Alfred Willard French founded The French Oil Mill Machinery Co. on May 25, 1900. Alfred Willard French and his team transitioned their expertise in vegetable oil hydraulic press technology to other processes such as metal forming and rubber curing. French was granted 55 patents. He also had a vision for the future of the company. He exported to markets outside of the USA and was soon building equipment for use in Great Britain, Germany, and Norway and continues today with installations in nearly every country on nearly every continent. Under his direction, the company expanded offerings to vegetable oil mills with mechanical screw presses and other products such as the use of screw presses in the synthetic and natural rubber, wood pulp, and cane sugar industries. In the late 1930s,The French Oil Mill Machinery Company began manufacturing solvent extraction machinery for the vegetable oil industry. In 1999, French announced the licensing and sale of the latest technologies of its worldwide solvent extraction business to the DeSmet Group, S.A. of Brussels, Belgium.