After World War II, Georgia businessman William R. Smith saw the growth of suburbs and predicted an increased need for lawn care. He bought a patent for a rotary-blade mower and produced the first “Snappin’ Turtle” in 1951.
The Snapper, as it became known, featured covered blades and an engine, making it safer and easier to push than previous mowers. Within a month, Snapper built nearly 4,000 mowers to meet skyrocketing demand. Snapper quickly filed nearly 50 patents, enhancing mower design. In 1954, it moved into a large plant in McDonough, Ga. Soon after, it started manufacturing riding mowers.