1972–1983: Bycool Evaporative Cooler
Casper, WY (1971): Max was approached by a company named Byco (Greeley, CO) to develop an agricultural tractor cab cooler. After he developed the cooler, he was able to sell the design and manufacturing rights to Byco and raise enough money to buy back the shop equipment from the bank — some of which he had originally purchased in the earlier days in Fowler. Byco, in turn, gave Max a contract to manufacture the coolers. Dean helped develop tooling and welding fixtures in preparation for the 1972 summer production. Manufacturing was going well in Casper in the original Walker Manufacturing facility — an old bakery.
Byco urged Max to move the manufacturing operation closer to Greeley, because supplier materials mostly came from Colorado. In the fall of 1974, Walker Manufacturing moved to Fort Collins.
Fort Collins, CO (1974): Bob joined the company in January 1975, and Dean joined in June 1975 after graduating from college. Walker Manufacturing was back in business. Forty to fifty coolers per day were manufactured at about $30 per unit revenue. It was not much income, but it paid the bills when the lawn mower development project began in 1977.
Seventy thousand coolers were built over an 11-year period. The cooler contract ended in 1983, but the lawn mower project was well underway.