EDCO History Decades Series: Our Beginning (1959 and the 1960s)

The original dual-disc grinder

As we at EDCO – Equipment Development Company celebrate our 60th anniversary in 2019, we look back at each decade that created this longevity and set the foundation for where we are today and where we want to be going forward.

Our New Home (The 1970s)
Going the Extra Mile (The 1980s)
Building for the Future (The 1990s)
Continuous Improvement (The 2000s)
Fabricating Our Future (The 2010s)

Our Beginning (1959 and the 1960s)

While working as a salesmen at Rental Tools & Equipment Co. in Silver Spring, Maryland, Leo Swan repeatedly fielded the same request from customers in the growing rental industry on the East Coast: a machine to resurface large areas of concrete.

Literature from 1959 for the original dual-disc grinder

Swan and his two colleagues, John Doran Sr. and Ed Harding, who started Rental Tools & Equipment in 1954, made the decision to develop a dual-disc grinder that would meet this rental demand, thus Equipment Development Company was born as a division of that Silver Spring rental store in 1959.

Swan often says, “EDCO was born out of necessity.” Harding designed and built the original dual-disc grinder. And with that, the rental industry would never be the same.

They took that original dual-disc grinder to the third-ever American Rental Association (ARA) Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, where he displayed and demonstrated the new machine and its capabilities. There, Swan sold 18 dual-disc grinders without having any idea of how they would fill those orders with their start-up operation.

Upon returning to Maryland, the three employees worked long hours to make headway on those orders. After six months, those 18 grinders were all built and delivered.

Leo Swan welcomes Charles Bohlen, U.S. Ambassador to France at the time, to EDCO’s display booth at the Paris Trade Fair in 1964

In 1961, as the EDCO division grew, EDCO moved to a building on Garfield Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland.

After moving into that new building, EDCO built other machines that diversified their fleet of equipment. Throughout the 1960s, EDCO unveiled their first concrete planer (1961)–which was originally built to remove high concrete around drains on runways at the newly constructed Washington Dulles International airport– the concrete saw (1961), power trowel (1964) and masonry saw (1969).

It didn’t take long for EDCO to explore business opportunities with international customers. These explorations began around 1964 with Swan taking machines to exhibit at the Paris Trade Fair, where EDCO successfully established a presence in France, and at the Berlin Fair. By 1967, EDCO was selling to countries all over the world, including: Belgium, Greece, Korea, Norway, Peru, among many others.

EDCO’s Garfield Avenue location in Silver Spring, Maryland


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