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Weed Wacker History


A weed wacker, also called a string trimmer or weed eater, is a handy tool with a flexible monofilament used to cut grass like a blade does. It consists of three main parts: the head, the long handle and the engine. Weed wackers are powered by gasoline. The engine is located at the opposite side from the head, whereas the electrically powered weed wackers have the electric motor at its head.


For a hundred years or more, overgrown gardens and lawns have been clipped painstakingly by the gardeners with the use of hand-held clippers. Not until the year 1972, a new creation was born. This was then called the Weed Eater.  It whipped grass with its quick rotating motion. The torment for a well-trimmed lawn had ended.

Weed Wacker Invention and Development

In 1972, a Houston businessman by the name of George Ballas, became inspired to invent a machine that would allow him to keep his three acres of lawn without the constant hassle of trimming. A thought popped out of his head once he was in a car wash. He observed the rotating bristles of the brush as it scrubbed the dirt off the car without causing scratches and damage to its finish. It was then that he had this brilliant idea.

Ballas made the first prototype with the use of a popcorn tin can, fishing lines made up of nylon and a gas-powered lawn edger. He was then fascinated on how neatly the fishing lines sliced through the grass. His invention became a revolution in grass cutting where nobody else needed to bear the distressing need for manual clipping.  After the first prototype’s proven success, he wanted to have a new design, safer than the prototype. He hired an engineer who made a model using a monofilament line instead of the wire-type fishing line. It also had an attached motor that is easier and lighter to hold. It was then called the Weed Eater. He also consulted some expert mechanic to create the first brand weed wacker. Some replicas are fuelled by gas while others are electrically powered. He made this name patented. When he was about to sell it to a manufacturer, no one had the interest to buy it from him. So he made the decision to sell the tool himself and founded the company Weed Eater Incorporated. He made public appearances in television advertisements. In the year 1976, Weed Eater Incorporated has an annual total gross earning of $40 million from sold gas and electric weed wackers. Other companies became aware of this and started introducing to the market their own type of weed wacker models. Major companies like the Hitachi group and the Black & Decker made innovations to their own weed wackers. By 1977, Ballas sold the Weed Eater patent to Electrolux.

Electric Powered Weed Wacker:

Among the three types of weed wackers is the one that work on electrical demand. It does not need oil or gas for it to function. This is called the electric powered weed wacker. The first electric powered weed was said to be invented by George Ballas and a hired engineer who made revisions from the first prototype during 1970s. But Black & Decker claimed to have invented the first electric powered weed wacker in 1970. There are still some issues regarding this matter. This type of weed wackers comes in a much lighter weight and smaller in size.  They are also very easy to handle. The only disadvantage of this type of weed wacker is the restriction of its electrical power wire. It can only be used for small yards or lawns and bigger ones need extension wires for it to operate.

Gas Powered Weed Wacker:

The gas powered weed wacker is also an invention of George Ballas and a hired engineer in the year 1971. This type of tool was traditionally utilized as a means to pull out stubborn plant overgrowths. For it to operate, it uses gas or oil refills. This type is considered the power horse of its kind. The gas powered weed wackers are more powerful and can accommodate more strings than the electric ones. Its operation scopes a wider range because it is not restricted by an electric cord. The only disadvantage for this type is its heaviness that makes it more difficult to handle than the electric ones.


Battery Operated Weed Wacker:

It is said that the inventor of all the types of weed wacker is George Ballas and the hired engineer in the year 1971. But others take claim for its invention. This type, the battery operated weed wacker is used until the present time. This is a rechargeable tool and helps a lot in noise and air pollution reduction compared to the other two types. It does not require the use of an electrical cord or oil and gas. For smaller areas, it gives more flexibility and also a handy device because of its light weight.


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