We published our first issue 20 years ago this month. To celebrate our cover story is on the history of GSE. I bet you didn’t know that we can trace the family tree back to 1705, but a member of the Goldhofer family started a forge not far from today’s corporate headquarters.
We’re also planning a special display at next month’s Aviation Pros LIVE, March 13-14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Plus, we’ll be joined by Capt. Chuck Maire, the chairman of the National Museum of Commercial Aviation, which is in the process of organizing a GSE history exhibit of its own.
Here are a few important dates in our history:
1883 – John Bean invents a continuous spray pump to battle bugs on his 10-acre almond orchard. Neighboring growers clamor for the new-fangled device and the Bean Spray Pump Co. is born.
1914 – The “aeroplane” is just starting to see military service at the start of World War I. Over the next four years, the planes graduate from reconnaissance missions to bombing runs. The Hucks starter, an auxiliary power unit that provides the initial start-up power to piston engines.
1918 – Pilots buzz rural America as “barnstorming” becomes popular entertainment. Farm tractors become the early towing vehicles for aviation.
1935 – E.P. “Ed” Grime starts the Malabar Machine Co. making items from customer drawings
1945-1959 – Commercial aviation starts to take off. By this time, a host of international GSE manufacturers begin building specialized equipment:
1967 – Lektro, which pioneered the electric golf cart, produces a small electric aircraft tug for an Oregon FBO using a chassis originally built for an eclectic cart for area mink ranchers.
1973 – TUG Manufacturing Corp. starts making its eponymous “tugs,” namely, the Model MA, which is still produced today.
1979 – Jim Watkins starts WASP, Inc. (Watkins Aircraft Support Products).
1981 – Vestergaard builds a new type of deicer, the Elephant Alpha, equipped with the now familiar telescopic spray boom.
1992 – George Prill publishes the first issue of GSE Today in February 1992.
2000 – Illinois Tool Works creates the ITW GSE Ground Services division, which brings together Hobart Ground Power, AXA Power, Trilectron Industries and Air-a-Plane and J&B Aviation.