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Issue # 36: The Raydex Innovation

The Raydex Innovation

Ö.putting the local blacksmith out of business

By Sherry

James Oliver made giant strides in 1868 when he received the first patent for his chilling process. Throughout his life, he continued to make improvements but none of them were huge steps in design. But when the Raydex points were introduced in 1939, it changed the way the world plowed.

Rudolf (Rudy) J. Altgelt became an employee of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works in 1903. He spent his early years servicing Oliver equipment in Argentina, Brazil, Chili, Peru and Uruguay. After 13 years, he returned to South Bend and asked J.D. Oliver to terminate him. He was dissatisfied with overseas service and wanted to do something else. J.D. talked him into staying with Oliver to assist with plow design for the Fordson tractor. The first plow he helped design was the No. 7. Over the next ten years, Rudy, helped to design 38 implements for the Fordson.

Rudyís brother, Herman, also worked for Oliver and both were masters of implement design. Herman is well-known for the design of the tip-toe steel wheels and also the rare Oliver Chilled Plow Tractor along with dozens of other innovations. While both were part of South Bendís engineering staff, it was Rudy who served as the chief engineer.

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