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Selectro / Husky / Dualmatic Hub Overview

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Once again, this is more a working post than a polished one. And, it’s a long one. It kept growing and growing as I learned more (and became more confused).Of course, I am left with more answers than questions.

Essentially, I’m trying to figure out when Selectro hubs popped onto the 4WD scene, who controlled them, and how they evolved. That led to looking at Husky, Dualmatic, Watson and FreeLock hubs. I don’t have all the answers just yet … here we go …

colorado-map-products2

Map of companies related to Jeep products in the 1950s-1970s. You can learn more about Thor and White Automotive here.and Free-Lock here.

TIMELINE & DiSCUSSION: 

1959/1960?: The Husky Company launches it’s line of Husky Hubs out of Aurora, Colorado. This hub one of two pieces of evidence of the Husky Company’s existence in Aurora; it has the Husky Company name and location on it:

huskyhub-aurora-colorado

https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/early-hub-depository.825602/

A second piece of evidence was uncovered on a document found by Maury; the Husky Company was located originally in Aurora, Colorado.

Based on the information on the hub, the Husky company already had a patent awarded (not just filed, but awarded). So, which patent was that? My best guess at the moment is that this 1958 patent awarded to Clark Peterson has the most elements in common with the Husky Hub.

Given there were a couple intervening years between the patent (awarded in 1958) and Husky Hub (unclear when it was brought to market, but I’m guessing 1959/1960), it seems possible that the company altered the design before manufacturing it, which could explain the differences between the patent and the finished hub. The biggest reason I think the two are related is that both the patent and the Husky Hub have a narrow bolt down the center, a unique design not seen in another other hubs.

1961: In 1961 a new name was associated with the Husky Hub: Trade Winds, Inc, out of Boulder, Colorado. My best guess is that the Husky Hub company lacked capital, so it turned to Trade Winds (perhaps which bought a controlling stake in the Husky Company?) to re-introduce the Husky Hubs.

The company’s name is shown as “TRADE WINDS” on the hubs, but as “Tradewinds” in various trade journal ads, which is where it focused its advertising (such as Roads and Streets, American Beef Producer, and Pacific Chemical and Metallurgical Industries). It appears the hub ads only appeared during 1961 (and possibly 1962). I can find no evidence that text ads were placed later than that. Here’s an example ad:

husky-hub-tradewinds-blurb-1962

This snippet appeared in a 1962 book, suggesting the Husky hubs may have been launched in 1961. Two other sources also indicate that Tradewinds had launched the Husky Hub in 1961

This detail image of a brochure for the Husky Hub is undated, but clearly shows the Trade Winds name.

husky-hub-tradewinds-brochure

This is a detail shot of a Husky Hub brochure from the 1960s.

husky-hubs-ebay8

These are some early Husky Hubs

1966 May: Dualmatic, which had sold it’s two-lever hubs since the late 1950s (side note.. there are variations of the two lever Dualmatic), advertised both tops and it’s hubs in Four Wheeler Magazine for several years through May of 1966.
1966 June: Dualmatic’s last ad appeared in Four Wheeler, one that only featured a soft top (no hubs).

1966-06-fourwheeler-dualmatic-top-ad-lores
1967 May: The Selectro Co. out of PO Box 11275, Highland Station, Denver, Colorado, buys its first advertisement for its Selectro hubs in Four Wheeler Magazine. This is the earliest reference to Selectro that I have.

1967-05-fourwheeler-selectro-company-ad-pg10

selectro-hub0-lores-early
1967 Sept: Selectro advertises the black version of their hubs for the first time in Four Wheeler magazine.

1967-09-fourwheeler-selectro-company-ad
1967 Oct: In a strange twist, a new ad for both Husky and Selectro products appears in Four Wheeler magazine. Husky soft tops, Husky overdrives (probably just a Dualmatic OD with a Husky sticker), and Selectro hubs are all combined together and sold by some entity called 4Wheel Equipment Center.

Yet, in the advertisers index the ad is listed under Husky (or sometimes under Husky tops). Husky also expanded its advertisement to include Selectro hubs, Husky overdrives, and other products.

Moreover, a couple years later, 4Wheel Equipment Center lists its address as PO Box 11275, Highland Station, Denver, Colorado, the same address that Selectro had used! This suggests to me that the Selectro Company wanted to expand its offerings from just hubs to more products, so it changed its name.

1967-10-fourwheeler-husky-selectro-ad
1967 DEC: In the December 1967 issue of Four Wheeler, both Husky and Selectro advertised the hubs. Following that magazine issue, the Selectro Company no longer advertised hubs in Four Wheeler.Meanwhile, 4Wheel Equipment Center (or is it really Husky), continued to regularly advertise the Selectro hubs.

Strangely, when I looked at the advertiser index for this issue, there was no listing for the Selectro Company, even though all the other companies in the issue were listed in the index, including Husky.

