|History of the Hedlund Manufacturing Company
|Below is an article that was printed in 1956, the 100th
Anniversary of the establishment of the City of Nokomis
In July, 1948, Swan Hedlund met Ed Ruppert and Ray McCurdy at a reunion at a lake in Augusta, Wisconsin, and during
the course of conversation Mr. Hedlund expressed a desire to go into business and stated that he was interested in
establishing a wood-working plant, having had a number of years experience in this line of work in Minnesota. The
Nokomisans advised that Nokomis was looking for a new industry and hoped that the town might be considered for a
The following day Mr. Hedlund and Mr. Glenn L. Reed started driving south through Illinois and had tentatively thought
they might find a location in the southern part of the state near Cairo. However, they investigated all possibilities along the
route and actually did not get all the way down to southern Illinois. They had almost decided on locating in Litchfield when
Mr. Ruppert and Mr. McCurdy persuaded them to come to Nokomis as the people were anxious to get industry in the
locality. Mr. Kenneth Moss was contacted and a meeting of the businessmen was called. An agreement was entered into
at that time whereby Nokomis New Industries would furnish a building for the plant, shares of stock being sold by
Nokomis New Industries to finance the project.
Upon completion in late 1948, the building was sold to the Hedlund Manufacturing Company who opened for business in
January, 1949, with eight plant employees and one office employee. Principal items manufactured at that time were
toboggans and snow skis. Late in that year the manufacture of water skis was started on a small scale but during the past
few years the popularity of water skiing has advanced so rapidly that water skis have now become the main item
The early years were a struggle for this new industry and during the first two years it operated at a loss. With determination
and hard work of the officers of the company and full cooperation of the employees, the plant has now grown to the extent
that, with each passing year, production and sales have practically doubled. The Hedlund Manufacturing Company
supplies its products to every state in the United States and exports to many foreign countries. Inquiries regarding these
water skis have been received from various parts of the world and shipments have been recently made to Singapore, Dutch
Indies, Tahiti, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, England and Sweden. Approximately 90% of the water skis used by
champions and in competition in tournaments are furnished by this company. It has become the largest water ski
manufacturer in the nation, and the name of Nokomis is known far and wide as the home of the Hydro-Flite water skis.
The plant was originally started with 10,000 sq. ft. of floor space; facilities have been expanded extensively during the past
years so that at the present time another addition is being made to the plant which, when completed, will give
approximately 30,000 sq. ft. of space in all. Five years ago the manufacture of water skis averaged about 1500 pairs for
the year, three years ago 10,000 pairs, and this year it is estimated that production will be well over 40,000 pairs besides
all other accessories and in addition to the other lines manufactured. Employees have increased from the original eight to
seventy and office personnel from one to seven.
In 1953 a sled manufacturing business was purchased and added to plant operations. At the present time Hedlund
Manufacturing Company manufactures water skis, toboggans, snow skis, sleds and hockey sticks.
The Hedlund Manufacturing Company is grateful to the people of Nokomis for their support and proud to have been a part
of the town's progress.
|Research is being done to gather the
happenings of the factory between the
years of 1956 - 1970. If you have any
information about the factory between
those years or have any old pictures of the
factory, please contact me!
|The former Hedlund Manufacturing Company
is FOR SALE! Click here to check out the