1977–1980: The Walker Mower — Early Years

The Early Walker MowerFort Collins, CO (1977): After buying two rear-engine riding mowers to mow their personal residences and finding them to be cumbersome and slow, the Walkers went to work to design and build a lawn mower that was fast, easy to operate, and delivered a beautiful cut. What they came up with in 1977 was a compact tractor with a pre-manufactured deck and an 8HP engine. Because improvements were needed in steering and grass handling, in 1978, another prototype was built that incorporated different steering ideas and integrated the blower into the main chassis design. In 1979, a third prototype was built to incorporate hydrostatic transmissions, an 11HP engine, and an increased deck size that would now be Walker’s own design to incorporate a dual timed blade system with a gearbox drive.

The third prototype mower was shown at fairs and agricultural shows in 1979 and drew positive feedback, so in 1980, the decision was made to build 25 machines. It was an arduous task, but weld fixtures and hand tooling were completed, and Dean and a handful of employees from the cooler business completed the machines late in the year. In 1981, no mowers were produced, but the few that were carried over from the year before were sold. Around this time, Max and Margaret began to drive around the United States to demonstrate the mower. While on one trip ending up in Florida, Max received two orders for a total of 100 tractors, so he sold his two demo mowers and trailer and came home.

In 1982, one and half mowers a day were produced to make 125 tractors for the year. This was just in time to make the leap into mower production, as the cooler contract ended in 1983.  

 Walker Mower 1977 Walker Mower Production Team Testing the early Walker Mower
1977: The First Walker Mower with Bob’s daughter at the controls   The first mower production team Even without a deck, Dean made sure the steering was precise


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