Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

STIHL American Sales Sheet

The following is the sales sheet for the upcoming book STIHL American.


The Author

Being present when the first Stihls arrived at Crader Distributing in 1959, attending his first Stihl Distributor meeting in 1966, and having had the privilege and opportunity to first observe and then participate in Stihl’s American success, and having published three novels, Stan Crader is uniquely qualified to write the story of Stihl’s reintroduction into the American market.

Stan came of age in rural Missouri in the heart of hard wood country. For years the harvested oaks have provided the staves for the world’s best wineries and distilleries, the walnut trees have provided lumber for the world’s finest furniture, and the trees are harvested using a Stihl.

Stihl American profiles the individuals who pioneered Stihl’s reintroduction in North America. STIHL has been the leading brand of outdoor handheld power tool for several years. STIHL users brag about their STIHL and many own several STIHLs. STIHL now has over a million highly satisfied customers and many of them will be interested in the brand’s early days. Stihl American will satisfy that curiosity.

The book is being published by Wheatmark, will be available in paperback and ebook, and scheduled to be available December 1, 2017.

Previously published works by Stan include the Colby series—The Bridge, Paperboy, and The Longest Year. These books, dealing with rural America of the 1960s, are available in paperback, ebook, and audible.

Back Cover Description

It all started when Andreas Stihl, a Swiss born German, saw the need to make work easier. Stihl American profiles an eclectic group of pioneers who laid the foundation for the building of the Stihl brand. Participants include a descendant of Daniel Boone’s sister who first sold Stihl saws in America during the 1930s. A Jersey boy who after fighting his way across France and Germany and at WWII’s conclusion was near the spot where the chainsaw was invented. Twenty years later he returned to the same area, met the man who invented the chainsaw and secured a one page contract giving his company the rights for selling Stihl in North America. Stihl’s first flying distributor introduced Stihl to the world’s largest lumber companies using a small plane to cover America’s Pacific Northwest. A young boy, orphaned during the Osage Reign of Terror, grew to be an Osage Indian Chief and introduced Stihl to loggers in the Rockies. A rambunctious Missourian, after a stint with the OSS flew B17 bombers during WWII before returning to Missouri to assist ‘her’ husband to establish Stihl in the high plains. After losing an eye during the apprehension of a mass murderer, an Arkansas lawyer partnered with a timber buyer and introduced Stihl in America’s southwest. Fifty years later, he’s still selling Stihl. A lefty from Ohio, scouted by baseball’s legendary Eddy Stanky, chose to introduce Stihl to New England rather than play professional baseball. The husband of a former Miss New Hampshire, with the entire United States as his sales territory, became the first Man of Stihl in America. Known as the Whiz Kid, a young German traversed America demonstrating Stihl’s technical superiority. After placing an order for one saw, then forty, a piano player from a tiny town in Missouri eventually becomes Stihl’s largest independent distributor selling over 500,000 units per year. Bagpipes take a Canadian born Scotsman to Iowa; happenstance takes him to a lower-level position at Stihl, eventually becoming President, where he leads the company to decades of record setting sales years.


Artists begin with a blank canvas and fill it with color to form an image. Artists create mosaics that they feel must be visually expressed.

Engineers see a need and their mind begins to design a remedy for fulfilling that need in a more efficient manner.

Authors begin with a blank sheet of paper. They fill the pages with prose that reveal a story that until told remains trapped inside.

All three have an insatiable urge to create something that will endure.

An Artist’s only limitation is their imagination and their God given talent for expression. An engineer’s limitation is their God given intellect and skill for deductive reasoning, usually augmented by education. An author’s story, telling of an actual historical event, is limited on many fronts–memory, points of view, and available historical documents, just to name a few.

My goal with Stihl American is to respectfully profile a sampling of those responsible for STIHL’s reintroduction to North America—but first, a confession. I was not able to find sufficient background on several significant players. At best, the work is incomplete, and at worst, the book falls miserably short of honoring all responsible for laying the foundation upon which so much success has been achieved. The information presented is based on my firsthand observations, stories told to me during recent interviews with others who also witnessed the reintroduction, magazine articles from the period represented, and the great work by Waldemar Schafer Stihl-From an Idea to a World Brand.

It is my deepest desire that the following profiles are sufficiently representative to give the readers a good sense of the nature and tenacity of the real people who carved the path of success on the long and arduous journey that culminated in STIHL’s manufacturing presence and market preeminence in America.

I have used my best judgement to tell the story with the essential facts intact.

This is my story. It is my memory and told from the heart.


“Crader’s knack for keeping the story purely about real people, STIHL people, while detailing the business journey, including failures and heartwarming successes, made possible through hard work, grit, and risk, combined with American ingenuity and German engineering, is amazing. Having lived the experience along with most of the characters featured, I found the story a refreshing reminder of the hard work that laid the foundation for STIHL’s American success.”

—Rainer Glockle, Retired after forty-three active years with STIHL

“This is an insightful and informative story of the foundation and early beginnings of STIHL in the United States. Stan has done an admirable job of explaining the unique business approach to the market, the entrepreneurs and characters who ultimately and sometimes unwittingly implemented the long term cultural success that was eventually spawned. All of this is accomplished with some personal historical insights and timely humor.”

—Fred J. Whyte, Chairman of the Board, STIHL Incorporated Virginia Beach, VA


“Stan Crader’s easy-reading book lays out the untold story of a number of independent small businessmen and entrepreneurs, whose hard work, honorable business dealings and creative and positive thinking established a unique, cohesive and highly successful national distribution system.  Such was the basis for the successful, post-World War II reintroduction of the Stihl chainsaw to the United States.  I look forward to a hoped-for sequel.”

— John Williams, President of STIHL American, Inc. (1974-1975),

Son of STIHL American founder Gordon Williams

“There were a number of wonderful characters, some good businessmen, and a few strange ducks in the flock of distributors Gordon Williams had gathered together at STIHL American in the 1960s. Stan’s own recollections of those days, coupled with his interviews with many of those early players, are a colorful snapshot of the beginnings of STIHL’s successful expansion into America.”

—Dorsey Glover, Founder STIHL Southwest


Fred Whyte was highly respected by all who knew him, particularly members of the STIHL team. As the longest serving president of STIHL Incorporated, Fred was instrumental in STIHL’s climb to market dominance in America. Fred honored the work with a review, which graces the cover of the book. In honor of Fred, all net proceeds of the sales of Stihl American for the first year will be contributed to an educational endowment established in Fred’s name at Old Dominion University. Fred’s legacy, as well as that of STIHL’s, will endure.



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