Who invented the ZTR?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LarryF, May 21, 2007.

  1. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,181

    Does anyone have the real story? I've heard of credit having been given to various companies such as Hustler, Dixon, Swisher and Ferris, but generally they are all just one-line statements accompanied with little fact. Can any of you point to a credible documented history of how the design of the rider ZTR that all of us are familiar with today came to be?
  2. 69lt1bird

    69lt1bird LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

  3. dhardin53

    dhardin53 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    My father in law worked for a original Snapper distributer that was connected/friends with Mr Evans/Dixie Chopper inventor.

    I was told by theses connected people the Dixon came up with the concept of Zero turn and coined the term ZTR and copyright it. There first machine (the cone clutch) was not well received by the consumer of a long time, but they slowly held there ground and is still doing well. It was said that Dixon got its concept from the early Snapper rear engine riders that had individual brakes for the back tires, to drive a mower with cone clutch to control the steering. The patten ran out but not the copyright ZTR. For any manufacture to call their machine a ZTR they have to pay to use the Frase ZTR to Dixon. The commercial Z as we know it today was designed,improved to hold up by Art Evens of Dixie Chopper. He was involved with a maker of ZTR (supposedly Dixon) and was asked to make a machine that the commercial user would not tear up in tough day to day use but a LCO friend. at this time there was lot of makers of big commercial machines working on z type technology. Yazoo and Toro and a few others was very close to building the better larger commercial golf course type riders that could turn nearly ZTR but was not using dual hydros yet.
    I cant remember the first Dixon that came out but it was in the 60s some time I think.The distributer that my father inlaw worked for sold and distributed Snapper from day one, and Dixon from there start date as well. Dixie Chopper started in the lates 70s or early 80s.

    Its kind of funny now but at the time I did not have a clue that in this small town In Central Illinois that Snapper, Dixon and Art Evans from Indian (DC) as well as one of the original Bach told Mower distributorship's got there foot hold and mid west distibutorships..

    Mr Swisher claimed the first self propelled walk behind and later the 3 wheeler the could turn like a z but was puled by the front wheel and you turned the steering wheel to revers.

    I may be wrong, And welcome any other information to clarify the dates and manufactures.
  4. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    NO NO NO ..........ya got it all wrong....

    Mr. Zane Thommas Richard did...........

    now how the F^&* do I kno,,, and WHY do I care ?
  5. dbear

    dbear LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    My guess would have been Al Gore...
  6. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    Before the Internet thing
  7. davidcalhoun

    davidcalhoun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,045

    I will give credit to Dixon and Dixie for being the first to have a mid-mount design. Most of the others where a front-mount design back then.
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Now that there's funny...I don't care WHO ya are! :laugh:

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