TheHytrolStory_19 (1)

In 1955, Sam Leone didn’t feel that he had a strong future with Speedways. He went to work for Colson Caster Corporation in Elyria, Ohio, a small town near Cleveland. Colson at that time was owned by the Pritzker family. The ambitious plans of the owners of Colson was to acquire a complete line of material handling equipment which included conveying equipment. Sam was brought in to help set up the new conveyor division. At that time, Colson was making tentative arrangements with another small conveyor manufacturing firm, Farquar Conveyors, which was headquartered in Pennsylvania. Sam didn’t see any profit in dealing with Farquar because it wasn’t a very well known company and only had a small line of conveyors. Sam thought about Hytrol. He contacted Tom and arranged a meeting in Cleveland at the Hotel Statler. It was January, 1955, quite cold, and Sam decided to wear his long, black coat and grey, wide-brimmed Borslino hat. As they approached each other, Tom wondered if this gentleman might be related to the Mafia! Who could know that, as they shook hands that day, this would be the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship. As they talked that day, Sam explained to Tom his desire to market and sell Hytrol conveyors under the Colson name. Tom agreed and so began the Hytrol-Colson relationship which was to last for six years. Tom and Chuck began manufacturing conveyors for Colson, painting them a different color (blue) and, at the same time, supplying Hytrol’s own dealers in the different parts of the United States. Hytrol had about six dealers at that time. During these years when Hytrol sold to Colson, Sam and Tom would meet at different places; sometimes at the West Allis factory, sometimes while traveling and their trips would coincide. Always, as they sat and discussed the material handling industry or world affairs or family, they grew closer and developed a mutual trust that many find rare in today’s business world. Meanwhile, as Sam continued to travel and promote the Colson conveyor line, Tom and Chuck and their little factory kept struggling along. They had expanded somewhat from the seed and feed market, and Tom had designed several other “slider bed” type conveyors which were well- suited to assembly line operations and floor-to-floor, incline applications. George Heery in Chicago invited Tom to his firm to check out some competitor conveyor units. Tom took a few measurements and checked the design principles and declared, “We can make a better conveyor 6 “ d p a s ”