Founder, Ditch Witch
It all started in a blacksmith shop in Perry, Oklahoma. It was in the late ’40s when Ed Malzahn observed workmen digging trenches by hand. He noticed equipment used for major utility lines could not be used for the smaller residential service lines. It was in 1948 when his idea of building a compact trenching machine that could replace “pick and shovel work” associated with residential utility services was conceived and thus the beginning of Ditch Witch. By 1969, Ditch Witch customers included utility, telephone and cable television companies, government agencies and general contractors.
The company, known as Charles Machine Works, has produced and has sold more than half of the world’s trenching machines. In 2002, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers designated the Ditch Witch Model DWP Service Line Trencher, one of Malzahn’s original trenchers, as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, the first such designation in Oklahoma. Fortune magazine has twice honored the trencher as one of the 100 best products manufactured in the United States.
Ed Malzahn passed away on December 11, 2015.
Interview with Ed Malzahn
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: April 14, 2011
Date Published: June 25, 2011
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.