Cardinal Beginnings



In our early days, there were only two brothers, working hard to pay the bills and make ends meet.

Cardinal began in the year 2000 as Cardinal Portable Buildings, and no one foresaw the impact that this small partnership would have on the entire shed industry. Having grown up on a farm, both brothers had an inclination for engineering.

Frustrated by a lack of good delivery methods, they set out to discover a better way to deliver buildings. After months of research and prototyping, they produced a machine unlike anyone had ever seen before. They nicknamed it the Esel – the German form of Mule. But they weren’t finished yet. They continued to fine-tune and experiment with their creation, and finally a new machine came together. They called it Esel II.

By this time, the unique machine had attracted the attention of other shed builders, and the brothers began to hear of others who wished the machine were on the market. So they got to work again, this time producing a more cost-effective machine, along with a more pronounceable name. They called it the Mule III.

In 2006, the first production Mules were completed and sold. And the next several years confirmed the need as more and more shed haulers began utilizing the Mule. In 2008 the Mule IV entered the scene and quickly became extremely popular. The Mule V followed in 2011.

In 2014 the Mule V was updated and became known as the Mule 5HD. The Mule IV underwent a name-change to avoid confusion; it became known as the Mule 4HD.

In 2016 Mule 624T made its debut. Featuring tracks, this Mule caused a flood of excitement as more and more shed haulers chose it for its power and floatation. In September of 2018, we introduced the Mule 524, replacing the Mule 5HD. With all-new features such as High Torque Drive Hubs, Automatic Tracking, and On Board Diagnostics the Mule 524 offers you unprecedented power and flexibility with more than 97,000 in. lb. of axle torque. Later that year, the Mule 737T followed, the largest Mule ever produced – yet! Built to handle the toughest situations, it’s a life-saver for many shed haulers. And following the trend, the Mule 4HD was updated and reintroduced as the Mule 413, which remains highly popular with shed haulers.

Today, as always, our team of engineers is hard at work, creating new designs and developing innovative technologies. Who knows what will be around the next corner?

Esel II History


The Esel II – A History

This is where it all started... Well, not quite. The machine to move buildings started with an idea: the idea that there must be a better way to get buildings in tight, restricted locations than excessive sweat, pipes, winches, snatch blocks, jacks, etc. Those of you who were fortunate enough to have delivered buildings in that era will remember it well! Here is a bit of the history.

In 2000 Cardinal Buildings was born, the joint venture of two brothers, James and Steve Borntrager. In delivering those buildings throughout Southern Illinois we soon discovered a few major obstacles. First, many of our building customers picked the most difficult location on their property to have it placed. Either they actually needed it there, or they thought it would be interesting to give the delivery driver a real challenge for the day… Some of these really stretched our creativity before we got them set. Second was the weather. A few customers wanted their building on a certain day – rain or shine – and they expected us to deliver it with no damage to the yard. Other customers wanted to wait until it was totally dry and then have it delivered. Because of that, we had a large amount of buildings to deliver, but many customers deemed it too wet. And then, when it dried off, suddenly the phones would ring off the hook with customers requesting delivery their buildings immediately, before the next rain. And it was hard to schedule a day's deliveries because we never knew what challenges we would encounter.

So, the challenges increased, and with it, sometimes the patience decreased. We thought there had to be a better way. After some time, we decided we needed to do more than think about a different way; we needed to do something and find a better way. That was when the shed mover was envisioned. First, we thought there would be something on the market that we could retrofit to meet our needs, but we came up blank. So, having always enjoyed making new things, we made a list of the features we wanted on this machine, went to the shop and began fabricating. The first unit we built did not work, so what you see here is the second attempt at a shed mover.

This unit actually worked better than we had anticipated. Really, it worked better than it looked. To start with, it had no hoods and no paint; just an ugly contraption with wheels and a couple levers. I believe some of our building dealers were embarrassed with the thing. Later, after we determined it would work, we brought it back in and fixed it up as you see now. We used it a number of years to set many buildings, saving us untold hours and sweat. But, after designing newer and improved models, this unit was set into a corner where it collected dust until recently, when it was dug out and resurrected to its current state- just a reminder to all of us of where it all began…