“Discussion of the Rotary Power Mower (RPM) company history from 1946 – 1952”

“Discussion of the Rotary Power Mower (RPM) company history from 1946 – 1952”

Disclaimer:
I am a very poor writer/reporter/speller/document person/ and the list goes on, but I will take a shot at trying to present this information in a semi-clear manner and will try to hold the mistakes to a minimum.. .. ho ho.

In this discussion we plan to explore information about the Rotary Power Mower Company that was known to operate a manufacturing company from 1946-1952 to produce rotary powered mowers. There may have been other company names used while in Kansas City / Grandview and we will develop that hypothesis further on in this document.

The primary reason for beginning this post is that to date there has been very little information available over the years concerning the company and several of us would like to research certain historical information resources to better document a company that made a significant contribution to the industrial history of the USA.

In my research concerning RPM (1946 – 1952) and Lawn Boy (1952 – 1963) I have and am continuing to accumulate information from several sources including past employees of RPM, past employees of RPM and Lawn Boy during the “Lamar Mo Production Years “, printed literature including old advertisements, private collectors, people on this forum, and the list goes on and I want to thank everyone that has contributed and that will be contributing to these works as time goes on.

Unrelated to the history of the RPM Company and just to clarify the subject, the rotary powered mower was invented by Leonard Goodall. Goodall applied for his first patents. US Patent Office records show that he filed his first patent application on March 9, 1939. On July 23, 1940, the Patent Office granted a patent for a “Rotary Grass Cutter”.

Among some of the first pioneers in making contributions to advancement of the “rotary powered mower” as we know it today were RPM and Lawn Boy and we will explain the relationship of the 2 companies as this document’s time line is better explained.

A few of us that have worked on this document understand that we have a responsibility to present as many “facts” as possible and perhaps we can have an understanding that when possible we need to get two sources of validation before we call something a “fact “…….with that being said we will also probably make several mistakes in dates, personnel that worked during what time line, production information, etc. but we can take our best shot and then perhaps as we find more information concerning these aforementioned companies we can make historical information changes as need be.

I will begin with information that is currently on the web and that is known to be validated with effort to historical accuracy.

I am going to list these in numbered single sentences for the rough draft of the time line so that we can expand these as new information comes to the document. I am going to begin with the historical significance of the Lawn Boy name as a beginning of the affiliation with RPM:
1. A historical note on the Lawn Boy name: In 1934, the original Lawn-Boy lawn mower was manufactured by the Evinrude Company, becoming the first one-handed reel power mower introduced to the American public. source: http://www.lawnboy.com/about.html

2. A historical note on the invention of the rotary powered mower: Leonard Goodall filed his first patent application on March 9, 1939 and on July 23, 1940, the Patent Office granted a patent for a “Rotary Grass Cutter”.

3. I took this quote from the Lawn Boy site http://www.lawnboy.com/about.html 1946: Joel G. (Jack) Doyle built the first rotary lawnmower for the Rotary Power Mower Company of Kansas City, Missouri. Doyle accumulated large orders for these mowers from Sears Roebuck, Gambles, Spiegel, and other businesses. Evidently, the demand for this machine was thriving. I will let Bill explain in greater detail, but his father was a Lawn Boy dealer from 1955 – 1978 and I will let Bill pick it up from there.
Note: During my research I am accumulating information from several sources am getting information from several people on this forum and we thank them for their thoughts and facts, but especially from a gentleman who is on our forum and I want to give a special thanks to for helping with this document and his name is …. Bill Wehrheim. I will let Bill explain in greater detail, but his father was a Lawn Boy dealer from 1955 – 1978 and I will let Bill pick it up from there, but Bill has found certain documents that we would like to discuss from time to time within this research. The first of which is concerning the “actual name” of the first lawn mower company that Jack Doyle put together in 1946 …….. it may or may not have been called Rotary Power Mower……. There is also mention in some advertisements for his “Roto-Flo” and “Roto Trim” mowers that are also affiliated with the manufacturing name and again Bill and anyone else can pick up the conversation about the earliest name or names that were used at the 401 Independence Ave., Kansas City, MO address.

4. Is this correct?…….The first known physical address for the Rotary Power Mower Company (RPM) was on 401 Independence Ave. Kansas City, MO. (please see information in prior paragraph concerning other possible company names)

5……..we can work on the above subjects and add more later such as the manufacturing being moved from 401 Independence Ave. Kansas City, MO to Grandview, MO and then back to 401 Independence Ave. Kansas City………I have interviewed a former employee that worked beginning at the Grandview and then back to the KC address before moving to Lamar…….more to come.

In closing I think I mentioned that I am 64 and my father Everette Wyatt worked at RPM in Lamar and Lawn Boy in Lamar until they moved to plant to Galesburg, IL in 1963. Pop went to meet the Lord in 1998, but I have a lot of fond memories especially being in the Lawn Boy plant as a kid.

Over & Out ~ Dan

Current List of Lawn Boys:

1952 Lawn Boy Model 8FH11LB — (not home yet – may be a 1953?)
1955 Lawn Boy Model 8F20K —— 18″ push mower
1958 Lawn Boy Model 5200 ——- 18″ push mower
1960 Lawn Boy Model 8210 ——- 21″ self propelled mower
1961 Lawn Boy Model 1116 ——- Hobby Gardner tiller
1962 Lawn Boy Model 9211——-Loafer
1962 Lawn Boy Model 4300 ——- 24″ mower for Loafer
1962 Lawn Boy Model 5230 ——- 18″ push mower
1962 Lawn Boy Model 2010 ——- Gardner
1963 Lawn Boy Model 2010 ——- Gardner
1963 Lawn Boy Model 5231 ——- 18″ push mower
1967 Lawn Boy Model 5001 ——- 19″ push mower (5001 Special)
1970 Lawn Boy Model 1015 ——- Edger
1972 Lawn Boy Model 7260A —— 21″ push mower
1973 Lawn Boy Model 8250X —— 21″ self propelled
1974 Lawn Boy Model 5801 ——- 19″ push mower
1977 Lawn Boy Model 5084 ——- 19″ push mower
1977 Lawn Boy Model 8255 ——- 21″ self propelled
1978 Lawn Boy Model 5247 ——- 19″ push mower
///// Lawn Boy ?? / Johnson Air Buoy / Evinrude Aquanaut (year? – has brick motor – AH101E)

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