As an Eagle Scout in 1937, Ed travelled to Washington D.C. to attend the National Jamboree of Boy Scouts. He celebrated his 16th birthday in our nation’s capital and sent his very first telegram. It was addressed to his parents and read, ”Today I am a man.”
Ed graduated high school in 1939 and he spent that summer helping his family renovate the Birch Street location to expand the machine shop.
In 1943, Ed graduated Oklahoma A&M College (Oklahoma State University) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
As a graduate instructor in 1943, a young student named Mary caught his eye. He flunked her three times so he could get to know her better. They were married later that year.
Ed invented the Geronimo in 1947 to help oil rig workers escape from the crow’s nest during a fire.
In the late 1940s, Ed had an idea to build a small trenching machine that could replace the pick-and-shovel work involved with installing residential utility services.
The first powered compact trencher rolled off the line in 1949. Known as the DWP which stands for Ditch Witch® Power, it launched an entire industry.
1950 was the first public showing of the DWP. With its endless conveyor digging chain, the DWP could dig a trench up to six inches wide and 30 inches deep.
Ed invented a portable scaffolding, called the SkyWitch, in 1955.
To accommodate a growing business, the Ditch Witch organization built a 24,000 square foot facility in 1959 to serve as the worldwide headquarters. The 30-acre campus you see today is in the same location.
Ed applied for U.S. Patent #3,087,354 in 1960. This unique planetary gearbox without a ring gear made two vastly different ground speeds – slow for trenching and fast for mobilizing – possible from an engine turning at a constant speed. This design was used for the next 24 years.
Ed always enjoyed participating in events as seen here riding the V30 into an Equipment Seminar.
In 1993, Ed became one of the first twelve leaders inducted into the Construction Equipment Hall of Fame.
The original Ditch Witch® trencher was made a permanent piece of Oklahoma history in 2005 when the DWP was selected to be included in an exhibit in the Oklahoma History Center.
In 2007 Ed was inducted into the American Rental Association Hall of Fame for making significant changes to the rental industry.
Ed was inducted into the North American Society for Trenchless Technology Hall of Fame in 2013.
Ed enjoyed visiting the manufacturing areas on his Segway that he received as a birthday present in 2004 from the Ditch Witch organization.
The Malzahn family carries on Ed’s legacy by continuing to lead the Ditch Witch and Charles Machine Works families.
It was always a treat to get a tour of the Heritage Center from Ed. He always had a new and interesting story to share.
The summer student employee program was important to Ed to continue inspiring the next generation.
The needs of the community and its residents were always a priority to Ed. He volunteered time and finances throughout his life, and countless institutions and individuals benefitted from his generosity.
Ed’s fun-loving spirit was contagious to all he met.
At the factory, Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t the most celebrated holidays. It was Ed’s birthday.