THE Master Craft Industrial Equipment STORY
In 1952, our founder, Mr. John Haswell, was an employee for a large tool and die manufacturer in Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Haswell had dreams of owning his own tool and die company, and eventually, a metal stamping plant. An opportunity arose, and Haswell took advantage of it. His company was so busy that they were turning down jobs, so Mr. Haswell immediately bought a mill and saw to exploit this opportunity.
In his basement during both nights and weekends, Haswell built dies for metal stamping companies in the greater Detroit area. Well, it wasn't long before this enterprise grew out of his basement and into his garage, and continued to grow and prosper.
Needless to say, the rest is history.
Within ten years, business grew so fast that Mr. Haswell moved from that garage to buildings of ever-increasing size until his company was moved to a manufacturing facility that employed over 200 employees. Equipment size and power also increased dramatically. Haswell’s company grew from just one press to over 100; during that same period, capacity was augmented from 10 to over 3,000 tons, and Mr. Haswell received hundreds of jobs for an ever-expanding client list that included Fortune 500 customers such as Ford, GM, and Chrysler. This burgeoning enterprise produced millions of metal stampings, automobile pulleys and numerous assembly components for automobiles and trucks, as well as industrial and farm tractors. By the 1970s, Mr. Haswell’s business also expanded into system manufacture and assembly- Master Craft was given a Ford tractor company contract, which included building parts for and assembling 100 truck-mounted backhoes.
The truck-mounted backhoe systems were such a success, Mr. Haswell decided to try another idea to exploit a unique product niche: the rough terrain forklift. Haswell recalls that he assembled a team of engineers and production planners in order to develop the new products, and after several months of research and development, the new products were rolled out. The planning, strategy, and hard work involved in the process didn’t take long to pay off- at Master Craft’s initial presentation of the new Ford-powered forklift at the 1976 Material Handling Show in Chicago, the new product was hailed as the first rough terrain forklift that didn’t look or work like a tractor.
Initially, Master Craft's model ranges were from 4,000-8,000 lb lifts. The only power train offered at that time was housed in the Ford 445, 545 and 655 skids. Masts and steer axles were purchased items, not manufactured in-house.
By 1975, Master Craft moved to Tifton, Georgia in order to fully exploit the cost of living, labor costs, as well as Georgia’s reputation as a right to work state. Furthermore, the move would take advantage of the new technology required for both machine construction and features.
As 1976 arrived, orders for the new system began to pour into Master Craft. We developed a marketing approach of building a strong dealership network in order to gain a respectable share of the market.
Today, Master Craft forklifts are used in over fifty different industry segments, and have been sold and used in at least 3 continents worldwide. Out of 20 rough terrain forklift manufacturers in the US, Master Craft is a top 5 manufacturer with 11% market share, and is one of the oldest and most reputable rough terrain forklift manufacturers in North America. Master Craft still continues to be a family owned company, as we have been from our inception. We feel strongly that our continuing pursuit of the combination of reputation, personal relationships with our dealers, and high-quality equipment have been useful to us - both in the past and in our future. Finally, as always, our lifts have been and will be built by generations to last for generations. Master Craft - while others build rough terrain forklifts, we are rough terrain forklifts.