Ariel History

In the mid-1960s, Ariel founder Jim Buchwald understood that new technology was on the oil and gas industry horizon. He set his sights on building a gas gathering compressor to work with the new 1,800 RPM drivers. Buchwald envisioned precision and efficiency and wanted to manufacture a compressor that would pay for itself – all with the operator and mechanic in mind.
Over five decades later, Ariel's product line has grown to include compressors for a wide variety of applications and horsepower. Still, one thing has never changed – our commitment to providing the best compressor and parts and service support in the industry.


The Birth of Ariel


Buchwald purchases an Atlas lathe for manufacturing an eight-valve compressor. Later that year, Ariel Corporation, named after his 1948 Ariel Square Four motorcycle, is incorporated.



Serial No. 1


The basement of the Buchwald home becomes Ariel's first machine shop, producing a prototype JG compressor. After finishing the prototype, Ariel searches for a new facility and moves into a former car dealership in downtown Mount Vernon.



Serial No. 1,000 and a New World Headquarters


Ariel celebrates the 1,000th compressor manufactured, a four-throw JG. Due to growth, a new headquarters is constructed – including 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 10,000 square feet of office space.



Karen Buchwald


Karen Buchwald, Jim Buchwald's daughter, joins Ariel Corporation.



JGK Frame Introduced


Completion of the new JGK line of cylinders allows the introduction of the fully-rated JGK frame. This frame is named after Buchwald's children –  Karen and Kurt Buchwald.



Jim Buchwald Retires


After 31 years at the helm, Jim Buchwald retires from Ariel Corporation on April 30, 1998.



Ariel begins construction of the 40,000 square-foot Ariel Training Center. Designed to educate Ariel distributors and operators, this facility features two classrooms and a hands-on training lab.


A New Era


Karen Buchwald Wright, Jim Buchwald's daughter, assumes the Presidency of Ariel Corporation.



Three Generations


Alex Wright, the eldest son of Karen Buchwald Wright, is welcomed as the Director of Aftermarket Operations of Ariel Corporation. 



Unit #50,000 Ships


Serial no. 50,000, a KBB, is one of 39 Ariel compressors procured for the 700-mile Rover Pipeline in Ohio.



Ariel Celebrates 50 Years


Ariel Corporation commemorates its 50th Anniversary.



GMRC recognizes Buchwald


Ariel founder Jim Buchwald is honored with the Edward N. Henderson Distinguished Service Award, presented by the Gas Machinery Research Council (GMRC), for a lifetime of outstanding service.



The Ariel Training Center


Ariel opens its world-class training center, demonstrating its extraordinary commitment to the compression marketplace, its customers, and its employees. The facility houses the company's Training and Development Department and includes three comprehensive training labs for employees and customers.



Ariel Introduces the KBK:T Compressor


With the KBK:T, Ariel has created an upgraded frame that brings added functionality and value to the midline compression market.



Ariel Ships its 60,000th Compressor


Serial no. 60,000, a KBK/4, commissioned by Enerflex, was shipped to New Mexico, where it operates along with other Ariel compressors by Sendero Midstream as part of a gas gathering system.



Ariel Adds the KBE to the KB Lineup. The KBE, designated for gas gathering and lease fleet applications, is the latest model and adds another KB frame to the heart of our midline compressor lineup.

Explore our Full History

For a full look at the foundation, innovations, and manufacturing excellence over the past half-century, check out the resources below!