The company now known as Midco International started as a manufacturer of products ranging from onion peelers to air heaters. Midco International's emergence as a worldwide leader in power burners coincides with some of the most significant events in the second half of the twentieth century.


The company was incorporated as Mid-Continent Metal Products in 1941. When the United States entered World War II, Mid-Continent's focus was stamping and the machining of small parts for American naval vessels. With the intention of expanding and strengthening the company, Mid-Continent president Art Zitzewitz became interested in acquiring portions of his uncle's Chicago company named National Machine Works. In the process, he discovered the beginnings of a gas burner line of products already being produced by the company. Nationally, there was a fuel conversion to clean burning natural gas. The conversion from coal to natural gas heating systems was eminent. Art Zitzewitz's long range vision secured ownership rights to these burner products and included the burner development expertise of Steve Zavodny and E.J. Haedike. This set the course for the future of Mid-Continent.

The escalation of the war in 1942 soon demanded the services of many Americans including Art. This set the stage for the introduction of Sonya Zitzewitz, his wife, who became president of Mid-Continent Metal Products in her husbands absence. With similar dedication and business savvy, Sonya Zitzewitz conducted day-to-day operations as well as negotiated government contracts for Navy terminal tube fittings. During this time E.J.'s son, Edward W. Haedike, joined Mid-Continent.

While in the Army in Africa and Italy, Mr. Zitzewitz was a Lt. Colonel in charge of Mediterranean tank maintenance. Upon his return, he brought Frank Weiss, a member of his Army staff, to Mid-Continent as chief engineer. The demand for machined parts diminished after the war. So Art and Frank, along with burner specialists Ed and Steve, worked together to develop an innovative line of burner products that dramatically changed the industry. A blower using forced air was placed behind the burners flame to create a steady, reliable flame. This design was far superior to traditional burners which relied on ambient drafts. Mid-Continent began manufacturing the "Economite" line of gas fired burners that quickly became the industry standard. Technology and manufacturing expertise kept the company advancing through the end of the century.


The waste incineration increased in the 1950s. Mid-Continent responded by developing the "Incinomite" line of gas burners for specific use in this growing industry. These burners provided a long, luminous flame ideal for incinerator applications. The company continues to be the sole producer of this burner type.

In 1955, innovation continued with the development of new burner products in a different industry. This was when Hal Beyer's influence in sales and marketing began to take root. He literally became part of the Mid-Continent family when he married DeeDee Zitzewitz. Later, he became president and with his commitment to hard work the company continued to grow.

Peoples Gas Company of Chicago requested a "one-time-only" application of charcoal-free gas food broiler for legendary Chicago restaurateur Don Roth who was just opening his new Blackhawk restaurant. Mid-Continent, with it's technology and engineering expertise, developed and manufactured a freestanding gas fired flame-controlled food broiler.

The word "char boiler" turned into a national phenomenon. Americas restaurateurs wanted this innovative product and orders steamed in. To meet the tremendous market demand, the company created the EmberGlo division. Today, the EmberGlo product line includes broilers, steamers, accessories and OEM food service burners and controls.


Hal Beyer continued the tradition of Mid-Continent teamwork expanding and refining its product lines. Innovative thinking lead to the development of a national network of representatives for the EmberGlo food service equipment division as well as Midco power burner division. Expansion was eminent and Mid-Continent had to move to larger facilities within this period.


When the oil crisis began at the end of the decade, more and more businesses and residences converted from fuel oil to natural gas. The company expanded it's operations again to meet the new demand for gas-fired equipment. The superior design of Midco's burners made conversions easy. Coupled with high efficiency and reliability, product demand continued to accelerate. The food service industry was also booming, and the EmberGlo division of Midco sold huge numbers of gas broilers in Japan as the Asian market expanded.

Hal's wife DeeDee (Zitzewitz) Beyer joined the Midco family in 1970 while Ric Beyer began his career as the "EmberGlo chef" at food conventions with his dad Hal. England purchased great quantities of Make-Up Air burners. Canada imported large numbers of Economite conversion models. Hal Beyer-now Mid-continet's president-changed the company name to Midco International in 1979, reflecting the growing global interest in its products.


Market diversification was key for Midco in 1980s. The company expanded heavily into OEM sales and custom-designed burners. Emphasis shifted from product development to product refinement for equipment including water heaters, boilers, crop dryers and industrial ovens. Computer technology helped increase production dramatically. With the passing of Hal in 1988, DeeDee stepped forward and assumed Midco's leadership as president and decided to expand again and built the facility they currently operate on the north side of Chicago.


The century began with another oil shortage and Midco's burner production once again expanded. Today, the company continues to grow and prosper, as well as providing good quality products around the world with the finest in residential and industrial grade burners and food service equipment.