Who Invented the Weed Eater


When you’ve got a lot of trimming work to do, you could go outside with a set of old-fashioned grass clippers. That process is pretty time intensive, however, and does a number on your grip. George Ballas new that there had to be a better way. He was more of a marketer than an inventor, trying to sell early portable phones while running a dance studio as an instructor. The Weed Eater was by far his biggest hit. By 1976, it was selling $40 million annually. Not too bad for a veteran of World War II and Korea.

The Weed Eater was the “once in a lifetime invention” for George Ballas, so here is a look at some other revolutionary lawn care inventions.

1. No Mow Grass

One of the most routine chores that a lawn requires is a regular mowing when in season. If you’ve got a large yard or you just don’t like to get outside and mow, then you could tear up your lawn and put in some rocks. You might decide to install some of the new artificial turf that has a rubber underlayer. If neither option seems to tempting, then No Mow Grass is the invention you need. It’s real grass, a combination of centipede and creeping bluegrass, and it typically only grows to a total height of 3.5 inches.

2. Foot Pedal Starters

Getting a lawn mower or a weed whacker started can be a difficult task – especially if it is the first start of the season. The pull starting mechanism can be hard to pull, but that doesn’t change the fact that the lawn may need to be mowed. With the EZ Foot Pedal Starter, almost any walk-behind lawn mower and other lawn cutting device can have this invention mounted to it. Installed using clamps, body weight and leg strength start the mower instead of arm strength and pulling.

3. Remote Controlled Lawn Mowers

You could use a self-propelled lawn mower to limit the amount of pushing work that needs to be done, but why do that when you could sit on your porch with a glass of lemonade to mow the lawn? With the remote controlled lawn mowers and robotic lawn mowers that have been invented, the work out of this chore has been completely removed. Some mowers are just as wide as typical mowers – about 22 inches – and can receive a signal up to 2,000 feet away. Up to 4 acres of grass can be cut on just 1 gallon of fuel.

4. Grass Planters

Instead of rolling out sod, many of today’s grass lawns require plugs to be inserted into the ground in order to achieve the desired green effect. Instead of planting these by hand with a trowel, a grass planter helps to speed up the process. The average acre needs at least 40,000 plugs installed in order to be effective and the spacing needs to be exact and even. This helpful invention not only helps to plant the plugs quickly, but allows a user to quickly measure out how far apart each plug is to get the desired results.

History of Lawn Mowers