Co-founder / Woods Equipment Company / 1913 - 2000 / Inducted 2012
Keith, Leonard and Mervel Wood were problem solvers, risk takers and entrepreneurs who used these skills to fuel their drive for inventing and manufacturing. As pioneers in the development of rotary cutters and mowers, the Wood brothers helped create a prevalent product category for the short line industry.
One invention that dramatically affected the agricultural industry is the company's iconic Batwing® rotary cutter, known generically as the flex-wing rotary cutter, first shipped in 1963. Other key inventions include the patented single V-belt drive system, used on virtually all residential and commercial mowers in use today, and the single attachment pin blade retention system, a design still used on most Woods cutters today. The brothers sought to adapt their equipment to all types, sizes and models of tractors, including two adaptors that were predecessors of today's standard 3-point hitch.
In the 1970s, the Wood brothers elevated product support to a new level, ensuring sales and service were available across the country in the days before overnight delivery.
Starting the company after World War II in Oregon, Illinois, the Wood brothers contributed greatly to job creation and development of skilled labor in the region, training thousands as welders, machinists, metal fabricators, painters, engineers and office personnel. Sustainability for the brothers was always about doing right, for example, metal scrap recycling (not widespread in the '40s and '50s).