Crown Profile
Providing Solutions That Improve Performance


Crown is one of the world’s largest forklift truck manufacturers. A privately owned company, Crown now operates a global distribution and service network with more than 110 fully-owned subsidiaries and over 400 independent dealerships as well as a global network of manufacturing facilities with plants in the United States, Germany, Mexico and China.

Crown has a unique corporate structure, characterised by the highest levels of vertical integration in the industry. This enables the company to keep tight control of development, production and customer support. Up to 85 percent of the components used in Crown products are developed and manufactured by Crown in custom-built facilities. Crown is committed to offering customers superior value that reduces TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).


1930 to 1950
From Small Town to Global Leader

Crown Equipment Corporation has grown from a one-room operation in a small, rural American community (New Bremen, Ohio, USA) into an internationally diversified company considered today to be one of the largest lift truck manufacturers in the world.

Two brothers, the late Carl H. Dicke and Allen A. Dicke founded the company in 1945. Carl’s son and Chairman Emeritus, James F. Dicke, joined Crown later in the same year. Today his son, James F. Dicke II, is Chairman and CEO. The latter’s son, James F. Dicke III, serves as the company President becoming the fourth generation of the Dicke family to hold this position.


Originally, Crown manufactured temperature controls for coal burning furnaces, servicing a handful of customers. The production of these units, which eventually became obsolete, took place in a former hardware store building located in New Bremen, Ohio, the community where Crown’s headquarters remain today.

By 1949, with the public’s growing interest in television, the company made its move into the production of antenna rotators, a product used to enhance television reception. The move proved successful with Crown becoming a leading manufacturer of the units until October 2001 when the company ceased production after a prolonged decline in worldwide demand for antenna rotators.

1950 to 1975

In 1951, the company diversified again. This time it was in the repair and manufacturing of mechanical and electronic components for private industry and government. After a short time and several successful bids, the company had built a strong business in this area.


As versatile as it was successful, Crown diversified once again, moving into lift truck manufacturing. Production began in the 1960s, with the belief that the material handling industry needed a smaller line of high quality lift trucks for intermediate-duty use. The company produced an up-to-date range of equipment and soon became the fastest growing material handling company in its range of products.

In 1966, Crown made their first material handling venture outside of the United States in Australia. Today Crown remains the industry leader supported by strong sales, service and manufacturing operations. The Sydney, Australia regional headquarters leads Crown’s Asia Pacific sales, service and marketing efforts.


Crown began to establish itself in the European marketplace in 1968. Crown purchased an Irish manufacturing plant from its parent company, a German firm, Steinbock, to manufacture Crown’s popular hand pallet trucks (PTH).

Later in 1968, Crown began their first sales and service operation in London in facilities located near Heathrow Airport. By the end of the decade, Crown’s complete lift truck line was available in the United Kingdom and in the early 1970s Crown began marketing its lift trucks throughout most of Europe through independent dealers.

1975 to Present

Today, Crown manufactures a wide variety of electric lift trucks. Sales and service of the products are handled by the company’s distributor network, consisting of Crown-owned and independently-owned distributors located in key markets throughout the world.

Dealer and sales personnel are factory-trained in all disciplines, and backed with national advertising and sales promotional support from corporate offices in New Bremen, Ohio, Munich, Germany, Sydney, Australia, Suzhou, China, and Singapore. Launched in the 1980s, the Munich office provides marketing, purchasing, design and engineering capabilities for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India. Crown-owned dealers and a network of international dealers operate in nearly 100 foreign cities.

Crown manufactures in seven United States locations (New Bremen, Ohio; Greencastle, Indiana; New Castle, Indiana; Kinston, North Carolina; Celina, Ohio; Minster, Ohio; New Knoxville, Ohio.) The company also has strong international manufacturing capabilities, building lift trucks in Suzhou, China (2006), Roding Germany (1986) and Queretaro, Mexico (1973).

Crown owns branch sales and service center operations in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, England, Germany, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and over 50 locations in the United States.

Crown’s products continue to receive recognition for design excellence, earning more than 80 prominent design awards. The Crown line of lift trucks has earned a reputation as safe, reliable and productive by customers throughout the world.

Crown’s design has always been on the leading edge. In the early 1970’s, the introduction of the Crown side-stance design proved daring and innovative by material handling experts. Today the design has popular acceptance, garnering a Design of the Decade award from International Design Society of America. Again, more than 30 years later, the 5700S Series Reach Truck provides the operator with sit, lean or stand choices, also an industry first, along with its unsurpassed productivity capabilities.