Like many American success stories, George Ballas’s story is one of seeing an opportunity and making the most of it. As an owner of a dance studio, Mister Ballas also loved his yard. He, like many proud keepers of their yard, also valued perfection and valued beauty. He desired professional landscaping and was a perfectionist.
Ballas Invented the Weed Whacker
Being the proud owner of a 2 acre land mass behind his house that also included over two hundred trees George Ballas found that finely trimming the grass around the roots was a difficult proposition. Ballas, unlike most homeowners dealing with this problem, felt that simply pulling the grass himself was not an efficient use of time and a huge use of effort and energy and sought a new solution to the problem.
One day in 1971 he was in a carwash where he witnessed the brushes come in from the side to scrub the dirt off the car. It was then that it hit him that perhaps a similar concept could be applied to removing grass from between tree roots, rocks and fences. It was on this day that the concept of the weed whacker was born.
By poking holes in a tin can and stringing fishing line through the hole, he then attached this to a rotary lawn edger. And just like that the weed whacker or Weed Eater was invented. While he was not a hard core lawn enthusiast, he did see the potential in the weed whacker and understood that people all over encountered the same landscaping problems. From there he started the Weed Eater Corporation and began its nationwide promotion. Eventually Emerson Electric purchased the company, which has led to many new models and designs, all built to suit certain needs.
The Weed Eater became a common household tool for those that value their lawn all over the globe. Being in every professional and amateur’s landscaping shed, it has become a staple of the industry.
Born in 1925, George Ballas died on June 25th, 201 at the age of 85. Having served in the military, operated his own dance studio, becoming a family man and inventing a tool that would change the landscaping industry, he truly deserved the nickname of “weed king.”