Load King, a Custom Truck One Source Company, recently celebrated its 65th anniversary. It’s a notable feat in any economy, but it’s especially impressive to look back on all the storms this company has weathered. Load King has been producing first-class trailers and other heavy equipment since the 1950s. Cutting-edge innovation and engineering excellence have long made the company a market leader.
The Birth of Load King Trailers
Oscar Duane Hansen Jr. founded the company in 1956 in Elk Point, South Dakota – where the company still operates today. Now 65 years later, Load King maintains the reputation for integrity, innovation, and heavy-duty superiorly crafted product.
During the 1960s, Load King introduced the first folding goose-neck trailers in the Load King line. Immediate customer approval of this design resulted in expansion. In 1962, a new concept design was developed using T-1 Steel and placing the trailer’s frame on the trailer’s outside or perimeter. It was a radical departure at the time and was a huge success. Billed as the “world’s longest trailer,” Load King also received national publicity for the particular unit used for moving missile silos.
In April 1966, a Minneapolis firm lead by Mitchell and Michael Sill bought the company. Then in March of 1969, Load King became a wholly-owned subsidiary of CMI Corporation, a giant in the reconstruction industry.
Growth & Development
The years from 1970 to 1974 proved to be stable growth years for Load King. Their marketing system was strengthened, and employment steadily increased from 40 employees in 1970 to approximately 100 employees in 1974. In 1975, drastic changes due to 750 403 LF trailers for the U.S. ARMY triggered unprecedented expansion for the company, including the expansion of the Load King Plant, which tripled the facility size to provide 72,000 square feet of production space.
The combination of military and commercial businesses increased Load King Sales throughout the 1970s. This included additional contracts with the Navy and Marines. Personnel more than doubled in 1975 to accommodate the growth.
Completion of military contracts, coupled with poor economic conditions, brought a drop in sales in early 1977. Increased effort to expand in international markets and a concentrated push for commercial sales through established and new distributor organizations brought a surge of business in late 1977 through 1978. Late 1978 saw continued expansion with an engineering office and an international manager to help growth internationally.
What happens next? Stay tuned to learn more about the history and present day activities of Load King!