Truth be told, our roots go deeper than anyone else.

In fact, our history goes back over 120 years. From the Victorian era to World War II to the second suburban boom of the 1970s, we’ve been around for nearly every industrial revolution in America. Our story is what makes Earthwise so wise. From day one, we built the business around providing a cleaner and greener option for maintaining America’s lawns.

Celebrating over 120 years of history

1895 to 2017

Affordable & Handmade in Indiana.

American Lawn Mower Company was formed as a partnership and introduced its first model in Richmond, Indiana. The partnership included Robert B. Kersey, the grandfather of the current president. A 1895 price list for eight models listed the product from $2.20 to $4.75 each

A price point of $2.20 to $4.75 would be about $61 to $133 today. An average worker would have to work 9 to 18 hours to afford one of these mowers.

A Reel Show at the World's Fair

Scene at the Chicago world’s fair grounds.
Our lawn mowers at work on the beautiful basin lawns in front of the agricultural building.

American moved to Muncie, Indiana, where it continued to manufacture a complete line of reel lawn mowers.

An architect's drawing of the American Lawn Mower headquarters in Muncie, Indiana, U.S.A.

Great States Corporation

In 1923 Great States Coporation was chartered in Richmond, Indiana. The company was formed to manufacture autombile accessories.

In 1925, Great States began producing hand mowers. Business was so good that the company discontinued manufacturing automobile parts. Without gasoline or electric -powered engines, pre-World War II America used only reel mowers to cut lawns.

In 1932, Great States moved to Shelbyville, Indiana, into the Conrey-Davis Furniture Company plant on Webster Street, where it is still located.

An early ad featuring American Lawn Mower reel mowers.

American Lawn and Great States Unite

In 1936, American Lawn Mower Company acquired the Great States Corporation in Shelbyville, which also produced reel lawn mowers.

The merging of these two companies continues to stand strong, and is one of the big reasons why American Lawn mower still exists today.

Post War Boom Creates Reel Mower Bust

The reel mower business sustained nearly 60 manufacturers and boomed until the post war era. With increased industrialization, came power rotary mowers. For a short time prior to 1950. American /Great States produced power reel mowers to ride out the post war decline in the market and after that time continued to manufacture reel mowers. By 1953, power mower sales surpassed reel mower sales, and most reel mower manufacturers went of business.

American/Great States was able to survive largely because the family who owned the business also owned an iron foundry where they could get cast iron mower components inexpensively.

Factory workers stand by newly created reels soon to be assembled

Only One in Four Survived

The number of domestic competitors manufacturing hand reel lawn mowers dropped from nearly 60 in 1953 to less than 10 in 1963. Only three to four reel mower companies survived. American/Great States was faced with very stiff foreign competition from British manufacturers.

A New Market Begins to Emerge

Business continued to shrink, so the company introduced two limited lines of garden cultivators to expand their market. Production dwindled on these until they were discontinued in the early 1990’s. The company endured. A resurgence was waiting in the wings. Increased land costs, expansion of leisure opportunities and a desire to spend less time cutting grass led many Americans to build homes on small lots or to buy low-maintenance condominiums. Soon a new market became available.

American Lawn Mower magazine advertisement from the 1980's.

Where we are today

  • In 2006, we launched our electric powered series of mowers and lawn tools called Earthwise. To continue our commitment to being the 'Clean Air Choice' for America we wanted to be sure we not only appealed to those with small lawns perfect for reel mowers, but those with larger lawns and an appetite for powerful lawn tools. 

  • To this day, we will create reel mowers and sell them both online and in many major retailers. Moving forward our goals are set on being the first choice in eco-friendly lawn care while continuing to innovate our products to be more powerful, quieter and cleaner than ever before.