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Schwartz Manfuacturing Company began operations in 1941 as a two man shop when brothers, Elmer and Norman Schwartz, set up a manufacturing business in the old Sunnyside Creamery in Lester Prairie, Minnesota. Some of the first products Schwartz Manufacturing built were silage carts and homemade front end loaders that were custom build to each individual tractor farmers brought into the Schwartz shop. In 1945, Elmer Schwartz purchased his brother's interest and began the mass production of farm equipment products. The first mass-produced unit was the front end mounted farm loader. In a few short years, the Schwartz farm line had expanded to include the wide front axle conversion for a tricycle-front farm tractor. The introduction of this product firmly established Schwartz Manufacturing in the farm equipment market place.
In 1953, Schwartz Manufacturing introduced the Uni-thrust Hoist with the lifting cradle having a unique feature. The cradle had rollers in the upper end which rolled toward the rear of the body longbeams as the hoist lifted the load. This first model offered by Schwartz was equipped with cast steel piston rings, which are very similar to those used in car engines. This type of piston ring offers the ultimate in cylinder wear lift. There were four types of turck hoists marketed throughout the United States with sizes and models to fit almost any truck from one half-ton pickup to large tandem models with telescopic hoists.
1954 saw the introduction of equipment ramp hoists for trucks. The five models of ramp hoists, plus the Lo-Boy Semi-trailers which they began producing in 1969, enable Schwartz Manufacturing to provide a complete line of machinery transport equipment.
Major expansion in Lester Prairie began in 1959 with the purchase of additional buildings which were converted into a facility for mounting ramp hoists onto customer trucks. Further expansion came in 1963 with the construction of additional factory and office space at the main Lester Prairie facility.
A major reorganization of the company took place in 1959 when A. A. Kole joined the firm as a partner and was named Chief Operations Officer. Growth continued through the acquisition of manufacturing facilities in Nebraska (1966) for building truck bodies (closed and moved to Sioux Falls in 1972), South Dakota (1967), and Minnesota (1973), Cokato plant for loader production and engineering (closed and moved to Lester Prairie in 1983).
In 1970, Schwartz Manufacturing Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Chromalloy American Corporation, with Kole becoming the President of the subsidiary.
December of 1983, we became Amerequip Corporation until January, 1989 when Rob Sanek purchased the Sioux Falls, South Dakota plant and we became known as SMC Corporaiton. All production moved out of Lester Prairie to the South Dakota Plant. Engineering and Marketing departments remain at Lester Prairie. Business continued to grow with production at Sioux Falls running at full capacity. Some product was outsourced to try and keep up with demand. As of April 1, 2001, SMC discontinued the Conversion Hoist business due to inability to produce product. It was at this time Rob Stanek, President, decided to sell SMC to Alamo Group out of Sequin, TX. This became effective Aug 15, 2001.
In August of 2002, one of SMC's distributors, Joseph Barnick, purchased Truck Body Division from ALAMO Group of Texas. He named this new business SCHWARZ BODY CO. LLC, re-established manufacturing in Huron, SD, and moved Central Operations to North Haven, CT.
Joe's plans are to keep the body quality standard as high as original Schwartz Bodies, yet increase the options - such as the Backpack I. He wants to build a body that will not only serve all the needs it was created to meet but exceed expectations.
Schwartz Body Co. is also in the process of setting up a Distributor Network throughout the United States.