The History of ADS

Today’s ADS dish machines evolved from a design conceived by John B. Tuthill and W.L. Dumas in the small town of Miami, Oklahoma.

The Chemical Sanitizing Low-Temperature Dishwasher was born.

On November 21, 1950, Tuthill and Dumas received patents for the Chemical Sanitizing Low-Temperature Dishwasher, which would revolutionize the warewashing market.

The original machine consisted of glass containers that used gravity to dispense chemicals and cloth curtains that served as doors. Despite its crude design, the capabilities of this machine were astounding. Not only did the dishwasher save energy, it also offered a more efficient method of cleaning, with pressure wash and rinse for each cycle of dishes. Tuthill and Dumas began renting these machines, providing chemicals and free 24-hour service, creating a new concept of marketing. 

Tuthill eventually moved the company to Kansas City, Missouri and changed its name to ADS, which stood for Always Direct Sanitation until the 1960s when it became American Dish Service.

Since its humble beginning, ADS has expanded its line of warewashing equipment to include double tanks, undercounters, glasswashers, conveyors, high temp machines, tables, and low-level chemical alarms. It is easy to see the influence of the original design in today’s models. ADS machines are simple, sturdy, well-built, and do not rely on digital components. It is this simplicity and quality of workmanship that can be attributed to the efficiency and longevity of these machines.

Mergers and Divestitures

  • James D. Robinson, founder of Auto-Chlor System, recognized the potential of Tuthill’s and Dumas’ invention and purchased the right to use their patent in several southern states.
  • The Andrews family, who were the primary stockholders of Chem Mark International in Orange, California, purchased ADS in 1973. After the purchase, both ADS and Chem Mark manufactured warewashing equipment to distribute for their own use with few exceptions.
  • ADS sold Chem Mark International in 1977. Two years later, ADS opened its line of warewashing equipment to the public.
  • In the early 1980s, ADS sold off all direct operations and discontinued the chemical blending operation to eliminate competition with their customer base and focus solely on manufacturing. The turn-key rental or lease marketing program developed by Tuthill and Dumas prospered under this new direction and continues to thrive today.
  • ADS was purchased by Ali Group on January 1, 2020.

Ever Wonder Why ADS’s Story is Such a Favorite?

The answer begins with an idea…

At ADS, the idea is about machines – capable, durable equipment designed and built by those who know how. How often do we find companies that follow that philosophy? These days those companies tend to be rare; equally rare are products worth finding. One complaint that could be said of ADS is they’ve never told their own story; few know anything about them yet you see their machines everywhere. They are not absorbed in following trendy schemes. ADS thinks of itself as a quiet, consistent maker of suitable equipment.

The facts tell as much: ADS been privately owned for over forty-eight years, holds active design patents and pioneered the first chemical sanitizing machine.  Eight of the market’s fourteen manufacturers (57%) sprang from ADS,  all machines were built solely by ADS under one roof and they still provide personal service (you can talk to a real person).  They also founded the longest running training school for Batch-type/Conveyor machines, their current designs have the highest NSF ratings for speed and reduced water consumption, and that’s just the beginning of their work.

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adc-66 conveyor dish mashine

The ADS Dish Machine Catalog

The star of the ADS line is the Conveyor.

Our conveyor ranks as the most conservative at 120 GPH and the fastest at 244 racks per hour.  It’s so dependable, other companies and manufacturers buy it for their own line.

Over the years, competitors have introduced various conveyor models, all said to be improved and enhanced.  The ADS Conveyor was good from the start, based on solid principles and innovative design that has stood the test of time.    The company knew it had something and protected the design by patents. The market speaks highly of its performance and dependability, just ask Don Hall, of Cheney Brothers”…ADS has the best 44 in the country.”

The most powerful door-type High Temp made is the ADS HT-25, with an astounding 60-second cycle. For the fine white-tablecloth restaurants, it’s like the “drag racer” of dishmachines. Then there are our reliable low-temps. The line is rounded out with undercounters, boosters, and dish tables.

