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1950S Snapper

old vintage snapper

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#1 VintageIronCollector ONLINE  

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Posted September 06, 2013 - 02:57 PM

How rare is a 1950s Snapper? How much are they worth in runnng mowing condition?



#2 Bruce Dorsi ONLINE  

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Posted September 06, 2013 - 05:35 PM

Need more info as to which model you are asking about.

 

Rider?  ....Walker?  .....Push mower?  .....Self-propelled Snappin' Turtle?

 

If it's a rider, I don't believe Snapper made any in the 1950's.



#3 VintageIronCollector ONLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2013 - 10:16 AM

It's a rider but maybe then it's the early 1960s.



#4 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2013 - 12:49 PM

I found this doing a web search, it's been quoted from another site that I can't get to open now. but here it is. It still doesn't answer the question when the "Comet" was first built. I would like to know also as I used to mow my Grand Paw's yard with an old "Comet 30"  that had to have been built in the late 50's to early 60's, neat little mower that would turn on a dime.

 

McDonough, GA It's always been about blades. Whether it was honing blades to cut down Georgia pines or developing revolutionary lawn mower blades—Snapper's roots cut deep into the Georgia soil.

The Snapper story began before the turn of the last century when most lawnmowers were livestock. Frank Ohien and Clarence Chaffe founded what is now Snapper, Inc. in 1890.

Incorporated as Southern Saw Works on November 1, 1894, by then owner Isaac Boyd, the company made circular saws for the growing Georgia lumber industry. For almost 60 years, as lumber prospered, so did Southern Saw.

But by 1949, saw making was an industry in decline. William R. Smith, who then owned Southern Saw, watched as green lawns replaced towering pines. Smith, seeing opportunity, made an insightful decision to enter the lawn mower industry. He purchased the patents of "Snappin' Turtle" mowers, one of the first rotary mowers, then being built in Florida. Actual Georgia production began in East Point in January 1951, when 16 of the unique mowers were shipped. By the end of 1951, a total of 3,975 mowers were manufactured and delivered throughout the United States. Several of these first mowers are on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, and the Atlanta History Museum.

In the early 1950s, lawn mowers were a "growing" business. Although the first mowers were English-made push reel mowers, Americans took the design one step further adding newly developed small engines to reel mowers. During the 1950s and 1960s, as lawn sizes grew from the postage lots in the city to the half-acre or more lots of the suburbs, homeowners were spending more of their recreation time mowing grass. Power reel mowers, though widely available, were expensive, heavy and awkward to handle. Their open reel made safety a continuing concern.

On January 16, 1951, Snapper introduced its "Snappin' Turtle," the first self-propelled rotary mower. Its smaller, lighter engine and safe, covered blade revolutionized the industry. A lower, more compact body made with new, less expensive yet stronger materials brought the price to a reasonable level. The rotary mower became as common as a garden spade.

As the mower business grew, the saw business waned. Soon, lawnmower manufacturing replaced saw production in the plant. Even so, by 1954 the East Point plant could grow no further. The decision was made to merge Southern Saw Works and the McDonough Foundry & Machine Works and move the entire operation to McDonough in Henry County. McDonough Foundry & Machine Works, a supplier to Southern Saw, was organized in 1946 to produce iron castings and textile machinery. The merger of the two manufacturers created a new company known as McDonough Power Equipment.

Snapper mowers were leading a new revolution in lawn care equipment, and McDonough Power was growing with this revolution. Innovations in power mowers and accessories, many designed by Snapper, fueled the growth of rotary mowers and McDonough Power's line of consumer products. In fact, Snapper owns 44 patents for innovations in safety, deck design and transmissions.

As lawns got bigger and leisure time got shorter, even self-propelled walk behind mowers couldn't cut it fast enough. So Snapper engineers designed and produced one of its most lauded innovations, the Snapper rear engine-riding mower. A hybrid of sorts, it gave consumers a machine priced between a walk behind mower and its more expensive cousin, the lawn tractor. The Snapper was built with an engine behind the operator so as not to obstruct the view of the mowing area and to keep the hot engine behind rather than in front of the operator. In its early production the Comet—named in the midst of the space race—replaced the traditional steering wheel with handlebars similar to those on a bicycle. Consumers loved them and even today, the company gets letters from homeowners who still proudly own and operate those mowers. At one time, Comet sales were more than 80 percent of McDonough Power transactions.

The success of the Comet and other products made Snapper an attractive acquisition, and in 1967, Snapper was purchased by Atlanta-based Fuqua Industries. The alliance provided Snapper with the capital to expand to a second manufacturing plant in Texas and continue the development of new and innovative additions to its product line, including lawn tractors in 1982 and rear-tine tillers and snowthrowers in 1983. Building on its growing product/name recognition, McDonough Power was renamed Snapper Power Equipment in 1982.

Between 1982 and 1987, Snapper was growing almost twice as fast as the industry. During 1985, the McDonough plant was building a mower every 52 seconds to keep up with demand. Commercial equipment was added to the Snapper mix in 1987 and the company used its years of creativity in the residential market to redefine the standards for commercial mowers.

But a downturn in the economy coupled with a nearly nationwide drought as well as the success of mass merchandisers and discounters caused difficulties for Snapper. As a result, sales stalled in the late 80s and early 90s. As the decade progressed, Snapper developed inventive products such as the hydrostatic rear engine rider and tractor and the Ninja® mulching system to answer consumer demands for better and more earth-friendly mowing systems.

On the administrative side, Metromedia International Group purchased Snapper's parent, Fuqua. But changes in the front office did not stop changes to the product line. In 1997, Snapper introduced its biggest innovation yet—the Yard Cruiser®. A variation of the rear engine rider, the Yard Cruiser® is a zero-turn radius mower providing the ultimate in comfort with single-hand, joystick steering and the best of the Snapper mowing tradition.

After 50 years, the company has grown to be a leader in the industry, with approximately 900 employees housed in nearly one million square feet of facilities in McDonough, Georgia. Major distribution centers outside of Georgia are located in Texas, Nevada and Ohio. Snapper products are sold nationwide and abroad through over 5,000 servicing dealers.

What started with a commitment to innovation and quality has persevered through the good and tough times. Now Snapper is prepared to start its second half-century with a renewed dedication to the ideals that have brought it to the new millennium. You might say Snapper is "Born To Mow."

 


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#5 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2013 - 01:37 PM

I have read someplace that Snapper introduced their first rear engine rider in 1954, but can't prove that yet.



#6 KBCraig OFFLINE  

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Posted September 07, 2013 - 08:20 PM

I saw a Snapper tractor for sale today. The styling said 1970s, but that article said they started making tractors in 1982.

 

I'll have to go back and look for more info.



#7 VintageIronCollector ONLINE  

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Posted September 10, 2013 - 03:44 PM

Yeah, it was a Comet.



#8 Guest_gravely-power_*

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Posted September 10, 2013 - 04:56 PM

Early Snappers that I have.

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