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Edwin Malzahn

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Edwin Malzahn is the majority owner, as well as the former president and CEO, of the Charles Machine Works, known more commonly as Ditch Witch. Malzahn, a registered professional engineer,[1] is credited with having pioneered the compact trencher industry with his invention of the Ditch Witch, the first mechanized, compact service-line trencher.[2]

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] The Early Years

The young Edwin Malzahn began his career in Perry, Oklahoma helping his father Charles in his machine shop. After high school, he attended Oklahoma State University, graduating in 1943 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduating, Malzahn returned to Perry to rejoin his father.

[edit] A New Design Idea

While one day watching several plumbers’ assistants use picks and shovels to dig a 50-foot (15-m) water line trench, Malzahn began to conceptualize a new, simplified trench-digging system.[3] At the time, large trenching machines were available, but they were not suitable for digging small trenches between houses. Malzahn soon began to work with his father to design the new machine. Their work culminated in a self-propelled, ladder-type ditcher. This trencher comprised a vertical row of buckets with teeth to gouge dirt at the end of a conveyor chain. The dirt was then deposited in piles along the trench. Additionally, the machine included a planetary gearbox that enabled it to power the digger while simultaneously propelling itself. The first production model of the DWP (Ditch Witch Power) service-line trencher was introduced in 1949,[4] when Malzahn was only 28.[5] By 1951, the Ditch Witch accounted for 10 percent of the company’s sales.[6] The Ditch Witch trencher forged the way for the compact trencher industry—today, the market includes the water, sewer, gas lines, and telecommunications.[7]

[edit] Recognition of Malzahn’s Accomplishments

Throughout his career, Malzahn has obtained several patents for product designs, including vibratory plowing products and trenchless technology.[8] He sold many of his design ideas to other companies in favor of focusing on the Ditch Witch business.[9] For all of his developments and achievements, he has been widely recognized. In addition to his induction into the Oklahoma State University Engineering Hall of Fame and the Construction Equipment Hall of Fame, Malzahn has received awards such as the Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award, the Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers “Wonders of Engineering” Award, and the Outstanding Engineer in Management Award from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers.

[edit] References

  1. Edwin Malzahn. Cool Stuff and the Incredible Feats of Construction, 2008-09-25.
  2. Ditch Witch Organization Characterized by Family, Fortune, and Fame-In That Order. Ditch Witch, 2008-09-25.
  3. History of The Charles Machine Works, Inc.. ReferenceForBusiness.com, 2008-09-25.
  4. History of The Charles Machine Works, Inc.. ReferenceForBusiness.com, 2008-09-25.
  5. Ditch Witch Organization Characterized by Family, Fortune, and Fame-In That Order. Ditch Witch, 2008-09-25.
  6. History of The Charles Machine Works, Inc.. ReferenceForBusiness.com, 2008-09-25.
  7. Ditch Witch Organization Characterized by Family, Fortune, and Fame-In That Order. Ditch Witch, 2008-09-25.
  8. Edwin Malzahn. Cool Stuff and the Incredible Feats of Construction, 2008-09-25.
  9. History of The Charles Machine Works, Inc.. ReferenceForBusiness.com, 2008-09-25.