See Our Dish Machines

The Customer Service Experience

Today the word ‘service’ is overused and under-delivered. Interestingly, ADS’s name speaks of service. An odd title for manufacturing, American Dish Service is a fair description of the company’s reasoning. “Design and build it so it will perform it’s given task” is the energy behind their decisions.

For those times when you have a question or possibly need to make a repair, who better to call than the people that actually manufacture the machine?  ADS has assembled a team of engineers, plant personnel and technicians that have worked with the machines in the field to take your calls and answer your questions.  In addition, we have a ever growing library of tech data on our website and on YouTube.  It’s not all about service and parts questions, we also provide advice on sizing up the correct machine for the job, whether new construction or replacing an existing machine.

Nothing about the warewashing business is easy, and it is comforting to have access to someone who can solve your problems. There are some of the best experienced people working at ADS, they know how to solve the problems and freely offer to do just that. American values used to mean that “no matter what it takes we will get it done, you’re our customer and we’re in this together” this is an attitude that can preserve important business. That can-and-will-do-attitude is a common push around the ADS plant, which the crew simply calls “the Dish”. You can see that willingness in providing same-day CAD drawings, overnight part assemblies, hand-carry orders, and training over the phone.

Factory training program feedback

“I gained knowledge, comfort in walking in and being able to analyze and better understand the situation I am going into. Great course, excellent teacher, great flow – fast paced.”
– Don Tomasco of Zep Co.

“I have learned a great deal of very good information, learned many new things. Thank you, you can teach an old dog new tricks.”
– Ray Kimer of Royalab

“The increase in sales is directly related to [ADS] training.”
– Tim Terry of Gordon Foods

“Yes, outstanding, held my interest. One of the best I’ve attended.”
– Mike Schaefor of GFS

“Your … Conveyor Seminar was greatly appreciated, and the information you provided will be very helpful when we are out in the field doing our preventative maintanance or when trouble shooting the dishmachine.”
– James Spangler of DiverseyLever

“You appear to be advancing the engineering of warewashers. I would like to thank you for taking your time to educate me.”
– Mark Sharff, Owner of EnergyMizer of Sarasota

“Thanks for the class. I feel it is a great help for my staff and it is going to keep Pro-Clean as one of the best in the business.”
– Mike Stephens, Pro-Clean/Lady Baltimore

“This 2-day course was very helpful. I definitely learned a lot and I am much more confident about my knowledge of dishmachines. I just wish the Hobart machines were this easy to work on. Most of my accounts have C-44’s [C44A] or AM-14.”
– Jason Brown, Pro-Clean/Lady Baltimore

What do the folks at ADS know?

  1. Most customers buy a dishmachine as a tool for their business; they expect it to work all day. When service work is done, it is usually emergency calls and the person will have limited experience, few tools, no parts, and little time.
  2. Not being able to get clean dishes is a big problem
  3. Not meeting health department heat/chemical limits is a big problem
  4. Having leaks is a big problem
  5. Not starting is a big problem
  6. Always broken down is a big problem
  7. When building dish washers, plastic is NOT our friend, rubber, only marginally
  8. Leaking of chemical liquids is certain
  9. If it can be put in upside-down, it will be
  10. Rotating Arms are far better than stationary sprays but require an extraordinary bearing
  11. Rinsing is the hardest thing for a dishmachine to do
  12. Few materials will survive hot, caustic, chlorinated, soil laden water under pressure
  13. Key parts must be strong (commercial grade) or the operation stops
  14. Rough use is expected, ourtright abuse is likely
  15. Most common repairs should be easily accessible
clean dishes on counter
ads building exterior

Why would a person choose an ADS dish machine over the other fourteen makers?

We manufacture machines that deliver great results, are dependable and that last.

Today there are still machines that work well and are reliable. The dish machines come from a company that backs them up. We don’t try to fool you with stickers or lights. You can always get the same parts. And both the machines and the parts will have the letters ADS stamped on the nameplate.

Finally, it is a business decision whether to go for show, or show up with the winning goods.

– Your friends at ADS