It started with a simple idea, born in the heartland of America. It was the latter part of the 19th century, and the industrial age had reached all the way to farmers’ fields in the middle of Iowa. With the need to harvest countless acres of wheat, farmers used steam-powered harvesters to accomplish the job in less time and with fewer laborers. But when these giant machines broke down, the farmer might have to wait days for even the simplest repairs.
One of the parts that had the most wear and tear on the harvesters was the chain belt drive. When one section of the belt wore out or broke, the entire chain had to be replaced or taken back to a metal shop for lengthy repair. One young entrepreneur in Belle Plaine, Iowa found an alternative.
William Dana Ewart, a farm implement dealer, proposed that a drive chain could be constructed of several detachable links. When wear and tear caused one piece or link to break, the defective section of the chain could easily be replaced right in the field, thus eliminating costly downtime for the farmers. Ewart called his new product the link belt, and so our brand name and reputation for providing solutions to real workplace problems was born.