Back in the Limelight: New Leader Showcases 1941 Lime Spreader at MAGIE

Before it adopted its current New Leader name in the early 2000s, Cedar Rapids, IA-based New Leader Manufacturing was better known to the world as Highway Equipment Co. – a reflection of the company’s activity in the highway equipment industry. To honor this heritage, New Leader featured a call-back to these early days at the 2023 Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE), held this past August in Bloomington, IL, with a product that tied to the company’s spreader box reputation.

At the company booth, visitors to the show were able to see an example of a 1941 Lime Spreader Unit. This wooden box was mounted on a Diamond T truck body and was used to apply lime to crop fields back in the 1940s and 1950s. According to Andi Riem, Executive Director of Shared Services for New Leader, this particular lime spreader was purchased by the company a few years back. However, to allow onlookers to appreciate its age, it wasn’t completely restored.


“The original tires were rotted, so we have to replace those to be able to display the spreader,” said Riem. “And I wanted visitors to be able to open the cab door, so that was fixed. But the rest of the spreader was left as it was found, rust patches and all!”

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Another fun fact about the 1941 Lime Spreader from New Leader – the spreader box was made of wood because most of the country’s steel in that year was being used in the then-fledgling war effort.