A look back at the origins of the Verti Drain

The invention of the first Verti Drain came about when Arien DeRidder had an idea while attending a local amateur sporting event.

Recent rainfall had left much of the playing field underwater, so the groundskeeper sent his men, armed with pitchforks, onto the field to attack the problem. Multiple groups worked their way around the compacted areas using the pitchforks to penetrate a deep layer of compaction, thus allowing the standing water to drain. They found the next day the field was back to a mostly playable condition.

Mr DeRidder realised that deep compaction was a major problem to all sports turf and he set out to develop the first mechanical pitchfork and, in the late 1970s, Verti Drain was born.

Mr DeRidder took his idea to a boyhood friend, Cees DeBre, who was the President of a large railroad manufacturing company named Redexim BV. Together they built and sold the aerators in their homeland of the Netherlands. With the help of an engineer, Josef Reincke, they received a patent for the machine and continued to refine the product with their sights set on selling it to the rest of the world.

Knowledge of the Verti Drain soon spread throughout Northern Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia, and in the early 1980s Redexim began a relationship with UK distributor Charterhouse Turf Machinery. They manufactured specialised turf equipment such as the Rapidcore, Turf Tidy, Easy Spread, Overseeder and Level Spike, among others. Charterhouse distributed these products throughout Northern Europe and the UK under their own label, and also distributed this product range in North America through the Bunton Company until 1996.

Redexim and Charterhouse merged in the late 1990s as the result of a major recession in the UK. As the company grew they decided to expand their North American importer, Emerex, opening Redexim Charterhouse Inc in Pennsylvania in 1997. The company still operates their North American headquarters and continues to be a leader in developing specialised turf machinery.

Following from this Redexim Charterhouse purchased the UK company ProSeed — a maker of overseeding and core collecting machinery — and these products have been incorporated into the Redexim lines.

More recently, Redexim have recognised the need for machines to carry out maintenance on synthetic turf, and they now manufacture a complete range of machines to carry out this work.

Named the Verti Art series, these machines cover every aspect of synthetic turf maintenance — from basic brushing and raking, to more elaborate machines which disrupt, sweep and remove sand, rubber and debris from the profile; sieve, clean and then redistribute the cleaned material back into the profile.

The future looks bright for Redexim as they continually strive to meet the demands and needs of turf maintenance specialists globally.

However, an interesting twist to the Verti Drain story remains. Mr DeRidder and Mr DeBre, as childhood friends, made a promise to each other that if either of the two had reached their lofty dreams that they would help each other in an odd way.

Before Verti Drain had reached worldwide fame and success Mr DeRidder passed away and Mr DeBre inherited the rights to the machine. On his boyhood promise and handshake he has vowed to never sell the company and to see that the company stands as a tribute to his old friend.

Mr DeBre has interests in several manufacturing companies, accounting firms, and resort properties throughout Europe, and is involved in Dutch and American investing and banking firms.

However, Redexim remains the sentimental favourite.

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