The Kress Corporation of Brimficld, Illinois, makes the famous rigid-framed, bottom-dump coal carrier in capacities from 110 to 300 tons, including the largest coal hauler of any type currently offered.
Edward (Ted) Kress' father, Ralph Kress, was a driving force behind the off-road hauler businesses of Dart, LeTourneau-Westinghouse (WABCO) and Caterpillar. Much earlier, the Kress Brothers Carriage Company was in business from 1870 to 1928. They began building fire trucks in 1896. The first ever motorized fire truck was built for Springfield, Mass. in 1896. Kress supplied most of the fire trucks to the New York City Fire Department in the first two decades of the century. Ted himself was a student engineer at Dart in 1952, where he designed the front end of the 35-ton Dart hauler.
In October of 1965, Ted formed the Slagaway Corporation. In 1968, he changed the name of the company to the Kress Corporation. Kress made its first contribution to the mobile equipment industry with a slag pot carrier for the Edward C. Levy Company. The carrier picked up, transferred, poured and skulled slag pots from the Great Lakes 300 ton BOF furnaces. It was an immediate success and within a few months there was an order for ten more carriers.
The company's next contribution was a slab carrier, the first of its kind, for the Ford Motor steel plant. It picked up and carried 100 tons of steel slabs and coils.
Kress Corporation then built its first coal hauler in 1971. A single unit, bottom dump, coal hauler. Again, the first of its kind. Built for the Captain Mine of Southwestern Illinois Coal Corporation.
Ralph H. Kress, father to Ted Kress, was inducted into the Mining Hall of Fame in 2001. Ralph H. Kress, “The Father Of The Off-Highway Truck,” spent almost fifty years designing and developing mining trucks. His ideas are still evident in the configuration of mine haulage trucks at surface mines throughout the world.
In December 1955 as a consultant to WABCO, now Komatsu, Ralph Kress configured a truck incorporating the most efficient components available at the time, recognizing that tires are not suspensions, driver comfort is essential, and reducing shock loads on structures enhances efficient design. To accomplish this, he incorporated a short wheelbase with a high angle of turn and a deep, sloped, flat body. In 1957, the first 32-ton Haulpaks were delivered along with 75-ton tractor-trailer coal haulers using the 32-ton Haulpaks as tractors. Haulpaks soon increased in size and became the truck of choice at many large surface mines.
In 1962, Ralph Kress joined Caterpillar, where he developed a line of 85-ton, 105-ton, and 240-ton electric drive trucks, again pointing the way to the future.
Ted was the starting left halfback for the University of Michigan in 1952 and 1953 and set a Big Ten Conference single-game rushing record with 218 yards in October 1952. Ted Kress was selected by the Washington Redskins in the 29th round (344rd overall pick) in the 1954 NFL Draft. In March 1954, Kress signed with the Redskins. During the Redskins' summer training camp at Occidental College in Southern California, Redskins' coach Curly Lambeau moved Kress to the safety position Ted suffered a slight concussion during a practice session at the end of July 1954 Ted did not play in any regular season games for the Redskins.
After Ted’s brief professional football career, he joined the United States Air Force and served with the rank of lieutenant in the Strategic Air Command as the flight engineering officer on B-36 nuclear bombers. During this period, Ted flew cold war missions and worked on several projects designed to extend the operational life and crew survivability of this aircraft until it could be fully replaced by the then new B-52 bomber.
In 1965, Ted Kress founded Kress Corporation in Brimfield, Illinois. During his lifetime and thereafter, the company has been a manufacturer of specialized industrial equipment for transporting and handling steel, slag, coal and other heavy materials for the steel mills, for the mining industry, and also for earth moving. His father joined the company in 1969. The company's first product was a slag pot carrier that was used to pick up, transfer, pour and skull slag pots from blast furnaces. It later expanded into the manufacture of coal haulers and slab carriers used to pick up and carried 100 tons of steel slabs and coils.