Universal Mobility, Inc., timeline

1923 – Hendrik “Hank” Pater is born on January 3, in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

1950 circa – Pater emigrates from Rotterdam to Provo, Utah and later moves to Salt Lake City, Utah.

1956 – Pater founds Steel Contractors, Inc. (SCI) of Salt Lake City, Utah, a steel fabrication company.

1960 – Pater establishes Advanced Welding Engineers (AWE), in Salt Lake City, Utah, an engineering firm.

1963 circa – AWE merges with SCI, forming the new Steel Contractors, Inc. (SCI).

1967 circa – Hank Pater leaves leadership position at SCI to form monorail company Constam Corporation.

1967 – Constam receives contract to build minirail system at California Exposition from Habegger Engineering Works. SCI receives contract to fabricate the steel for the system.

1968 – Cal Expo minirail system opens.

1968 – Constam wins bid to construct a second minirail system in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

1969 – Constam reorganizes into Universal Mobility, Incorporated (UMI), with Hank Pater as president. They also operate under the name Unimobil / Habegger and the minirail system is retroactively named Unimobil Type II.

1969 – Minirail system opens at Hershey, called Monorail.

1970 – UMI is contracted to build a minirail system for Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.

1971 – Metro, Magic Mountain’s minirail system opens.

1972 – UMI begins selling a new system – Unimobil Tourister Type II.

1973 – First Tourister system is installed at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina.

1974 – Second Tourister system is installed at Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio.

1975 – Third Tourister system is installed at Kings Dominion near Richmond, Virginia.

1975 circa – UMI subcontracts production of fiberglass components to local Salt Lake City company Intermountain Design Incorporated.

1977 – UMI wins a contract to build a Tourister system at Minnesota Zoological Gardens (MZG).

1979 – UMI participates in a winterization demonstration test between 1979 and 1981 with their Tourister system for MZG.

1979 – Only part of the fourth Tourister system opens at MZG.

1980 – The full Tourister system opens at MZG, but to little fanfare. One Tourister train stalls and the engine sparked and smoked early in the season, giving the ride a further bad reputation.

1981 – UMI is contracted to build a Tourister system at Metrozoo in Miami, due to open in 1982.

1981 – UMI contracts Budd Company of Detroit, Michigan to build part of the Metrozoo ride.

1982 – UMI and Budd Company create a joint venture company to win a contract to build a Tourister system at the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition. This company is named Unimobile 84, Inc., with Hank Pater as president.

1982 –  The fifth Tourister system opens in December 1982 at Metrozoo, Miami.

1982 – Louisiana World Exposition (LWE) organizers award the monorail project to Unimobile 84.

1984 – The sixth and final Tourister system opens at LWE. It is the most popular ride at the fair, initially free of charge.

1984 – Due to a lack of attendance, LWE falls behind on payments to Unimobile 84. The two reach an agreement which involves the Tourister system having a 1 dollar fare and Unimobile 84 getting money off the top from attendance revenues.

1984 – LWE misses further payments and becomes the first sanctioned world’s fair event to declare bankruptcy.

1985 – Unimobile 84 tries to sue LWE organizers personally to get money.

1986 – The lawsuit fails in court, being rejected by the Federal Court of Appeals.

1989 – Universal Mobility, Inc., is bought by Transportation Group, Inc., of Orlando, Florida, a subsidiary of Bombardier, Incorporated.

1999 – Hank Pater passes away on February 4 at the age of 76.

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