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Meade Manufacturing

(Based on a story in the Meade Globe-Press 11-19-1966)

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.

It 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 feet north. 


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 you mean.
 

 


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

 

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