts. One of the advantages of Wilden is their longevity and we regularly support customers with parts for their Wilden's that date from the 70's and 80's. Our team can help you select the right parts for almost any application.

We Can Help

The Pump & Machinery team celebrated our 50th birthday earlier this year and our team has combined experience and knowledge from many hundreds of years in the pump industry. Please give us a call if we can help.