Weed eaters were invented by George C. Ballas, who founded a company by that name in 1971 in Houston, Texas. He arrived at the idea by observing the spinning nylon bristles of a car wash, figuring something similar could be used to protect tree bark when you trim around it.
His company was acquired by Emerson Electric. It was bought by Electrolux following a merger with Poulan. Electrolux’s outdoor equipment division became Husqvarna AB in 2006.
So what is a weed eater?
A weed eater, also called a string trimmer, weed-whip, line trimmer and strimmer depending on the English-speaking country you are in is a tool utilizing a flexible monofilament line to cut grass and plants instead of a blade on steep or irregular terrain. At the end of a long shaft, there is a cutting head with a handle and sometimes a shoulder strap.
How does a weed eater work? A line housed in a rotating reel is turned by centrifugal force. Some lines are shaped like a star that makes it easier to slash the material being cut. The line can cut large woody plants and shrubs.
When the line breaks off the reel is knocked on the ground so that part of the line extends to replace the worn part. Newer models are equipped to do this automatically. You control the speed of spinning by a handle trigger.
Some weed eaters are quite large and require two operators or two hands. These are referred to as brush cutters. They are made to enable attaching a metal blade instead of the line to cut heavier woody brush.
Common accessories of weed eaters include a device to replace the line with metal or plastic blades, a small chain saw, a hedge trimmer and a cultivator. Newer models don’t require any tools to mount accessories.
Electric edge weed eaters have the benefit of being very light, easy to operate and maneuver. On the downside, the length of power cord that can be used is a limiting factor, and they are usually not as strong and sturdy as gas engine weed eaters. Some new models of electric edge weed eaters are, however, able to provide comparable performance. If you are using a battery-powered unit, you will need to recharge it each time after use.
Weed eaters can be dangerous tools because they can cause debris like stones and rocks to fly in different directions and people can get hurt. This is why you should always wear a visor or safety glasses when operating a weed eater. A stone in the eye can cause permanent blindness. Keep in mind that passers-by are also at risk and make sure there is no one around. A weed eater can also inflict damage to cars and buildings, with an especially high risk of breaking windows.
Click here for an interesting comparison of the latest weed eaters on the market! It’s important to make an informed choice when buying such equipment. You must be sure you can operate it because this is a solid, useful device that you really need.