Charles U. Williams came to Bloomington in the late nineteenth century. He was an itinerant photographer who decided to relocate to the area. He is later went into the picture postcard and later opened a successful auto dealership located at 207 E. Washington St. Due to the coal shortage caused by World War I, C.U. Williams and his son developed what would become known as the Oil-O-Matic, an oil-based heater for homes by reusing oil from cars serviced at the dealership. With the expansion of the heating business came other inventions such as the Ice-O-Matic, a compressor-operated refrigeration system.
In 1946 the company merged with the Eureka Company of Detroit and was renamed Eureka-Williams Corp., and the company began production of vacuum cleaners.