As a company, we believe that our history and that of the manufacturers we sell is important to the future of our collective businesses. Below, you will find the history of both Kreider Machine Shop, Inc. and Kreider Four Seasons Equipment, Inc. overlaid within the histories of the manufacturers that we represent. Overtime, we will continue to work on this timeline to make it as detailed as possible. Enjoy!
1916 – Benjamin Franklin Gravely receives his first patent for a motor plow, a single-wheeled walk-behind cultivator.
1922 – The Gravely Motor Plow & Cultivator Company was formed in Dunbar, West Virginia. This factory was used until 1968 when operations were moved to North Carolina.
1933 – Henry Ariens builds his first walk-behind rototiller; the Ariens Company is born in Brillion, Wisconsin. The model A tiller becomes the first of its kind manufactured in the United States.
1960 - In this year the Gravely Tractor Inc. was sold to Studebaker Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, for $12.6 million. Studebaker continued to run Gravely even after it ceased automobile manufacturing in 1964-65 and changed the business’ name to Gravely Corporation in 1968.
1960 – Ariens sold its first snow blower. By 2018, over 4 million Ariens snowblowers had been built and sold worldwide.
1962 - John Kreider moves to Harrisonburg, Virginia and buys Harry Kuhns Service Center on Mt Clinton Pike, located behind what is currently the BP gas station at the intersection with Chicago Ave. The original sheet-metal building is still standing. Also in this year, Glenn Steiner, the eldest Steiner brother from a farming family in Orville, Ohio, comes to Eastern Mennonite College. One evening in the fall of 1962 Glenn was helping friend Calvin Miller change the head gasket on his car. They walked over to Kreider Machine Shop to borrow a torque wrench and found John Kreider working inside a tank truck. By the next day, Glenn was working inside that same truck.
1964-68 - Glenn builds the first two compact, articulating tractors while attending Eastern Mennonite College. The first was Oliver green and was built in the 1964-1966 time frame. It was powered by a Wisconsin engine and had two Ford Falcon rear ends turned upside down. The second was International red (also with a Wisconsin) and was built in the 1966-1968 time frame while Glenn was teaching 4th-5th grade at Singers Glen Elementary School. These two tractors were not hydro-static, but were mechanical drive.
1969 – The Grasshopper Company begins building zero-turn mowers in Moundridge, Kansas. They were the second company to enter this market, after Excel/Hustler zero-turn mowers got their start in 1964.
1970 – Kreider Machine Shop, Inc. moves to their current location on Mt Clinton Pike outside the City limits. Also in this year Glenn begins working for Emglo Products Corporation air compressors in Johnstown PA, where he was able to get some leftover blue paint to finish the first tractors that were hydraulic drive. At this time, each of the Steiner brothers wanted one. The first three of this batch were Emglo blue. Design and assembly of these first few started in 1973.
1974 – The Steiner family begins the Steiner Tractor Corporation in Orville, Ohio on July 4th. The engine chosen was a Kohler K341S 16hp single-cylinder gas engine. This was later changed to a Briggs & Stratton 16hp twin cylinder gas engine. Tractors were called the S-16 TractionMaster.
1975 - In this year, the fourth hydraulic-drive tractor was painted red. This would become Steiner’s main color to this day. Three more red tractors were built in this first generation, totaling seven hydraulic drive tractors or one for each brother.
1976 - Kreider Machine Shops, Inc. makes their first sale of a Steiner tractor, beginning a legacy that continues to this day. The engine was changed to a Briggs & Stratton 18hp in 1980, with the model becoming the S-18.
1982 - Steiner begins using the Onan 20hp opposing-twin air-cooled gas engine in their tractors. The model number for these machines is the S-20. Steiner used the Onan until 2002 when the engine was no longer produced.
1982 – The Ariens Company purchases the Gravely Corporation. Take a look at some of the logos they used over the years!
1986 – The second generation of the Steiner S-20 tractor is released. The largest change is that the controls are no longer exposed. This styling lasted all the way through the Steiner 430.
1988 – The Steiner family sells Steiner Turf Equipment Inc. to Ransomes PLC of Ipswich, England in January of this year. Tractors and attachments painted green are destined for Ransomes dealers. Model numbers are changed from being preceded with an "S" to a "4", the S-20 becomes the 420.
1996 – Venture Products, Inc. is formed by three of the Steiner brothers in Ohio. They release the 2320, a tractor designed to be operated by handicapped persons.
1998 – Textron Inc. purchases Ransomes in January of this year, further building their portfolio of lawn care equipment after purchasing Jacobsen in June of 1978. Tractors and attachments painted orange are destined for Jacobsen dealers.
1998 – Venture Products released the Ventrac 4000 Series tractor which became a true competitor to Steiner. This tractor could be purchased with either a Kubota gas or Mitsubishi diesel engine. The Mitsubishi was soon dropped in favor or a Dihatsu option.
1999 – The Ventrac 3000 Series was introduced after encouragement from a Ventrac dealer in Sweden. They requested a smaller tractor with the operator seated on the front half for European markets. Over the years, this tractor and its successors not only found great success in Europe, but also in North America in tree farms, sidewalk snow removal, and home-owner markets. Production stopped in early 2019 due to their axle manufacturer pulling the model used on this tractor from production.
2002 – Ventrac releases the 4100 air cooled and 4200 liquid cooled models as a replacement to the 4000. The 4231TD powered by a Dihatsu 31hp Turbo Diesel quickly becomes a popular option for municipalities and contractors.
2003 – Kreider Machine Shop, Inc. adds Gravely to their lineup.
2005 – Kreider Machine Shop, Inc. adds Ventrac to their lineup.
2006 – Textron sells Steiner in August of this year to Commercial Grounds Care Inc of Southampton, Pennsylvania.
2007 – Kreider Four Seasons Equipment, Inc. of Harrisonburg, Virginia opens its doors on Route 42, just on the north end of town.
2009 – Commercial Grounds Care and Schiller merge, placing Steiner under the Schiller title.
2011 – Kreider Four Seasons Equipment, Inc. adds Grasshopper to their lineup.
2008 - RedMax hand-held power equipment is added to the lineup at Kreider Four Seasons Equipment, Inc.
2009 - Kreider Four Seasons Equipment, Inc began selling Mantis 2 & 4 cycle tillers.
2010 - Kreider Four Seasons Equipment, Inc began selling Ariens Snowblowers.
2019 – Schiller sells Steiner to Doosan Bobcat of South Korea in December of this year.
2019- EGO battery-electric equipment is added to the lineup at Kreiders Four Seasons Equipment, Inc.
2020 – Venture Products is dissolved, and Ventrac is sold to The Toro Company in January. The Steiner family continues to operate Tilmor, their small agricultural tractor that was started in 2017. In April of this year, Kreider Four Seasons Equipment, Inc. sold the first electric, lithium-ion battery-powered zero-turn mower, a Greenworks model, to a customer in Charlottesville.
2021 - Mean Green battery-electric zero-turn mowers are added to the lineup at Kreider Four Seasons Equipment, Inc.