The Nelson Liquid Drive Story


The G.E. Nelson Company was incorporated in 1941 and for over 80-years has operated as a privately-held, family business offering exception quality, delivery and customer support. Originally engaged in the production of heavy and precision metal spinning for major industrial customers, the Company began to design and sell a new line of hydraulic couplings (fluid drives) in 1946 marketed as NELSON “POWER MATE” and “POWER CUSHION” Liquid Drives under the subsidiary, Liquid Drive Corporation (LDC).

LDC reputation grew as it designed and manufactured the S-133 Special Liquid Drive for the Wright-Aeronautical Corporation Turbo-Cyclone compound aircraft engine. After military testing and approval, 40,000 of these units were manufactured for the engines in the Douglas DC-7, Lockheed Super Constellation and many military planes with an excellent quality record. Subsequently, LDC furnished drives for the aircraft cabin superchargers built in the Stratos Division of Fairchild Airplane and Engine Company and drives for the in-flight refueling systems for Flight Refueling, Inc.


Over the next 30-years, Liquid Drive Corporation expanded its customer base and applications across a variety of end-markets. By 1971, the Company had many well-known, successful installations, and the markets expanded from predominantly municipal-oriented sales to heavy industrial applications.

In December of 1984, Gilbert E. Nelson transitioned LDC to his son, Robert G. Nelson, who subsequently grew the business to meet the changing demands of the customers and markets LDC services. Bob Nelson was instrumental in upgrading the drive designs and integrating proprietary technologies into the family of products that are offered today.

In 2005, the Company was renamed Nelson Liquid Drive, and Mrs. Brandy Nelson and Mrs. Polly Lucas took over leadership of the Company and continue the tradition of quality manufacturing and service.


Currently, Nelson offers ~30 standard models ranging in size from 2 hp up to 7,000 hp at speeds up to 3,600 RPM. Many special units have been built on development contracts with various companies recognizing the expertise of the Company’s high-speed turbo equipment in the speed range up to 20,000 RPM.

Current applications of the “POWER MATE” liquid drives include pumps, fans, conveyors and processing equipment. Industries serviced included pulp and paper producers, mining, transportation, power plants, cement manufacturing, water and waste treatment, steel production, pipelines, chemical and petrol-chemical industries.

In addition to countless installations throughout the U.S., worldwide installations include such countries as Canada, Columbia, Korea, Holland, Pakistan, Australia, Peru, Chile, France, Japan, Zambia, South Africa, Mexico, Taiwan, Venezuela, Israel, Barbados, Saudi-Arabia and the Philippines.

The present sales organization includes representatives and distributors throughout the United States, Canada and other parts of the world.

In 2020, Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Lucas, recognizing significant market opportunity and the need to expand the sales and service team at Nelson, partnered with Covington Capital, a Michigan-based private investment firm. Together, Covington and Nelson management are committed to carrying on the legacy of Nelson and serving customers worldwide.