Dresser-Rand's roots can be traced back to 1840 to Worthington, when Henry R. Worthington designed and built the first direct-acting steam pump. Later, in 1880, Solomon R. Dresser, in Bradford, Pennsylvania, received a patent for a coupling that made it possible to join sections of pipe. Also in 1880, Clark Brothers Company was founded in Belmont, New York. Clark Bros. Manufactured agricultural and timber machinery. In 1899 the Rand Drill Company, later merged with Ingersoll-Sargeant Company to form Ingersoll-Rand, began manufacturing compressors in Painted Post, New York. Also in 1899, Henry R. Worthington Company merged with Laidlaw-Dunn-Gordon Co., manufacturers of gas compressors.
In 1902 Worthington developed the first gas-engine -driven gas compressor. In May 1906, the Terry Steam Turbine Company incorporated. In the following year, the company installed the first direct connected small steam turbines for driving centrifugal boiler feed pumps for the New York Edison station. In November 1908, Terry received orders from the U.S. Navy for vertical turbines to drive forced draft fans on destroyers and the new torpedo boats. For a considerable period, at least 90% of all fan driving turbines used in the ship construction work of the United States Navy were Terry-made.
One of the first Clark engines to be built for use in the oil fields was a slow-speed, horizontal steam engine. This old workhorse was the mainstay of the business until 1905 when it was superceded by Clarks Bogoart gas engine, the Clark Corliss and the slide valve steam engine.
A disastrous fire in 1912 destroyed the old Clark plant at Belmont. Instead of rebuilding in Belmont, the company moved to Olean, NY. A new plant, which was the beginning of the present Olean campus, was erected. In 1916, James Moore, Chief Engineer for Kerr Steam Turbine Company leaves to start his own company at the other end of Wellsville, N.Y. Moore Steam Turbine Company is founded. In 1917 the Moore Steam Turbine Company produces its first 250 HP turbine. Orders for another 151 multistage and 90 single-stage turbines follow. Later, the product line expands to include much larger mechanical drive turbines up to 6,000 HP and turbine generators up to 3,000 KW. The years of 1918 and 1919 saw the entry of Clark Bros. Company into the oil field business with a definite development program for the rapidly growing industry.
Significant Moore design improvements and new developments made during this era include cam-operated automatic nozzle control, two and four valve automatic extraction control, solid rotors and double flow exhaust. These features, superior to competitive designs at the time, are still used today. In 1927, the Painted Post facility supplies jackhammer drills and portable air compressors that will be used in the construction of the Mt. Rushmore national monument in South Dakota. In 1928 Worthington introduced the first angle engine and compressor.