What started 50 years ago in a small welding shop in Ladora, Iowa, has grown into a half-century of innovation, as Kinze Manufacturing celebrates how the company has grown into a recognized technology leader and innovator of planters for row-crop production and grain auger carts.
Kinze Manufacturing recognized its milestone anniversary with an open-to-the-public exhibit of [founder] Jon Kinzenbaw’s collection of vintage farm equipment. A selection of the historic equipment is on display in front of the Kinze Innovation Center and will remain in place for a majority of the summer.
History of Innovation
With only $25 in his pocket and a small bank loan, Kinzenbaw opened his own welding shop in Ladora, Iowa in 1965. Everyone who knew him could see that he had a gift for fixing things, but no one could have predicted his welding business would one day grow into one of the largest privately held agricultural equipment manufacturers in North America.
The first product Kinzenbaw manufactured and sold was a 13-knife, 30-foot anhydrous ammonia application toolbar. His first patent was for a high-clearance, variable-width moldboard plow. In 1971, Kinze introduced their first 435-bushel two-wheel grain auger cart. This design set a new higher standard for speed and performance in grain handling. In 1975, it was the urging of local farmers, who wondered why a planter couldn’t be “folded up” that inspired Kinzenbaw to develop the first rear-fold planter. “There is nothing more powerful than a satisfied customer. That first rear-fold planter we built sold 20 more. Those next 20 sold an additional 80. And that’s the way it happens,” said Kinzenbaw.
As the business grew, Kinze Kinze moved in 1976 to its current location in Williamsburg, Iowa, where the company has continued to be a leader with a number of industry “firsts,” including manufacturing the world’s first commercially available electric drive, multi-hybrid planter.