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ESKA COMPANY INC. (THE)
ESKA COMPANY. Lavern Kascel and Bud Essman formed the ESKA Company in 1945. (1) The name of the company was created from the first two letters of Essman and the first two letters of Kasel. (2)
In the early years, Eska manufactured the first die cast pedal tractors, and until the mid-1950s, Frederick ERTL worked in the die-cast department of the JOHN DEERE DUBUQUE WORKS. He bought a small, used die-casting machine, which he installed in his garage on Asbury Road and made the small die cast parts for model tractor toys (not the riding pedal versions that came later) for ESKA. ESKA sold to the toy industry as well as to farm implement dealers. (3)
The ESKA planned to provide Ertl farm toys to companies with the ordering company's original equipment manufacturer's logo. Under an agreement of the three men, Ertl products were delivered to ESKA which then shipped them. Another agreement was that Ertl made tractors and ESKA manufactured implements, but not tractors. (4)
The agreement continued until 1948 when ESKA began producing steel-stamped farm implements in its factory at 32nd and White. In 1950-51, Carter Tu-Scale took over the ESKA manufacturing operation and moved it from Dubuque to Rockford, Illinois. The acquisition allowed Carter Tru-Scale to expand its farm toy production under the Carter Tru-Scale and ESKA brands. When Ertl discontinued the production of large sand-cast riding, or pedal, tractors, ESKA gained another product. ESKA made several varieties of John Deere pedal tractors and trailers. In 1950 Eska also made cardboard farm buildings. (5)
Bud Essman sold out to Lavern Kascel sometime around 1955. Around 1960, William A. Wright, Jr. (Vice President of Manufacturing) and Luke Sapan of Long Island, NY (Vice President of Sales) each bought 1/3 of Lavern Kascel's shares and the three became equal partners in The ESKA Company. (6)
At around the same time, ESKA, which had begun manufacturing lawn mowers and chain saws in the mid-1950s, added the Eska Sno-Flyr snowblowers to its line and lost interest in the toy industry. (7) In 1960-61 Ertl obtained Eska's licensing right for Deere, International Harvester, Case, Oliver, and Allis Chalmers. (8)
By 1980 Eska, a subsidiary of Talley Industries of Mesa, Arizona, purchased the Clinton outboard motor product line from the Clinton Engines Corp. The purchase was to consolidate area manufacturers to maintain a strong hold on the market which had dropped due to the lagging economy. (9) Eska Company went out of business in 1986. (10)
The 1948 Dubuque Classified Business Directory listed the corner of Jackson and E. 32nd.
In 1957 through 1967 the company was located at 100 West Second Street.
The 1970 through 1986 Dubuque City Directory listed The Eska Company Inc. at 2400 Kerper.
1. Wright, W. Andrew III. E-mail. February 7, 2016
2. Vossler, Bill. Toy Farm Tractors. Stillwater, Minnesota: Voyageur Press Inc. 1998, p. 114. Online: http://books.google.com/books?id=S5aozh-U90wC&pg=PA114&lpg=PA114&dq=Eska+%28Iowa%29&source=bl&ots=d_lczOEBlD&sig=I8Any2keSrGmzT9JqmrNjB4BzXs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=F69dUv7fM-L0yQHa34CoBQ&ved=0CF0Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Eska%20%28Iowa%29&f=false
9. "Eska Buys Product Line," Telegraph Herald, June 22, 1980, p. 34
Directory of Dubuque Industries. Prepared by the Dubuque Industrial Bureau, 1967