Turf & Rec

Toro celebrating 100th anniversary

January 28, 2014  By  Mike Jiggens

The Toro Company will celebrate a rare business milestone – achieving 100 years in business.  According to Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and chief executive officer, Toro attributes its longevity to, “the character of our people and channel partners, and their relentless commitment to serving our customers and building market leadership through innovation.”

Toro’s year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary provides an opportunity not only to look back on the company’s achievements, but also to recognize its employees – and to thank its channel partners and end-user customers around the world for their loyalty and trust in The Toro Company.

As Hoffman put it, “These same values that have been core throughout our first 100 years form the foundation for continued success into our next century.”

From the start, Toro built its legacy by understanding the needs of its customers and developing products and services to help them succeed.  This commitment to innovation is reflected in the more than 1,500 patents its employees around the world have earned over the years.  


In addition, Toro has developed strong networks of professional distributor, dealer and retailer partners across industries in more than 90 countries to provide local, expert, professional customer service.  For example, in 1922, Toro created the golf industry’s first national distributor network.  And, in 1934 as the business grew, Toro encouraged its distributors to establish dealers in areas the distributors’ staff could not effectively cover, providing local customer service that proved to be a competitive advantage.  

This commitment to customer service has been instrumental in Toro’s development of long-term relationships with golf courses, homeowners, professional contractors, agricultural growers, construction and rental companies, government and educational institutions – in addition to many premier sporting events, venues and historic sites around the world.  


When Toro celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1939, the company’s first president and co-founder John Samuel Clapper noted that the loyal service of Toro’s employees and distributors was the customers’ guarantee of a high-quality product.  As Hoffman summarized, “What was true 75 years ago when Mr. Clapper made his statement about Toro remains true today – the loyal service of our employees and channel partners is critical to our company’s success.”  

From developing new technologies to expanding into new markets, a timeline of the company’s many innovations and achievements is available at http://www.toro.com/100 – in addition to several highlights below, summarized by market:

    •    In 1918, Toro introduced its first product built specifically for golf, a power fairway roller based on a Bull tractor frame.
    •    In 1919, Toro was approached by the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis to create a motorized fairway mower to replace horse-drawn equipment. Mounting five lawn mowers onto the front of a farm tractor, Toro created the motorized golf course equipment industry.
    •    In 1923, Toro introduced the Sea Serpent fairway sprinkler system, making Toro the only company to offer a full line of both turf and irrigation equipment.
    •    In 1928, Toro unveiled the industry’s first all-electric-powered walk greens mower.
    •    In 1966, Toro introduced the Valve-In-Head Sprinkler, combining both the valve and sprinkler head as one, saving customers money and reducing installation and maintenance time.
    •    In 1972, Toro introduced its first all-hydraulic greens mower, the Greensmaster® 3.
    •    In 1989, the revolutionary Hydroject™ 3000 was the only cultivation tool to deeply aerate  compacted soils using high velocity water without impacting the turf’s surface.
    •    In 2010, Toro’s eFlex® was the industry’s first lithium ion battery-powered walk greens mower.

Professional contractor
    •    In 1924, Toro introduced its first power mower, the 30” Park Special walk-behind reel mower, the most successful early large commercial-grade walk mower.  
    •    In 1940, Toro introduced the 76-inch Professional, “the power mower with wings,” that revolutionized commercial mowing.  Additional 58” and 70” models were later added to appeal to both residential and commercial customers.
    •    In 1962, Toro acquired Moist-O-Matic, Inc., an irrigation equipment manufacturer in Riverside, CA, providing entry into the underground irrigation business.  
    •    In 1997, Toro launched the wheeled Dingo® compact utility loader, changing how landscape contractors do their job.
    •    In 2011, Toro provided landscape contractors with a line of turf renovation equipment, offering innovative tools for aerating, overseeding and dethatching.
    •    In 2012, Toro introduced the innovative EVOLUTION® irrigation controller with smart control and USB functionality for future upgrades.
    •    In 2013, Toro’s TurfMaster™ 30” created an all-new category of commercial walk power mowers.

Sports fields & grounds
    •    In 1928, Toro introduced the Silver Flash push reel mower, billed as “America’s finest hand lawn mower.”  It would become a mainstay with golf courses, cities and parks for many years.
    •    In 1930, at the request of The University of Minnesota, Toro built a power roller for their tennis courts. The Toro Power Roller proved to be a highly successful product for over three decades serving thousands of schools, golf courses, athletic clubs, professional sports venues, private and municipal street maintenance crews.
    •    In 1934, Toro’s Jupiter Large Capacity Sprinkler is introduced for golf courses, polo fields and other large turf area applications.
    •    In 1973, Toro introduced a new concept in commercial rotary mowing equipment – the all-hydraulic Groundsmaster® 72.
    •    In 2008, Toro introduced the all-new Toro® Groundsmaster® 5900 Series rotary mower, which mows an acre in less than five minutes.
    •    In 2010, pioneering an all-new mower category, Toro introduced the Groundsmaster® 360 rotary mower with Quad-Steer™ all-wheel steering.  

    •    In 1938, while homeowners have used other Toro power mowers for over a decade, the company introduced the Homelawn as its first power mower designed specifically for homeowners.  
    •    In 1952, Toro introduced its first homeowner snowthrower, the Snow Hound.
    •    In 1959, Toro introduced the revolutionary Wind Tunnel housing on rotary mowers to greatly enhance quality of cut and make bagging on rotary mowers possible for the first time.
    •    In 1986, Toro introduced a major innovation in snowblower performance – the Toro® CCR 2000 (Chuted Curved Rotor) technology that redefined single-stage performance.
    •    In 2008, Toro’s new Precision™ Series spray nozzles were recognized as one of the most significant breakthroughs in sprinkler nozzle technology in over 60 years.
    •    In 2011, Toro introduced the first-of-its-kind TimeMaster™ 30-inch walk-behind mower.
    •    In 2012, Toro’s Precision™ Soil Sensor became the first wireless moisture sensor for the residential irrigation market.
    •    In 2013, Toro introduced the Recycler® walk power mower with SmartStow™ feature that allows the machine to be stored vertically to significantly reduce the mower’s footprint.

Underground, construction and rental  
    •    In 2000, Toro introduced the Dingo® TX-compact utility loader. Providing a new product category, the Dingo TX offered professional contractors an easy, cost-effective replacement for hand labor in compact spaces.
    •    In 2010, Toro introduced the STX-26 hydraulic, tracked stump grinder marking the company’s entry into the tree care market.
    •    In 2012, Toro expanded its reach into the underground construction market by offering a lineup of concrete and masonry equipment, compaction products, vibratory plows, horizontal directional drills and riding trenchers.

    •    The company is founded in 1914 as The Toro Motor Company to build engines for the leading brand of farm tractors manufactured by The Bull Tractor Company.
    •    In 1919, the company introduced the Toro TO-RO Utility Tractor, the first Toro-branded product that enabled farmers to perform multiple tasks while saving time, money and labor.
    •    In 1996, Toro introduced Aqua-Traxx® drip tape to help growers more efficiently apply water resources.
    •    In 2012, Toro introduced its versatile Neptune™ dripline to help growers improve water efficiency for subsurface drip irrigation and semi-permanent crops.

People are invited to visit http://www.toro.com/100 to learn more about other Toro industry firsts and contribute their own Toro stories. They can also share their Toro memories on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/thetorocompany using the hashtag #Toro100 , and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/toro.company .

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