1970 July: The “Husky” ad is changed substantially. It’s shortened to three products. Also, for the first time, an address is listed for the 4Wheel Equipment Center business: PO Box 11275, Highland Station, Denver, Colorado. Again, this was the original address for the Selectro Company. Yet, in the index, the ad is still listed as a Husky ad.

So, was 4Wheel Equipment Center previously the Selectro Company? Are they one in the same? How does Husky fit into this?

1970-07-fourwheeler-husky-ad-3-products-lores

The 4Wheel Equipment Center adds its address to the ad. It’s the same address as the Selectro Company used.

1972 March: Dualmatic introduces a new hub that looks very similar to the Selectro Hub. My guess is that Dualmatic was already selling rebranded Selectro hubs by this time.

1972-03-fourwheeler-dualmatic-hub-lores
1972 July: In July the 4Wheel Equipment Center ad is revamped into a Husky Products ad. The products are the same, but now the brand name is Husky and the address is Longmont, Colorado.

1972-07-fourwheeler-new-husky-branded-ad-lores

Also in July, an article for the new Husky, semi-automatic, Heavy Duty Selectro Hub was published in Four Wheeler Magazine. This suggests that by 1972 Husky owned or controlled the Selectro hub in some manner. 
1972-07-fourwheeler-selectro-hubs-pg52
1972: An offroad equipment book mentions that Husky and Dualmatic essentially sold the same products, but Husky was a little cheaper and Dualmatic had more hub options.

1973-husky-dualmatic-same-products

Based on this information, my guess is that 4Wheel Equipment (Selectro) and Dualmatic began working together in mid-1967. In early 1972, Husky may have been acquired and moved to Longmont, as a Longmont librarian told me that Husky had become a subsidiary of Dualmatic.

1977: Another curious bit of information can be found in a 1977 patent filing by Richard M. Kleespies and Fred F. Parke for a lock-in lock-out rear hub power assembly. The inventors mention in their patent that their preferred hub for such a setup was a hub presently marketed under the trademark “Selectro” by the Selectro Company located in Denver, Colorado. Was this a misstatement or was the Selectro Compay still the manufacturer of Selectro hubs?

(note, I’ve read in a couple forums that some folks say Selectro bought Husky and/or Dualmatic, but I can find no evidence of that nor do those threads provide evidence … I did have a Longmont librarian tell me that at some point Husky was a subsidiary of Dualmatic. It is documented that Dualmatic was purchased by Mile Marker on April 1, 1974, which also later acquired Bestop in March of 1981. Mile Marker continues to market Selectro hubs).

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Now for some miscellaneous observations …..

HEAVY DUTY SELECTRO HUBS:

As I understand it, and I may be incorrect, one of the critical differences between the original Selectro hub and the Heavy Duty Selectro hub is that the latter is all steel (Is this correct? .. I own neither hub).

Another, more noticeable difference, is that the selector on the heavy duty hubs is beefier and taller. It also employs the use of two screws on the side versus the original Selectro hub which only used a single screw.

selectro-hubs-heavy-duty-comparison

The Free-Lock Hub Brand of Selectors:

Up to this point I had a working theory that the Free-Lock Company might have originally developed this style of hub, but went out of business before it could sell it. That’s the only way I could explain the existence of some Free-Lock branded Selectro looking hubs.

selectro-like-free-lock-hubs2

Free-lock branded Selectro-Hub with two screws on the selector.

However, I think that theory may not be true, as all the Free-Lock Selectro’s I’ve documented use the two-screw, heavy duty style selector, meaning they were likely created after the summer of 1972 (accept for one strange Free-Lock hub … see a reference down the page).

So, who made the Selectro-style Free-Lock hubs and for what purpose? That remains a mystery.

In the meantime, what is clear is that someone appears to have licensed/sold Selectro-style hubs for private label branding. It also seems they only private labeled the heavier duty, post-1972 two screw hub, rather than the original hub.

Here are examples of the private labeling of Selectro-style hubs:

dualmatic-selectro-hub1

jcpenny-hubs

pathfinder-dualmatic-hub

perfect-circle-dana-27-scout-hubs power_train_hubs

sears-hub

sears-selectro-hub1

selectro-four-wheel-drive-hubs

Lastly, we have this oddity, a hub owned by Stephano Oddo. It’s a squat, one screw that looks similar to the original Selectro, but is shaped slightly different. How it fits into the Free-Lock/Selectro story is a mystery to me. To me, it’s got some nicer styling than the early Selectro hub. Was this a prototype made by Free-Lock? I am pretty perplexed by this one. Perhaps it was Selectro that bought the Free-Lock assets? After all, both the Selectro Company and Free-Lock were located in Denver.

stefano-oddo-free-lock-hub-rockford-il

Dualmatic Hubs Private branding:

Thanks to Maury for sending me some pics that helped me realize that the Dualmatic company, was, sort of, private label branding its hubs far earlier than I’d expected.

