Eugene Sukup, a young farmer, bought his first grain bin in 1962 to dry and store shelled corn. Unfortunately, he found drying to be slow, and pockets of grain began to overheat and spoil. To solve this problem, he modified a stoker auger from a coal furnace and inserted it in an electric drill. Then, using a chain, he hung it from the top of the bin to loosen the hot spots and prevent spoilage.
Eugene began making the stirring augers at a local welding shop in Sheffield, Iowa. He sold five units to a local bin dealer for $29 each; but when he went back to check on them, he found that only three had sold and one had been returned. So, Eugene went back to the drawing board. He came up with the idea of adding a horizontal auger through the handle of the drill to make it automatic. He patented the idea for the Stirway® stirring machine, and Eugene and Mary Sukup founded Sukup Manufacturing Co. in 1963.