Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

stihl american

Fred Whyte

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book, “Stihl American.”

For twenty years Etta Whyte waited at home for her husband’s safe return. Al Whyte, a graduate of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police School, comparable to America’s advanced FBI training, served on Vancouver, British Columbia’s police force for over twenty years before joining Titan. Al was Titan’s sales engineer responsible for Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Since the new position was with an American company and working in America, Al, Etta, and their eight year old son moved a few miles south, across the Washington state line.

After gaining considerable… Continue reading

1st Stihl Salesman in America

Genealogy is always tedious and rarely interesting, especially when it deals with an unrelated family. We now know that genetics play a significant role in our health and behavior. It’s easy to recognize the effects of genetics in animals–retrievers naturally retrieve, beagles chases rabbits, and chihuahuas bark. The same natural tendencies occur in humans.

The Bryan’s have traced their genealogy all the way back to Sir Francis Bryan, who served as Governor General of Ireland 1549. The following reads like something out of the book of Numbers, but is representative of the journey of many American families. Francis was the… Continue reading

Stihl in America – Blog 10 – The First Flying Stihl Distributor

Virg with planeIt’s possible that Gordon Williams met the chainsaw legend of Hood River while visiting the Oregon chain plant during his days at Estate Equipment. If the two hadn’t met, Gordon most likely knew of the reputation of the owner of H&D Logger Supply, Virg Hatfield. Virg’s parents had migrated to Oregon from West Virginia. It’s possible they were trying to get as far from family as possible since during the time of the migration, the Hatfields and the McCoys were bent on killing each other—some say over a disputed pig, while others claim the feud was a remnant of the… Continue reading

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 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

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