Bob-caT/Bear-caT history? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
 
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post #1 of 2 Old 01-01-2016, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Bob-caT/Bear-caT history?

Has anyone ever tried to follow the history of the Crary Bob-caT or it's Bear-caT rename company? I have noticed that there seem to be a lot of different versions of the start of the company. I am not disputing any of the sources that I have seen, but I was just wondering where they originated.

I bought my first Crary Bob-caT back in 1979 from a Toro dealership that took it in on trade. They weren't too proud of having it in their shop. When I asked the salesman about a used snow blower, he said he didn't have any but this old, odd one that was in back. I think he was thinking he saw a sucker coming and was trying to get rid of something he thought he would never sell to anyone who knew anything about snow blowers. I bought it for $125.

It was a 5hp 20" model. When my brother-in-law saw it he started to laugh and said he would keep his 12hp Ahrens. He felt that way until the two of us tried to clear his mothers driveway after an 18" snow fall of very wet heavy snow.
He would plow into the wet drifts for about 4 or 5 feet and have to clean out his auger then dive in again to have the same result. I took my Bob-caT in second gear and walked the entire drive without stopping sending a plume of snow and water some 30 feet into the air. He was impressed as I was, so I tried to find out something about the machine.

From my research, the machine I owned was built and patented by a company by the name of Wisconsin Marine. By the time I had gotten my machine the company had been sold but the machines were still being made, but there were no dealers in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area where I lived.

After many other changes of ownership that I wasn't able to trace, Echo power equipment had bought the Crary brand name and had discontinued make snow removal equipment.

I know there is a lot more to the Crary Bob-caT story. I don't know if what I have heard is correct or not. Would be interested in hearing more about it.

Sorry folks, I'm just a history buff at heart....
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post #2 of 2 Old 01-02-2016, 06:06 PM
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Yes, I plan to insert the full history soon, but here's a brief summary.

In my original thread, I touched on this a little with the patent. Robert O. Gettleman started the Wisconsin Marine Company and eventually got into the lawn & snow machine business in the mid-50's with his Bob-caT machines. The company did very well. He retired in 1971 and sold the company to a guy named Dane Scag. The mid-70's recession and a massive plant fire almost ruined the company. He partnered-up with the British "Ransomes" Company, who bought a large stake in the Wisconsin Marine Company. Ransomes took over the production of Bob-caT snow machines, while Wisconsin Marine focused entirely on the large commercial lawn mowers used on golf courses and ball fields. Sometime during the early 80's recession, something happened at Wisconsin Marine... not sure if the Carter Recession had a part in it, but Ransomes took over the Bob-caT snow thrower completely for a brief time. Dane Scag founded his Scag Power Equipment Company in 1983. Around this time, the Bob-caT snowthrower machine was sold to Crary, who renamed it "Bear-caT". Because they failed to market the machines effectively, sales were terrible, and at some point in the mid to late 90's they sold the Bear-caT snow thrower line to a small investor who renamed it "Bear-Paw". This may have taken place prior to or after Crary was bought by a large investment firm, (who may have sold off things to capitalize on the investments). This large investment firm later sold it to Echo. The small investor bought all of the remaining parts, dies, tooling, and patents, and did manufacture small numbers of these machines for a time, but has since stopped. Over the years, the company was moved a number of times anx its last known location was in Canada.

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