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MOTOREX Magazine 201296 EN

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MOTOREX Magazine 96 E WEB

REPORT Continued The

REPORT Continued The Schilter LT 2 forage wagon picks up clippings before they reach the front axle. This is a huge benefit in terms of feed cleanliness. Schilter introduced the first UT (“universal tractor”) with all-wheel drive at the DLG trade show in 1972. The design concept is still in use today. Only three of the large Schilter Safety Tractor, ST 11000 A, were ever built. It boasted 110 horsepower and could be purchased from a starting price of CHF 68,800 in 1975. the time. The Schilter brothers’ invention was awarded patent no. 342094 in Berne in February 1959. Just a few months later Thomas Schilter was testing another vehicle, the first four-wheel drive tractor for hauling. It featured a specially developed steering drive axle, likewise patented. The key elements in the transporter’s success included four equal-sized wheels and an ideal weight distribution. It was later dubbed the Schilter LT 1 in series production. MORE SPACE, STAFF AND MODELS The development of the original Schilter also marked a new stage in Thomas Schilter’s business career. In the fall of 1959, ground was broken for a new factory and residential quarters on Stansstaderstrasse. Thomas (CEO) and his brothers Karl (sales) and Josef Schilter 300 vehicles. But production was just getting started. In response to constant pressure for new product development, the range of models broadened steadily while the factory grew with the addition of the South Hall (1964), the new Plant 1 (1969) and Plant 2 (1971) in Galgenried. WITH THE JUNIOR’S HELP AND MORE Thomas Schilter had a good sense of the real needs of alpine farmers, and his inventions opened the way to mechanization in the mountains. The Schilter LT1, the Junior, the TR 1000, TR 1500, TR 2000 and the TR 3000 all contributed significantly to making the farmers’ arduous labors easier. In 1967 the company also began to build forestry equipment and agricultural implements. The versatile Schilter was simply an ideal basis for nearly any application. Constant improvement and innovation made Schilter what it was (workshop/production) were literally overwhelmed with inquiries and orders. Against their will they were forced to outsource many tasks. A carefully planned dealer network was built throughout Switzerland and initial contacts established in neighboring countries. By 1964 the company had 43 workers and was building THE UNIVERSAL TRACTOR The quest for perfection through constant engineering innovation culminated in 1972 with the company’s new flagship product, the UT 7200. UT stood for “universal tractor” – a tractor with four-wheel drive and steering, able to handle steep slopes and drive tools simultaneously at front and rear with power take-off shafts. For example, it could power a mower in front while towing a forage wagon behind. It drew an enthusiastic response at various trade shows, and the UT series helped 12

A large community of fans has grown around the Schilter brand. Photo from the 4 th Schilter gathering in 2003, Küssnacht am Rigi. Many Schilter owners still use their vehicles every day. Ueli Bühler, manager of the spare parts warehouse at Ducrey AG, still has a stock of most parts! Schilter build on its earlier successes and export vehicles as far afield as Scandinavia. DARK CLOUDS MASS OVER SCHILTER With the company’s explosive growth, products began to enter series production too soon. The first oil crisis (1973–1974) struck just as the resulting quality problems were making themselves felt. At the same time the entire agricultural sector was being shaken up. The result was a collapse in the market. With the company highly leveraged, the bank took charge. Nidwaldner Kantonalbank took full control of Schilter effective May 1, 1975. It was the start of difficult times for the company founder and his brothers Josef and Karl. The low-cost Schilter ST (“safety tractor”) was presented at the Olma trade fair in 1975 in a bid to save the company, but even it was unable to turn the situation around. In January 1976, Thomas Schilter left the company to go his own way. SCHILTER – STILL A WORK OF GENIUS TODAY Producing agricultural vehicles profitably is truly a great challenge. But Thomas Schilter’s brilliant ideas have survived to the present day. Not only did Thomas Schilter continue to build vehicles with his own small team, various engineers also worked eagerly to build on the mountain pioneer’s ideas. Starting in 1992, the new “Schiltrac” vehicles officially entered production at the Barmettler company in Buochs, where they underwent extensive ongoing development. The Schiltrac 92 F, likely the best, most technologically sophisticated successor to the Schilter, is still available for purchase today! In addition to the 6,500 or so vehicles extant in Switzerland, a growing community of fans and an increasing number of restored vintage Schilters at home and abroad are indicative of the enthusiasm that still exists for the Schilter brand. There has been a Swiss Schilter Club since 1997, and Ducrey AG in Küssnacht am Rigi is an experienced Schilter specialist with a large stock of spare parts and extensive expertise. The achievements of Thomas Schilter and his family live on, as well they should. • Further interesting information can be found (mainly in German) at the following links: • A book about Thomas Schilter • Schilter Club Switzerland • Parts & repairs • Schiltrac vehicle manufacturing • Schilter/Motrac exhibition July 28 through August 5 at the Swiss Museum of Transport, Lucerne Schilter and Motrac exhibition Photo: Schiltrac, Buochs motorex Magazine I July 2012 13



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