Comet has over sixty years of experience manufacturing high performance solutions for OEM and aftermarket applications with a wide variety of centrifugal industrial clutches, torque converters, belts, disc brakes and other components for industrial and commercial applications.
Certified Parts Corporation (CPC), based in Janesville, Wisconsin acquired Hoffco/Comet December 17, 2009. All manufacturing takes place in our 200,000+ sq. ft. plant in Edgerton, WI.
Ownership may have changed over the years, but Comet’s dedication to quality has not diminished.
Since 2009, Comet has grown its footprint in the global market to include worldwide distribution with partners in the UK, Canada, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Switzerland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Russia.
Along with the extensive manufacturing capabilities of OEM and aftermarket products, Comet’s other core competencies include the ability to offer customer solutions that require the use of 5-axis vertical mills, live tooling lathes and MIG (robotic and hand) welding. Advance broaching capabilities allow us to produce all sizes and orientations of keyways and splines. This equipment, combined with our manufacturing expertise complement our standard 3 axis CNC machines. As quality Control is critical to our manufacturing process, we have established full quality lab with CMM and universal gauging to ensure accuracy making Comet a go-to vendor for difficult OEM parts.
Comet’s commitment to quality is our highest priority.
The History of Hoffco
Brothers David Hoff and Stephen Hoff founded Hoffco in 1949, but the company had its roots in a century-old business owned by their father.
In the 1940’s, David and Stephen Hoff had the task of trimming grass and brush from the banks of “Stony Gulch” on the family property along Elkhorn Creek. Steve Hoff sought an easier way to handle the task and had the idea to combine a scythe with an outboard motor engine.
Working through their father’s company, the Hoff brothers introduced the portable power Scythette in 1949.
The brothers and their father founded Hoffco to handle the power tool business. From the Scythette, they developed attachments such as a brush saw, chain saw, rotary tiller, rotary trimmer and sickle bar cutter. The company also developed a chain saw, which it manufactured until the 1970’s.
Hoffco was the second-largest manufacturer of go-karts in the United States, and in 1960, the company began sponsoring go-kart racing teams in England and Italy.
The company employed 100 people and the Comet division was making clutches, brakes, axles and wheel assemblies
The Hoffs began patenting blade brake clutches for lawnmowers, long before the 1981 federal mandate requiring the safety feature on all lawnmowers.
Texan George Ballas came to the Hoffs seeking assistance with his invention, a monofilament trimmer, better known as the Weed Eater. Hoffco designed and built all the power Weed Eaters from 1972 to 1978, when the brand was sold to Emerson Electric.
Hoffco built a new addition for its Comet Industries division. The company was manufacturing more than 200 products and held more than 100 patents.
Stephen Hoff, one of the founding brothers, passed away.
The Tenax Corporation of Indianapolis bought Hoffco/Comet Industries.
David Hoff retired from Hoffco and later passed away in 2007.
Production expanded to include building cabs for construction and agricultural equipment and mini-bulldozers used in the forestry industry. The company also made parts and products for John Deere, Murray Corporation, Homelite and Snapper.
Tenax owner John Bratt announced the closing of the 60-year-old Hoffco/Comet.
Certified Parts Corporation purchased the Hoffco/Comet assets and immediately began relocating the assets to their Wisconsin facility, sourcing components from critical vendors to get Comet clutches in production again.
Hoffco/Comet, Certified Parts Corporation and Arctic Cat, a long-standing connection that has come full circle.
In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, Hoffco/Comet began a relationship with Arctic Cat, the Thief River Falls, MN manufacturer of snowmobiles, that would prove to be a fortuitous arrangement years later.
In 1982, Jim Grafft of Certified Parts Corporation (CPC) purchased the Arctic Cat tooling and brand names out of bankruptcy and immediately joined with a group of former customers, vendors and employees of Arctic Enterprises to put Arctic Cat snowmobiles back into production. During those early years of Arctic Cat, (while under the ownership of Janesville based Certified Parts Corporation), Arctic Cat and Certified Parts Corporation worked closely with the Hoff brothers and their Comet division. At the time, Comet was one of Arctic Cat’s leading vendors. During those years, Jim Grafft and the Hoff brothers worked to keep Comet at the forefront of snowmobile clutch technology.
Grafft sold the Arctic Cat franchise to ARCTCO and continued his relationship with Comet by distributing its line of clutches to CPC’s dealers and distributors, as well as other OEMs.
Today this association has come full circle with Certified Parts Corporation purchasing Comet in 2009. Comet continues to sell replacement clutches and service parts for Arctic Cat and other well-known OEM’s, both in the U.S. and the international market.
In 1936, E. Foster Salsbury co-developed the Salsbury Motor Glide, a scooter with an enclosed drive-train underneath the seat. His later development of the first continuous variable transmission (CVT) to be used on a scooter made his product such a success that he even tried to license the design internationally. This design defined the second generation of scooters worldwide, and inspired competition from Cushman and even Harley-Davidson.
The 1938 Salsbury Motor Glide scooter was equipped with a 1.5 hp Johnson engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This type of automatic transmission was adopted by most other motor scooter companies soon after Salsbury introduced it. It has been commonly used ever since on small vehicles ranging from mini bikes, go-karts and snowmobiles.
Engines on early Salsbury scooters were manufactured by Evinrude, Johnson and Lauson. In the 1930’s and 1940’s Lauson was making small and large gasoline engines, most of which were used for farming equipment.
Comet purchased Salsbury in 1993.