The History of the Weed Eater

Published: 05th June 2009
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In 1971, there was a man by the name of George Ballas who was trying to figure out a way to keep his yard neatly trimmed. Why at a car wash one day, he was inspired by the spinning nylon bristles to try an idea. He thought he could use something similar to trim his weeds with and it would not harm the bark of the trees that he was trimming around.



George got a tin can out of his trash and punched holes in it. He then threaded the holes with fishing line. George removed the blade of his lawn edging machine and bolted his tin can invention to the long shaft. This was the birth of the new product that George called the "Weed Eater".



Weed eaters can also be known as string trimmers or weed whackers. Most weed eaters are made with a long shaft extending from the motor with a handle at one end and the string mechanism at the other end. The string is made of plastic and revolves around at a very fast speed in order to cut the weeds. Weed Eaters are typically used to trim hedges, to edge sidewalks and to keep the yard trimmed and free from weeds.



By 1977, Weed Eater was a common household name wherever it was sold. Sales had reached $80 million dollars. In the late 1970s, the weed eater company merged with Poulan. Poulan has become a leading manufacturer gas, electric and battery operated outdoor equipment. They produce more lawn trimmers, blowers and chainsaws that any other company in the world. Poulan has a chainsaw factory in Nashville, Arkansas that is the largest of its kind in the world. This factory produces over 1 million chainsaws per year.



Weed eaters come in different sizes, shapes and are made for different purposes. Before purchasing one, you must first consider what your needs are for your lawn and what type of weeds you will be trimming. The weed eater should have enough power to meet these needs. Also, the comfort in using a weed eater should be considered. The weed eater should have a handle that can be gripped comfortably when in use.



The two main types of weed eaters that are available are electric and gas. The electric weed eaters are powered completely with electricity. This type is mostly used for smaller lawns as they do not have as much power as the gas weed eaters. Also, using an electric weed eater could become cumbersome. It can only be pulled around in the yard as far as the cord is long and an outlet would have to be available in a convenient place outside. As an advantage though, electric weed eaters are usually smaller than the gas type making it lighter in weight.



Gas weed eaters are the more powerful type and can not only cut more, but they also hold more string than the electric type. This type obliviously is powered with gas. Sometimes, depending on the type motor, there is a need for the gas to be mixed with oil. Gas weed eaters are not restricted by a cord; therefore they can be used in more places than the electric type. They are usually much heavier than the electric type and are a little more costly to use because of the need for gas and oil. The original purchase of a gas weed eater is also typically more costly than that of the electric type.



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