(Based on a story in the Meade
Products Manufacturing Co. was founded on a farm southeast
of Meade in 1946, by George A. Isaac, whose first product
was a self-propelled riding lawn mower. In 1947, Isaac added
all-steel pickup stock racks to his line.
Clarence Isaac joined his brother in July, 1948. Less than a
year later, the company built its first tractor cab. The
original tractor cab was built for the Isaac's own farm use;
a neighbor saw it and asked if they could build one for him.
From there the Meade fame spread.
The original tractor cab built in 1949.
|In 1950, the Isaacs moved
their operation from the small farm shop into a
3,000-square-foot building on the 200th block of East
Carthage Ave. in Meade. Their product line included riding
lawn mowers, tractor cabs, pickup stock racks and a post
hole digger that installed on a Ford tractor. At that time
the company employed 14 men.
wasn't long before this facility proved to be inadequate and
working conditions were too cramped for efficiency. In 1958,
they purchased a block of land on US 54-160 on the west side
of town and built their own plant from the ground up. The
original building had a 70 foot frontage and extend 120-149
Building the new plant in 1958
After moving into the new plant Meade
Mfg. expanded rapidly. New additions were built in
1960, 1961, 1962 and 1966, until eventually the
frontage had doubled and the plant covered 67,000
square feet. A warehouse was built just north of the
main plant in 1962. It, too, expanded in 1965 and
again in 1966, until it covered 14,800 square feet.
In 1959, shortly after moving into their new plant,
Meade Mfg. brought out their first camper. It was
the first of what was to become a complete line of
camping equipment. They added the Travel-Inn
self-propelled motor home in 1960. The Lakeside
Travel Trailers were introduced three years later.
The company was incorporated in 1961, and
became Meade Manufacturing, Inc. Offers were
George A. Isaac, President; Clarence Isaac,
vice president and general manager; and
Agnes Isaac, secretary-treasurer.
Meade Distributing, Inc., a
sales company, was founded in 1961, to sell
the products manufactured at Meade. Officers
were Clarence Isaac, president; Earl Berner,
vice president and sales manger; and George
A. Isaac, secretary-treasurer. Their sales
area included Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas,
Colorado, New Mexico, Missouri, Nebraska,
Wyoming and Montana.
The company held a 20th Anniversary Open
House on Saturday, November 19, 1966. By
this time their number of employees had
grown to 100. The
20th Anniversary booklet gives a good
picture of the company at that time.
In 1971 the
business changed hands...
In an ad in the Meade Globe Press in
December, 1971: "THANK YOU for your support
and patronage these 26 years we have been
operating Meade Mfg., Inc. In a special way
we say thanks to our many loyal employees,
as together have attempted to manufacture
the best of products for our customers. We
will be managing the former California
Division of Meade Mfg., Inc. now know as
Meade Vacation Industries, located in
Dinuba, California. We wish to congratulate
the new investors, Ted Ronen, Bill Ronen,
Jim Ronen and Gerald Goodman and their
wives, of Meade Mfg., Inc. and wish them
continued success as they guide this fine
company to even larger and faster growth."
The ad was signed, George & Agnes Isaac and
Clarence & Edna Isaac.
The business continued into the early
1980's. In those days tractors started
coming out with cabs already on them....
camper manufacturers abounded and the
economy started to tank. It was a sad day
for the town of Meade when Meade Mfg.
closed... those 100 jobs were sorely missed.
The building still stands on the west end of
town... nowadays being used for several
different endeavors. If you want to guide
someone there you just say, "the old Meade
Mfg. building," and they know exactly where
George A. Isaac on his Meade Riding Mower.
Evelyn Isaac demonstrating the rotary mower.
|The County Historical Museum
at Meade has on display a "Buddy
Bike," another invention of George Isaac which was
manufactured at Meade Mfg.
List of Meade Mfg. employees - 1964