A 1964 Montgomery Ward jeep parts catalog featured a single set of hubs for sale. They clearly look like Dualmatic hubs, but there’s no sticker and no brand of hub mentioned.

1964-montgomery-ward-jeep-catalog-dualmatic-hubs

A 1967 Sears Jeep Parts Catalog once again had a set of hubs for sale. Once again, there was no brand. You might notice that these look suspiciously like the Watson hubs. One thing we’ve noticed is that some Watson hubs have “WATSON” imprinted on the hub, while other identical hubs don’t.

So, were these WATSON hubs that were private labeled, or had Dualmatic been making WATSON hubs all along, but now offered them for private labeling? It’s easy to think that Dualmatic might want to separate their Dualmatic branded hubs from private labeled ones. Changing the private-labeled version to this look would help that.

1967-sears-catalog-sears-watson-hubs

A 1971 Sears Parts Catalog included a Sears branded Husky Hub. This got me thinking. This hub looks suspiciously like the early Free-Lock hub, but with a slightly different selector. It might prove interesting to compare the innards of this style of Husky/Allstate hub with the original Free-Lock hub.

allstate-1971-hubs-husky

A 1972 Sears Jeep Parts catalog introduced ANOTHER version of the Allstate/Husky hub.

1972-sears-catalog-allstate-husky-hub

Husky Hubs private branding:

As mentioned, the later Husky Hubs were also private labeled. This later model Husky hub (one would assume it’s post 1971ish given the Longmont location on the hub) has not one, but three (two below and the 1972 catalog version above):

husky-hub-2 husky-hub-allstate

allstate-hubs

This one might have been an early example given it has a center hole like the earlier husky hubs.It’s probably not a jeep hub, but another model.

Compare it to the early brochure hub on the right:

1963-husky-hubs-brochure1

Then we have another version of the Allstate hub (date unknown), which looks similar to the Longmont Husky hub above, but with a slightly different selector mechanism. I thought I had a Husky equivalent, but can’t find it at the moment. This looks the most like a modification of the Free-Lock hub in my opinion.

allstate-hubs-ebay2

 

 

 

 

 

9 Comments on “Selectro / Husky / Dualmatic Hub Overview

  1. Bingo

    Dave, I noticed that you’ve often pointed out ‘Free Lock’ hubs in yer posts of C-list ads. As if they’re the hot setup, I just assumed, or you had $$$’s invested in their company. Yet you don’t brag about ’em here. So, are they rare, or may I infer that’s just yer polite critique of a rust bucket ‘Jeep’, as it’s best feature?

  2. David Eilers Post author

    Bingo: No, no money on the line in regards to these hubs. The Free-Lock hubs were quite the mystery until someone approached me with Free-Lock brochures from their deceased father a couple years ago. I’d never seen another Free-Lock brochure anywhere else. So, the reason I mention them is to let newer readers know about them and to plant a key-word in the post so that if I need to search for the hubs, I can find them.

  3. David Eilers Post author

    And, yes, at times the hubs are a rust bucket’s best feature, lol. As for the quality of the hub, I’ve never received any good or bad reviews about them.

  4. Maury

    This story just seems to get progressively more complex the further you delve into it! Thank you for doing all the research to try to sort this story out, Dave. I suspect you’re the first to ever take it to the level you’ve reached already.

    Hope you & Ann have a safe trip, and I look forward to reading about it.

    Maury

  5. Gayland Leddy

    Dave, Thanks for all of the research. It looks like the manual locking Hub world was based in and around Denver. I bet that a lot of cross-pollination occurred between the companies.

  6. Mark

    Hi Mark here in Phoenix az enjoying your article about these hubs. The ones on my 57 fc 150 say trade winds Boulder Colorado. When I first got this fc, I borrowed some wheels to get it home. I had to remove outer hub cover as it was too large for rim center hole. My first thought was to get rid of the hubs, but found them so unique, I’m going to keep them. Unique hubs on a unique truck, what a combination!!!!!

  7. Greg

    Dave, I have a set of NOS Selectro “Heavy Duty” hubs on my Jeep. I comment here to answer a question you posted in your article. At least in my case, these hubs are not “steel” as you contemplate. There may very well be a steel version, but the ones that I have are just like the other “rebranded” versions.

    BTW, I have blown out a vintage
    Selectro on the trail. They work great for me, but in this case they effectively became the driveline fuse; perhaps saving an axle. I carry spares so I was back on the trail in a matter of minutes.

    Great article!

  8. David Eilers Post author

    Thanks for the info Greg. I don’t own nor have ever owned any of these hubs, so any info folks like you can provide is valuable. Enjoy your weekend!

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