The Godfather of Snowmobiling, Edgar Hetteen Dies (video)
Published on Monday, February 14, 2011 in General Announcements, In The News, News & Updates, Vintage
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The man remembered by many as the Godfather of Snowmobiling has passed away at the age of 90. Edgar Hetteen, who co-founded Polaris Industries in 1954 in Roseau, and founded Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls, died Saturday in Grand Rapids, Minnesotta. Although others developed versions of snowmobiles before Hutteen, the Minnesota native was the first to realize the consumer market for snowmobiles.

The son of first-generation Swedish immigrants, Edgar Hetteen grew up on a farm near Roseau, Minnesota. Working with farm equipment, he developed an engineer’s eye for innovation and invention, despite attaining only an eighth-grade education. He worked in an uncle’s machine shop as a teenager, served in the military, then founded Hetteen Hoist and Derrick in the mid-1940s. His original partner was his eventual brother-in-law, David Johnson, who initially bought into the company by sending money to Edgar from the Pacific region, where David was stationed in the U.S. Navy.

The company expanded beyond hoist and derrick work, building anything customers needed, including a highly successful line of farm products. Such a diverse company needed a less-restrictive name, so in 1954, Edgar and David incorporated the business as Polaris Industries Inc. The three original partners in Polaris were Edgar, David and Edgar’s younger brother, Allan Hetteen.

(Photo Caption) The original Polaris partners from left to right: David Johnson, Allan Hetteen and Edgar Hetteen.

Minnesotta Public Radio has story and timeline of his life posted on their website.

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