Dance Studio Owner Invented Weed Eater

on Jun 30 in Yard News

George Ballas got his big idea after a poisonous snake bit a worker who was trimming his lawn with shears. The idea turned an old popcorn can, some wires and an edger into the Weed Eater.

Mr. Ballas, who died Saturday at age 85, was a dance instructor, developer, inventor and marketer who built hotels, patented an adjustable table and marketed an early portable phone.

But it was the Weed Eater—of which he invented both the concept and the name—that made him a fortune while sparking a revolution in lawn care. Mr. Ballas introduced the device in the early 1970s and by 1976 was selling $40 million worth of them annually.

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