Looking to the Future, Remembering the Past at New Leader

Looking to the Future, Remembering the Past at New Leader

Highway Equipment’s Matthew Rissi explains how one of New Leader’s first-ever units became a showpiece at the company’s new facility.

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In late March New Leader Manufacturing (formerly Highway Equipment Co.) entered into an agreement with DOT Technology Corp. to develop an autonomous dry spreader using the DOT Power Platform. This unit will be based upon New Leader’s NL5000 G5. At present, there is no timetable announced as to when this autonomous spreader might be released, but it should happen “in the near future.”

The original ad for the New Leader Self Unloading Farm Wagon Box, dating back to 60 years of service. Click to enlarge.

With its corporate eyes now squarely on the future, it might be a good time to remember one of the units that helped New Leader get its market start. Back in the 1940s one of the first products New Leader introduced to the agricultural market was its Self-Loading Farm Wagon Box. Made of wood, the unit could be used to transport products across farm fields. It sold for $350.

During the early 2000s New Leader was in the process of moving into its new Cedar Rapids, IA, facility when a grower approached the company with information about this “first” New Leader product. The one he owned had rarely been used and had spent the past six decades indoors, so it was in good shape. After some negotiations, New Leader purchased the Self-Loading Wagon and put it on display in the lobby of its corporate headquarters.

Over the intervening years, New Leader continued to expand its office footprint. So, eventually, the Self-Loading Wagon display was taken down. The unit itself was moved to a perch overlooking the production floor — where it remains to this day.

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