Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

Stan Crader

The First Man of Stihl – Sort of

ErnieRoger Maris had recently broken Babe Ruth’s record, much to the dismay of most Yankee fans, they’d preferred that the record stand, and if it was to be broken, let Mantle be the one. Cassius Clay, after cruising to the Gold at the 1960 Olympics, was beginning the long-lasting spar with Howard Cosell, the Russians were building a missile base in Cuba, Bob Dylan was inspired to pen the lyrics to “The Times They are a Changin,’ and Stihl American needed someone focused on sales.

Years later, when a Stihl salesman walked through a dealer’s door, he’d often times be… Continue reading

Stihl American Blog 6 – The Serendipitous Intentional Misinterpretation

DOC051316-05132016113233-p1aill85p0q04h5612r31fb69dr - CopyThe Stihl D24 “Super-Lightening”, also known as the Contra, was a magnificent machine—light, fast and; relative to other brands, dependable—at least that’s how they’re remembered. Early Stihl owners, much like dogmatic Harley owners, are sometimes given to a memory that simultaneously exaggerates and diminishes facts. That is, the good is amplified marginally beyond reality and the bad is expunged.

Nearly all brands of saws of the Super-Lightening era had perpetual technical problems. Taking the saw to the log meant taking the saw to dirtier conditions, running the saws in all positions, and naturally, there was demand for more power—all of… Continue reading

Stihl in America – Blog 5 – Joe

Joe’s story is important for two reasons—Joe was an essential member of the foundational team of Stihl American, and Joe’s story is typical of the time. People worked hard, adapted, and made their own success. Joe’s story is significant but not necessarily unique. Most Americans are descendants of people who immigrated to America from another country. America is a filtered melting pot of people looking to build a better life for themselves and their family.

Joseph John Mlnarik was born 1896 in the small village of Zilina, state of Trencin, Slovakia. Joe’s family operated a small flour mill and had… Continue reading

Stihl in America – Blog 4 – Persistence

It was men such as Gordon Williams who inspired Norman Vincent Peale to pen “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Gordon, the positive thinker and quintessential relationship builder, immediately reached out to those with whom he was familiar from his days at Estate Equipment and certain to be interested in handling a fine line of precision crafted chainsaws–Stihls. He proudly informed them that he had officially been appointed Stihl’s agent for America. Al Tull, their mentor and silent business partner, provided the operation with temporary warehouse space and walked them through the filings necessary to import product from Germany. Al, near… Continue reading

Stihl in America – Blog 3

1958 – The Dodgers leave Brooklyn, America launches its first satellite, Elvis joins the Army, and two Jersey business partners board a plane at New York’s Idlewild International Airport bound for Germany. Millions were captivated by the first three events; few, other than family, noticed the latter. Gordon Williams and his life-long friend, Harding Smith, had high hopes, charisma, and a business plan. It would take all they had to offer in order to make the deal with Andreas Stihl, the father of the chainsaw.

Idlewild International Airport

Together, Gordon and Harding had more than hope, charisma, and a plan;… Continue reading

Stihl in America Blog 2

At possibly the same time that Andreas Stihl was making his trek across Canada, Gordon Williams was playing football at Ridgewood High in Ridgewood, NJ. His teammates included several who would eventually join him selling Stihl at Stihl America, but that would be nearly twenty years later. Much would occur between Gordon’s high school football days, Andreas’ tenacious trek across Canada, and Stihl America–the most significant being WWII.

Ridgewood High Football Team

Ridgewood High Football Team

In the meantime, Andreas’ many successful sales trips resulted in dramatic growth for A. Stihl Manufacturing in Stuttgart, Germany. Pictured is Andreas standing proudly with his team of… Continue reading

Stihl in America – Blog 1 “Genius, Compassion, Tenacity”

“Amazing,” is the typical response by many when told that Stihl has been recognized as the leading brand of outdoor handheld power tool for the 7th consecutive year. Once told the Stihl story, one quickly realizes that amazing doesn’t do Stihl justice. Amazing doesn’t appropriately describe Stihl’s pinnacle position–all things considered, Stihl is in a league of its own and has no true comparison.

Most, after having heard my biopic on Stihl, and knowing my penchant for writing, have repeatedly encouraged me to write a book about Stihl in America. I’m now doing so. Henceforth, my blogs will be… Continue reading

The Arcane Texas Fact of the Day:

On April 11, 1836, the two cannons known as “The Twin Sisters” were finally delivered to Sam Houston’s Army as it continued its movements across Texas toward San Jacinto and glory. The guns had been purchased by the people of Cincinnati, Ohio after those fine folks had donated the funds to purchase them in November, 1835. They were cast in Cincinnati, shipped to New Orleans, labeled “hollow ware” to avoid suspicion, then sent to Galveston. They were named “The Twin Sisters” after the twin daughters of Doctor Charles Rice. They played a key role at the Battle of San Jacinto… Continue reading

Electoral College—The Saving Grace of America

Grace is to do honor or favor to someone or something even though they’re undeserving. The Electoral College may be America’s saving grace.

Based on recent primary election results, not fickle polls, but actual results, America’s choice for President, from among a group of distinguished, qualified, and honorable candidates, is either a lady known for screeching speeches and lying or a man known for being sophomoric, raucous and rude. And it’s because those are apparently America’s most popular choices that I say America is undeserving.

I can’t explain why the lady is the choice of Democrats from among a vast… Continue reading

Electoral College

Bizarre is a fair description of both party’s Presidential primary. Each day something occurs that takes the carnival to a new level, and not necessarily a higher level. The media loves both Hillary and Donald. They love Hillary because she’s aligned with their values; they love Donald because he attracts viewers, which pays the bills. It’s my guess that 80% of Americans fear either being President. Hillary lies when the truth would do her good and Donald can’t make it through the day without insulting someone highly respected by all. And every caustic gesture causes each to increase the velocity… Continue reading

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