Jerald Sulky in History
In the late 1800’s Samuel E. Jerald, Sr. was a talented craftsman in Osage, Iowa with the need for speed. After making his own fine carriage others asked to have Samuel make more, and before long Samuel developed a reputation as one of the top craftsmen in the horse drawn vehicle business. A few years later Samuel built his first race sulky, thereby founding the Jerald Sulky Company. The company was relocated to Waterloo in 1901 to access the growing industrial town’s transportation, utilities, and workforce. Soon the business was known for being one of the most progressive in the industry utilizing the latest in materials and pioneering many of the improvements in the marketplace.
During the early days of sulky manufacturing and the early peak of the race business there were over a dozen sulky manufacturers, but with the introduction of the automobile, World War I, and the stock market crash of 1929 only two survived. Later, during World War II when raw materials were scarce and all efforts were dedicated to the effort, the Jerald Sulky Company retooled to manufacture thousands of field ambulance carriers, also known as “litter carriers” throughout the war.
Later the company was handed down to Stanley E. Jerald who enjoyed a post-war boom with abundant materials and horseman hungry for vehicles not available during the war. This time period also brought inventions such as the mechanical starting gate and business changes such as pari-mutuel wagering all of which further fueled the business. Additionally Stanley branched out to develop modern versions of classical designs for use by the middle and upper class equestrian again showing interest in show horses thereby bringing into production vehicles still popular today such as the Fine Harness Buggy, the Devon Viceroy, and the Show Pleasure Cart.
Continuing successes brought ongoing national and international recognition to the company, including near complete dominance of both the race and show industries. Jerald Sulky products have been seen in almost every kind of media, driven by beginners and celebrities alike, have been featured several times on the cover of Sports Illustrated, have been on the cover of trade magazines hundreds of times, and were even featured on a US Postage Stamp. Further, in 1996 Jerald Sulky was inducted into the Iowa Harness Racing Hall of Fame.
Jerald Sulky Today
Although after 108 years in family hands the company moved forward with new ownership, the legacy of The Jerald Sulky Company remains in the care of true horsemen with genuine product passion and drive. Today the company is revitalized with modern engineering principles woven into the history of nearly 120 years contiguous experience. The talented team of craftsmen building Jerald Sulky Company’s line of performance vehicles ranges from brand new apprentices to senior craftsmen with nearly 50 years experience at Jerald Sulky.
New products are in continual development. Modern updates include an new Super J+ all stainless steel undercarriage jog cart, improved chrome and paint processes, and refined modern textiles. Continual less visible refinements are always underway in order to make the vehicles even better such as the recent redesign of the open-wheel hub with modern sealed bearings and milled-shoulder spacers for easy field service. Further product and brand extensions include items such as the Victory Lap Competition Shine Detailer.
The Value of the Jerald Sulky Company Seal
The statement stands true that “The capabilities to produce this product exist in only one place on the planet.” Waterloo, Iowa, part of the Cedar Valley urban area, remains home to the Jerald Sulky Company’s manufacturing plant. The 23,000 square foot manufacturing plant, nicknamed “Fort Knox” for the way it handles the winter gales and summer storms of northeast Iowa, was built specifically for Jerald Sulky in 1961 and with ongoing modernization still serves it’s the company well today. The operation stands proud under the Seal of the Jerald Sulky Company, which adorns the crossbar of most every vehicle we sell. The value of the seal is our promise to deliver the best performance horse drawn vehicle, every day, every time, for the next 120 years.