About Us at Elston Manufacturing, Inc.
In 1925, Rue R. Elston, the founder of the Elston Company, and his wife, Clara, and son, Wendell, moved to Sioux Falls, SD from Spencer, Iowa. Rue found employment with the Manchester Biscuit Company. The next year his son Jack was born. In 1927 Rue, wife Clara, and two sons, Wendell and Jack moved to Minneapolis, MN where Rue found work as a bus driver for Twin City Motor Bus.
One snowy night, Rue saw a young man get hit by a car while spreading sand with a shovel at a bus stop. The man lost his leg in the accident. After seeing this accident, Rue thought a unit could be manufactured to mount in front of the drive wheels of a bus and be electrically controlled by the driver. Such a unit could help eliminate this type of accident by spreading sand in front of the drive wheels of the bus. After extensive testing and engineering, the first units were installed on Greyhound buses.
In 1938 a corporation was formed to manufacture the Elston Electric Traction Sander. Today Elston Sanders are used on city buses such as those in Seattle, Washington and are mandatory on school buses in many northern states. They are also used on fire trucks and a special design for railroad trains.
In 1952 Rue, and his son Jack, engineered and designed the Elston Cargo Space Heater, a unit that controls the inside temperature of semi-trailers that transport products that can not be frozen. Through the years several models have been designed. These units are sold in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe.
In 1960, we were approached by the Fish and Wildlife Service to manufacture a machine to control pocket gophers.
It was during this time that Rues other son, Wendell, became involved in the company. They designed a machine, the Elston Gopher Getter that forms a tunnel 7 to 12 inches underneath the ground. These runways are spaced twenty feet apart, which a pocket gopher intercepts. The machine is used by farmers in their fields, on golf courses and by many airports west of Chicago to eliminate lights going out on the runways caused by gophers eating the insulation off of the electrical wires.
Since 1960 we have designed a hand held manual Gopher Getter Jr. for individuals to use in their yards and gardens. This was the first Gopher Getter machine made and sold in the United States.
In 1986 our business in Minneapolis plant had increased to where it became necessary to either enlarge the building or build another plant elsewhere. After looking over all the red tape and state regulations of Minnesota and Wisconsin, we found it to be to our advantage to build in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
In 1986 we built a building in Sioux Falls, we manufactured and assembled Elston Sanders and Gopher Getters.. In 1989, we constructed an addition to the Sioux Falls plant and moved our cargo heater line to Sioux Falls.
In 1997, the reins of the company were passed to the new management who brought with them expertise in the trucking industry. Today, we employ approximately 16 to 25 employees in Sioux Falls. The corporate office is located in Inver Grove Heights, MN. We are actively working on Research and Development on all three of our product lines: Traction Sanders, Cargo Heaters and Gopher Getters. We eagerly anticipate new and improved products in all three areas.