The company was started in 1898, located at the corner of Grove and McClun streets in Bloomington. The White-Evans Manufacturing Company incorporated on July 10, 1902. On July 27, 1903, the name was changed to the Portable Elevator Manufacturing Company at a stockholders meeting with the following members present: William R. White, John F. White, G. W. Monroe, and G. B. Read, with Frank W. Aldrich being represented by proxy. The company manufactured a wide variety of soft drink vending machines and farm machinery, including five types of portable elevators, wagon boxes, truck hoists, cultivators, and chisel plows.
By 1963, Portable Elevator was the world's biggest independent manufacturer of portable grain elevators, distributing in the U. S. and Canada. Sales were more than $2 million with a Bloomington workforce of 100. In 1967, Portable Elevator became part of Dynamics Corporation of America. Production in the Bloomington plant ended in 1985. The plant burned down in April 1989, just prior to its scheduled demolition.
The collection includes the minutes of directors' and stockholders' meetings from the company's inception through 1967, as well as binders of stock certificates.