Gradall Industries, Inc.

Corporate History

The first Gradall was patented by Ray and Koop Ferwerda as a material moving device.Although the Gradall brand history dates back to the early 1940s, Gradall Industries, Inc., was formed in 2006 when the Alamo Group of Seguin, Texas, acquired the Gradall manufacturing facility in New Philadelphia, Ohio, as well as all equipment, machinery, tooling and intellectual property associated with the famous Gradall excavator product line.

Alamo immediately re-established Gradall as a stand-alone business, continuing to design, manufacture, market, sell and support its excavator products as well as specialized machines for metal mill maintenance, mining, firefighting, railroad work and other applications. In addition, the Gradall plant produces a number of proprietary products and components for other manufacturers.

Also in 2006, Alamo acquired the Vacall line of sewer cleaning equipment, straight jetting trucks, hydro-excavators and industrial vacuum loaders. Immediately, Alamo assigned all Vacall operations to Gradall Industries and relocated all Vacall functions to the Ohio plant, which had proven success for quality, cost-efficient design and production as well as expertise in sales, marketing and product support in government and private contractor markets.

Alamo also owns some 14 plants in North America and Europe, primarily involved in the manufacture of right-of-way maintenance and agriculture equipment.

Gradall Industries benefits from the quality and innovation apparent in the first Gradall excavators, first invented to compensate for manpower shortage on road repair projects during World War II. The first hydraulic excavator of its kind, it could be mounted on a truck for efficient movement, and it had a telescoping, tilting boom that could accommodate the need for fine grading and sloping – jobs that typically were performed by laborers. Today, Gradall excavators benefit from the same unique mobility and versatility advantages.

Warner & Swasey acquired Gradall in 1945, and set it up as a separate division in 1950 when it acquired the New Philadelphia, Ohio, location that continues to serve as the Gradall Industries plant and headquarters. In fact, the Ohio plant is Gradall’s only manufacturing location and Gradall is proud to be the only excavator brand assembled only in the U.S.

Warner & Swasey had hoped Gradall excavators would benefit from the building boom after World War II, but success really came with the machines' popularity during construction of the interstate highway system in the 1950s. From time to time, the Gradall Division of Warner & Swasey also included other manufacturing concerns that built crane carriers, heavy-duty dump trucks, small hydraulic backhoes and carrier-mounted rough-terrain hydraulic cranes.

The first Gradall was patented by Ray and Koop Ferwerda as a material moving device.In 1980, Warner & Swasey sold Gradall to the Bendix Corp., which was acquired by the Allied Group in 1983. Soon afterward, Allied sold the excavator operation to a group of Gradall executives who formed a company called GBKS.

ICM Industries, a Chicago-based consulting group, became the next owner in 1985. After several successive years of record revenues and profits, the New York investment group of Morgan, Lewis, Githens and Ahn took control of the company in 1996 and directed its first public offering of stock.

Morgan, Lewis, Githens and Ahn maintained a controlling interest, holding 45.6 percent of the stock until, in 1999, Gradall was acquired by JLG Industries, a world leader in the manufacture of aerial work platforms.

In the early 1980s, Gradall had acquired the line of Loed telehandlers, subsequently re-named Gradalls. The JLG purchase led to a dominant market share in the telehandler product category when it introduced its own JLG telehandler, rooted in the Gradall design, and then acquired two other telehandler brands.

Alamo purchased the Gradall excavator assets from JLG in February 2006. The Ohio plant, to date, has produced well over 15,000 excavators and shipped them to nearly every corner of the world. Total employment, at times, has reached well over 1,000, while the company continues to be a preferred employer and a leading corporate citizen in its home area.

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