Sensation Lawn Mowers
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|Headquarters||Ralston, Nebraska, USA|
|Key people||Howard Phelps|
|Industry||Lawn and garden tractors|
Howard Phelps received patent number 2,265,545 on his mowing machine, which featured a rotary cutting blade direct driven electric industrial motor in 1941. The Sensation Lawn Mower Company was started by Howard and his wife Rosemary Rodman Phelps. Phelps designed a gasoline powered mower in 1944. Later during the 1950's a generation of snow blowers were developed under the name of Snow Blow. Phelps held patents on over 20 innovations in the lawn industry including the first for a rotary mower grass catcher U.S. patent number 2,855,744 in 1960.
In 1966 Phelps sold the company to local real estate agent Frank Rogers who in turn sold it to a group of Chicago investors headed by Carl Johnson the plant was moved to 16th and Evans Streets in North Omaha, Nebraska. The "Sensation Mike Bike" was named after Carl's son, Mike Johnson. In November 1982 the Sensation Lawn Mower Company was bought by Gilson Brothers, which is considered one of the founding industries of Wisconsin by researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Gilson Brothers' products were distinctive due to a bright orange and white color scheme. In 1988 Gilson was bought out by Lawnboy, which was acquired in 1989 by Toro.
Sensation brand lawn mowers are no longer produced but are still in use today. Mowers were available with the Sensation brand into the 1980s. The Sensation brand was preferred by many landscapers because to their perceived high-quality and apparent longevity. The mower was considered unique because of features such as greaseable wheels, thick cast aluminum decks, and some unique innovations like a cone-shaped metal crankshaft support which was purported to help prevent bending of the crankshaft.
- 1942 - Sensation Mower Inc. founded by Howard Phelps.
- 1966 - Phelps sells the company to local real estate agent Frank Rogers.
- 1967 - Rogers sells the company to a group of Chicago investors headed by Carl Johnson.
- 1982 - Sensation Lawn Mower Company was bought by Gilson Brothers.
- 1980s - Sensation Lawn Mowers cease to be sold.
- ^ "NSHS Historical Newsletterd, February 1998". http://www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/publicat/newsletr/feb98.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- ^ "Mowing Machine (Google Patents)". http://www.google.com/patents?id=-ZFiAAAAEBAJ. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- ^ "Gilson History", The Snow Blower Shop. Retrieved 7/1/08.
- ^ "Founding Industries of Wisconsin (Survey project)". University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. http://www.uwm.edu/Libraries/arch/findaids/uwmmss41.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- ^ "LawnBoy Brand History and Timeline". Lawn-Boy Corp.. http://www.lawnboy.com/about/history/index.html. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- "Sensation Mowers Users Group" - Includes information on restoration and usage.