The History of Speedex

| April/May 2001

325 Plain Road, Hinsdale, New Hampshire 03451

I found the following piece on the Internet and thought some of you might be interested in seeing it, along with some photos of my 1939 Speedex Model B.

The Speedex Tractor Corporation was founded in 1935 by Harold Pond, who is considered the developer of the first four wheel riding garden tractor in America. Harold Pond was associated in the late 1920s with Stanley W. Shaw of the Shaw Mfg. Company in Galesburg, Kansas, who fabricated walk behind garden tractors and outdoor power equipment from reclaimed motorcycle and automobile parts. Harold Pond, Elmer Pond and Glen Heilman all worked for Shaw at one time. These three dispersed to Ohio and Indiana to form their own companies and develop their own tractors. Harold Pond developed the Speedex line of tractors in Ravenna, Ohio. Harold's brother Elmer and his son Cecil developed the Wheel Horse line of tractors in the South Bend, Indiana area. Harold's brother-in-law Glen Heilman developed the Garden-All line of tractors in Mishawaka, Indiana. Glen was married to Harold's wife's sister. These three, who grew up in Galesburg, Kansas, were responsible for many innovations in the lawn and garden tractor industry.

While Harold was working for Shaw he was assigned the territories of Ohio and Pennsylvania. During that time he developed the Speedex walk-behind tractor. In 1935 he founded Speedex Tractor Company and began making a riding tractor called the Model B Speedex. It had tiller steering, Briggs & Stratton Model ZZ air cooled engine, and the tractor utilized a Ford Model A transmission and a Ford model T rear axle which was narrowed to suit the tractor.

The Speedex Model B was the first riding four wheel garden tractor with an air cooled engine and pneumatic tires.

According to a letter from Mrs. Harold Pond: 'When Harold brought out his first riding tractor, the Speedex Model B, it outsold his walking model by far. He started a national advertising campaign on his new riding tractor and they sold like Carter sold liver pills. We were married in March 1939 and did not take our honeymoon until the slack season commenced.'