Ditch Witch inventor and industry developer Gus Edwin “Ed” George Malzahn died Friday. He was 94.
The first commercial Ditch Witch product was introduced in 1949. It was the first mechanized, compact, service-line trencher developed for laying underground water lines between the street main and the house. The Ditch Witch trencher solved an age-old problem for the utility contractors of its day.
With the growing popularity of the Malzahns’ trencher, Charlie’s Machine Shop became The Charles Machine Works, Inc., which still maintains its headquarters in Perry, Oklahoma, a town of about 5,000 residents in the north-central part of the state. In addition to trenchers, the company today designs and manufactures a wide variety of underground construction equipment bearing the Ditch Witch name.
Tiffany Sewell-Howard, Ed Malzahn’s granddaughter, became CEO of The Charles Machine Works, Inc., in 2005. Now in his 90s, founder Ed Malzahn still serves as company president and chairman of the board.
The Perry, Oklahoma, headquarters of the Ditch Witch organization is on an expansive campus that contains the company’s 30-acre (120,000 m2) manufacturing plant and training, testing, research and product development facilities. Ditch Witch worldwide headquarters employs more than 1300 people.
The Ditch Witch compact trencher has twice been named “one of the 100 best American-made products in the world” by Fortune magazine. In 2002, the DWP was designated a historical mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Malzahn is survived by his three children, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
The Oaklahoman http://newsok.com/article/5466810
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