The other day I came home and announced that I wanted to buy a Weed Whacker. The hubby naturally looked at me as if I lost my mind. Once I was able to convince him that I was still sane and not only wanted, but had actual need for a Weed Whacker, he made me do some research. Sigh. I would have ran down to the hardware store as fast as I could and picked one to that looked pretty and was lightweight and brought it home. He stopped me from that and I did the internet search thing.
I learned a lot about weed whackers on the internet. I learned that some of them are quite heavy. Too heavy for this little woman. . Some whackers are battery powered. That sounds very cool until you learn that the batteries do not come with the weed whacker nor does the chargers. In fact, you do not even get a power cord with the electric one. The husband knew that one I did not. I would have been surprised when I got home and found that I had to go back and get a cord. The gasoline-powered ones are the heaviest and since I was not planning to whack the back forty, I forgot about them quickly. I read so much on the internet about weed whackers that I started to get confused. I went down with husband in tow to the hardware store where I picked up the Black and Decker Line trimmer that I had previously picked out. Well it was one of three choices; the other two happen to be out of stock or no longer carried by that store. I wanted to buy one that the store DID carry. Even in the age of Amazon Prime, order it and it is there like tomorrow, I still never want to wait. I want to run down to the store and pick up replacement line.
For those who know me you know that there is no way I would not want to know more about these machines. I mean, they are genius machines. They work on the principal of centrifugal force, where the engine speed is fast enough to hold the monofilament line out stiffly enough to cut through grasses and small plants. The machines are actually called String Trimmers. People know them, however, as Weed Whackers, Weed Eaters, Whipper Snippers, Weed Whips, Edge Trimmers, Line Trimmers, and Strimmers. Whipper Snippers has a ring to it don’t you think?
The guy that came up with this machine is George Ballas of Houston, Texas. One day while watching brushes spin at a car wash the Angel of Invention hit him with the idea of a weed eater. He attached heavy fishing line to a popcorn can attached to his trimmer. He did call it a weed eater because it chewed up the weeds. . He had shopped out his idea for the weed whacker to several companies but all rejected him, so he produced it himself. Eventually he sold it to Emerson electric company.
Now just so you know George himself was the son of Greek Immigrants and was a soldier in the US Army. In 1942, He enlisted at the age of 17 and became a bombardier in World War II. He would also serve in the Korean War. Mr. Ballas had five children and his grandchild, Mark Ballast, was a dancer and choreographer on Dancing with the Stars. Mr. Ballas also taught entrepreneurship at Rice University in Houston. He continued to come up with new inventions, and even marketed a football-helmet-sized portable phone. George Ballas passed in 2011 at the age of 85