A spark flew and a legend was born. It was 1933 and their Brillion Iron Works was gone. They had worked hard over the course of 40 years to build that business – only to close it when times got tough during the Great Depression.
But Henry Ariens and his three sons were not deterred by losing the foundry just a few years earlier. They still had plenty of inventive ideas and a simple but sturdy garage in which to turn their plans into reality.
With a $1,500 loan borrowed against Henry's life insurance policy and another $1,500 raised by selling shares of stock to a family member, the four men got back to work...
Ariens Company began when Henry Ariens and his three sons – Steve, Leon and Francis –developed the first American-made rotary tiller at a time when other manufacturers were experimenting with imported tillers. It took many years of experimentation, education and perseverance before rotary tilling became accepted as a proven agricultural tool. The Ariens family conducted educational programs to teach commercial growers, nurserymen and landscapers how the new Ariens Model A Tiller, powered with an air-cooled engine, "plows as it discs as it harrows."
Many commercial tiller models followed, all aimed at improving output for vegetable growers around the country. Ariens Company introduced the more compact Model B Tiller, the Roller-Tiller, the Multi-Tiller Tractor Tiller, the Jitterbug single-row front rotary tiller and the Tillivator RC for celery growers in Florida.
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Selected Highlights from the Ariens Company History:
Built first rotary tiller in Henry Ariens' garage.
Received U.S. Army Ordinance Award for crisis manufacturing.
Entered lawn and garden market with three consumer products, including riding mower.
Introduced Sno-Thro® machines.
Built new 23,000-square ft. manufacturing plant.
Built new fabrication plant.
Entered commercial market with acquisition of Gravely.
Acquired Stens Corporation, OPE parts supplier.
Introduced Lean manufacturing principles to improve manufacturing efficiencies.
Opened the Ariens company museum in Brillion, Wis., marking the company's 70th anniversary.
Celebrated the production of the 2 millionth Sno-Thro® machine.
Invested $6.5 million to support manufacturing and training facility upgrades.
Acquired the following: Locke Turf, National Mower and Bynorm group of companies, one
of Australia's largest distributors of replacement parts.
Funded the Ariens Technology & Engineering Education Center at Brillion High School.
Employees conduct 1,000th kaizen event since 2001 aimed at improving efficiency
throughout the business.
Acquired the assets of the former Auburn Consolidated, Inc. (ACI) of Auburn Neb.,
including the EverRide and Great Dane brands of commercial mowing equipment.
Acquired J. Thomas, an online direct parts supplier based in Detroit, Mich.
Acquired Parker Company, a manufacturer of debris maintenance equipment including lawn sweepers and vacuums.
Acquired Countax Ltd., manufacturer of ride-on mowers located in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.
Introduced the AMP™ 24 Sno-Thro®, the first electric two-stage snow thrower.
Acquired Norwegian power equipment distributor, Søvde.
Invested in Plant 1 expansion to upgrade office space and R&D testing labs.
Acquired Norwegian after-market parts distributor, Norpower.