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The History of Bushton Manufacturing and Hawk Woodworking Tools
HISTORY BUSHTON MANUFACTURING

While Nilus Orth was in graduate school studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kansas in the late 1980’s, Loren Orth had his brother Nilus Orth begin conducting research on using agricultural waste to make various products. They continued this into the 1990s, even after Nilus graduated and became an assistant professor at Lamar University in Texas. In 1995 Nilus left Lamar to return home and the brothers formed Wheat Straw Products as a research company. A few years later they began Bushton Manufacturing as a manufacturing company for the products that Wheat Straw Products had developed and purchased.  

In 2005 Loren and Nilus purchased the products for J & D. In 2006, Loren and Nilus joined with another brother, Linus and purchased Quincraft Products, retaining the name as a separate company.  

Loren and Nilus were always looking for more opportunities. By 2009, they knew that the beach maintenance equipment, that they had been making since acquiring J & D would not sell until the US economy improved. Therefore they would need additional products.

HISTORY PREWITT/RBI

J. R. Prewitt in Pleasant Hill, Missouri founded J. R. Prewitt and Son Machine shop in the mid 1920s. They went on to develop the Belsaw planer in 1929, the first of a product line that they would expand and continue to this day as the Hawk Wood Working Tool line.

J. R. Prewitt and his wife had 14 children, seven boys and seven girls, all of whom were active in the company. After J. R. Prewitt’s death in 1951, control of the company passed to his youngest son, Ralph, who managed the company for the next 20 years until its sale to Verle L. Rice in 1972.

By 1976 Rice had reincorporated it as RB Industries. Two years later, RB Industries had developed their own thickness planer to be marketed under the RBI name. In the early 1980s RBI released a series of scroll saws including the Falcon, Eagle, Condor, and Hawk. The Hawk proved to be biggest seller, prompting RBI to rename their saws as the Hawk product line and, in time, the rest of their products were renamed as HAWK products. In 1984 the growing company was moved to Harrisonville, Missouri.

Upon the death of Verle L. Rice in 2007, the family sold RB Industries to an investment company which renamed it Hawk Wood Working Industries and began a move to the outskirts of Garden City, Missouri. The company never completed the move, the decision was made to close the doors on March 2nd, 2009, and an auction was scheduled for April 16th, 2009.

HOW WE AQUIRED RBI

In early April 2009, Nilus was in Kansas City picking up a circle shear that Quincraft Products had purchased. While there, he read the Kansas City Star and saw the sale bill for a manufacturer closure and liquidation auction. Even though it did not say who it was it stated ‘the inventory for the products made’ was for sale. Assuming there was a product-line involved, Nilus and Loren contacted the auctioneer and found out it was Hawk Wood Working Industries (formerly RB Industries). Deciding that they were interested they set off for Garden City, Missouri immediately. After looking at the equipment, parts, etc; they contacted the owners and expressed their interest.  

After 10 days of receiving information on the company, studying the product and looking over the equipment, Bushton Manufacturing made an offer on April 14, 2009 and a verbal agreement was reached just a few hours later. A tentative agreement was signed on April 15, 2009.

Bushton Manufacturing started taking calls and shipping parts after moving Hawk from Garden City, Missouri to Bushton, Kansas on May 13, 2009 just 29 day later.