Electric Maintenance Service was founded in 1918 by Walter N. Burr and incorporated as Electric Maintenance Service in 1923. Nobody knows for sure when the company also became known as EMS, but evidence in advertising documents indicate that change occurred sometime in the late 1920’s or 30’s. Occupying its third site (all three in Bridgeport), the company is currently located at 143 Bennett Street.
The company moved from Warren Street to its present home in the early 1940s, and shortly afterward faced one of its greatest challenges – a fire on the Fox Street side of the building destroyed much of the structure. Rebuilding the damaged structure would not be easy, due to material shortages that occurred during World War II. In fact, EMS required permission from Congress to rebuild because the steel that would be needed in the reconstruction was also needed for the war. Electric Maintenance Service, which supported many local factories that contributed to the war effort, was granted Congressional authorization, and repairs to the present building, along with construction of a new warehouse on Fox Street, were quickly accomplished, mostly with the use of cinder blocks and bricks. Other changes included the installation of a sprinkler system, and the addition of an oil furnace to supplement the coal-fed boiler, which was eventually removed from the building.
The EMS operation changed hands in 1978, not by an outsider but to Robert E. Goodfellow, who had been with the Burr business since 1945 and later became its office manager. The Burr family maintained a presence for many years, and the Goodfellows have continued the family-run legacy that began in 1918.
And while the emphasis has always been on electric components, the business focus has changed in order to meet the needs of a new and expanding market. The original mission of EMS was to serve as a repair facility, and the company built a solid reputation serving the large number of manufacturers located in the Bridgeport area. The long list included Raymark (Raybestos) makers of motor vehicle brakes; Singer, a maker of sewing machines; Remington Rand, the shaver folks; Avco Lycoming, who made tank engines, and Sprague Meter, who made gas and other meters. Also, Remington Arms, Columbia Records, Bridgeport Machines, Moore Special Tool, Acme Shear the Scissor maker, McKesson Labs, Bridgeport Brass, Bullard Machine Co., Casco Products, Bryant Electric, Hubbell Electric, and Bassick Company, who made casters. Unfortunately, many of these firms, who had been EMS customers for decades, either went out of business or became part of the mass exodus from the Bridgeport region that began in the late 1970s and ran into this century.
This turn of events forced Electric Maintenance Service to begin looking beyond the local area, and the present focus on the Internet has allowed the company to not only survive, but actually thrive. In recent years, Since the late 1980’s, EMS has established a niche by selling special Eddy-current Dynamatic motors and repair parts to motor repair shops across the country. By the late 1990’s, we were the number one customer of Dynamatic, a Wisconsin based company.
Today, we support a growing national customer base with an interactive web site where customers can purchase goods right from our on-line store, along with easy accessibility to our well-trained staff. Our rich history demonstrates how we have grown and evolved to meet the needs of an expanding customer base, and we are poised to continue that progress in the future.