Blog # 23

Time seemed to fly by during the years we built the transaxle drive vehicles. During this era, we were still selling our attachable electric kits for bikes and trikes. If that wasn’t enough, the guys designed a yardkart for the farmers who were suppose to be retired but just couldn’t stop farming even if their homestead is now a couple acres. They are the folks who live for the joy of, “tickle the earth with a hoe and she laughs with harvest”
The Yardkart has wider wheels on the rear, so it has more traction for pushing vehicle. The guys left the regular Moped wheel on front end as it makes it easier to steer. The vehicle is designed to run on softer surfaces and carry things on the platform behind the seat.
We also began selling pedal tricycles at this time. Seems they are not an available item in many parts of the country. Also, some people who preferred to use pedal or power on a trike wanted the whole “kit n kaboodle” in one delivery.
Of course it didn’t end there. Now we have a three wheel trike for people who like to ride outdoors but don’t have the balance they once did. What else could you want?
Lots, we learned. Interested people, unable to use their legs, said, ” Without much effort, you could rearrange the foot pedals to hand pedals.” I was opposed to this expansion. My thoughts were as a small company we just can’t have a smorgasbord of products to offer. Too many items to stock, too many parts to inventory, too much space to rent. Our brochure would look like a mini Sears catalog.
I thought we learned our lesson when we had three times the employees, sent a lot of the income out to another source of supplies, worked harder and didn’t make that much more money, just processed it. They rolled right over my list of negatives with, first an adult Handcycle, and then, had to have one for the kids.
As the project progressed. I heard, “Let’s build a trailer for our vehicles.” “Oh yes”, said the other engineer, “A folding one!”
Forgive me but, I’m getting too agitated to write more at this time

Blog #22

Whooee, do we have snow now. All spare moments spent shoveling to get in or out. As I shovel, memories swirl around like snow flakes inside my head. My brother and I on our single Flexible flyer sledding together down the long embankment behind our house. The kids and JP on our toboggan tumbling down Farmer’s Hill. Glorious use of snow,….. packing memories.

The Independence and the Twosome vehicles required many new parts to stock. We had to find a bigger place. We’d been renting a garage near IBM for manufacturing and were running out of space. It took quite a while as prices were exorbitant for a small company.
Endicott was noted for two things. The first was a shoe factory called, Endicott Johnson, named after the two men who formed the company. Our village became Endicott. The business grew in size over the years and provided most of the soldiers’ footwear during WWII. The old International Time Recorder Co. of Endicott was dubbed IBM in the 1920’s and became a familiar name all over the world for computers. E J was slowing down when we moved here, IBM was thriving. The computer company had many buildings and huge parking lots. We noticed they were quite empty on weekends so we took our new prototypes over and ran up and down their beautifully paved parking lots. Unhampered by traffic, we cruised many miles around IBM.
When a local reporter heard of our upstart company, he came out to interview us. Just the week before, one of IBM’s security guards ran out and told us to get the Hello out of their roads and parking lots. I thought the reporter was very creative when he wrote in his newspaper article, ” Small company running circles around IBM.” We understood the business reasoning behind IBM’s request for us to leave.
My point of this reference is to show the large company’s presence kept warehouse and real estate properties very high with so many small businesses serving the local giant, Big Blue as we all called it. We finally found some affordable space in a building and temporarily rented enough room for all our inventory and a place to build our products. Many things were changing at this time.
There was a subtle change in purchasers when we went to a transaxle drive. Took us a while to notice why. Because the vehicle had five gears forward and a reverse, it now had a shift lever. Yowee, many women remember learning to drive the older cars with a shift lever. Our vehicles were not like that. We think the women remembered the crucial – push in clutch pedal with left foot, grab shift lever with right hand, find and shift into first gear, let clutch pedal out slowly with left foot as you give it a little gas with right foot, while keeping you eyes on road and left hand on steering wheel. Now, do it again to get into second gear and so forth up to speed. It’s a wonder we learned to drive at all.
Our Palmer vehicles had no clutch to physically deal with. Just push lever down, once for first, again for second and again until you found speed you liked. For reverse, just pull all the way up. It was very easy, and one never had to use legs or feet. However, memory ruled with some females and our sales to the fairer gender slowed a bit.
Note: We guessed right. They picked up a few years later with elimination of shifter. Bless automation.
Way past my word limit for this Blog.