The History of Mile Marker Winches

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You remember how many of your best off-road adventures, escapades, and stories started, don’t you? Somebody said, “yeah, you just head south on 285 till you get to mile marker 73. Then you turn right, follow the curves and watch for the mud holes.” It all started at a particular mile marker.

Mile Marker WInch History

The history of Mile Marker WInches

It might not be far-fetched to say that’s how the Mile Marker winch brand began. Mile Marker, the company, has been developing products by the standard they call “tested to the extreme” since 1981. That’s about 27 years of conversion kits, lock-out hubs, transfer case components, recovery winches and mounts. And they may just be the standard when it comes to winch products and components.

Since 1986 Hub products have been marketed under the “Mile Marker” trade name. This includes a full line of locking wheel hubs, conversion kits, and a patented locking wheel hub for four-wheel drive vehicles. Mile Marker also bought the well-known line of Selectro® hubs for trucks. The Mile Marker hubs are manufactured by its sub-contractors in Taiwan and in the United States. They’re tested and assembled in Kalama, Washington.

In 1994, Mile Marker introduced a new, patented line of vehicle-mounted hydraulic winch kits that get their power source from a vehicle’s power steering pump. They came out with a two-speed version of this winch in 1997. Originally designed for the United States military this unique hydraulic winch has found a home in the recreational/utility vehicle two-and four-wheel drive market. With prices competitive to electric winches of similar ratings Mile Marker’s hydraulic winch kits have performance capabilities not found in most electric winches such as:

  • continuous, reliable and silent operation,
  • durability, and
  • multiple safety features.

In 2002, Mile Marker introduced a new model 8000 lb. electric winch. It has become one of the safest winches in this segment of the market. After the initial success of this winch (which is manufactured in China by the way) Mile Marker expanded its electric winch product line to include even more electric models. They’ve gained a significant market share from their more established competitors by taking advantage of the excellent quality, better value, and very competitive pricing available in China. And with its own subsidiary in China, Mile Marker hopes to add more value to its products.

For over 10 years, Mile Marker has been manufacturing and supplying parts for Chrysler, Rockwell International & Dana Corporation. They “assure the quality of all our products” by testing them in all types of vehicles and under every condition. For instance a pump has to perform for years without service or adjustment…whether it’s 50 degrees below zero or 150 degrees above.

Mile Marker observed how the power steering pump has become the most reliable system on vehicles today. Since it doesn’t fail unless the fluid leaks out for some reason, (torn hose or operator error) Mile Marker designed a winch to use this reliable power supply over the battery powered winches used by competitors.

And Mile Marker’s tests have been confirmed by many others independently, including magazines worldwide, the U.S. Military, and the University of Technology in Australia.

Mile Marker US Army

Mile Marker brand winches are used by the U.S. Army

Mile Marker has multiple patents on several of its products, both in the United States and in certain foreign countries. Most significant are the patents are for its unique hydraulic winch. Patent #5,692,735, which was issued to the Company on December 2, 1997 for a Fail-Safe Hydraulic Vehicle Winch, expires on December 2, 2017. Patent #5,842,684, which was issued to the Company on December 1, 1998 for a Multi-Speed Hydraulic Winch, expires on December 1, 2018.

During 2005 and 2004, Mile Marker delivered 1,629 and 3,249 hydraulic winch/bumper assemblies for the replacement of existing electric winches on military Humvees under several contracts from the United States Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command. Sales under these military contracts had total values of $4,586,347 in 2005 and $8,868,961 in 2004.

No employees belong to any union…from Mile Marker’s founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, Richard E. Aho to the hourly employees. The Company also uses various independent sales representatives, temporary employees and independent contractors.

You can find and purchase Mile Marker’s product lines through an extensive wholesaler supply network in North America and worldwide including warehouse distributors, jobbers, retail stores and mail order catalogues.

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