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January 29, 2017

Rotary Lawn Mower, Invented in Warrensburg by Leonard B. Goodall - Max Swisher invented first self-propelled mower, Leeton, MO


The Rotary Power Mower And Its Inventor: 
Leonard B. Goodall
Leonard B. Goodall in his workshop, about 1945, Warrensburg, Missouri
Born May 11, 1895 died July 1, 1971
Pansy Eula Goodall November 17, 1905  Died May 1983, Stover, Missouri
Goodall Manufacturing Corporation Warrensburg, Mo.
Viva Goodall is the model
Patent Goodall Mower, Warrensburg, MO
Goodall Mfg. Co, Warrensburg, Missouri
First Rotary Lawn Mower, Goodall Mfg. Co, Warrensburg, MO
Video Link Goodall Mower Youtube
Lauson-Goodall Mower Motor Youtube
Goodall Lauson Restoration Video
Leonard Goodall on the left with a 1941 model, standing with his partner, Charles S. (Sam) Baston, who has a 1956 model. The buildings in the background are the company buildings behind the Goodall home on East Market Street. Source: Garrett R. Crouch of Warrensburg, Missouri
December/January 1993
http://gasengine.farmcollector.com/Farm-Life/The-Rotary-Power-Mower-And-Its-Inventor-Leonard-B-Goodall.aspx
Leonard E. Goodall
Reprinted with permission from, Missouri Historical Review, April 1992, The State Historical Society of Missouri, 1020 Lowry Street Columbia, Missouri 65201
Consumers Union celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1986 by publishing a special commemorative book, I'll Buy That, in which it identified fifty twentieth-century inventions that had 'revolutionized the lives of consumers.'1 One of the fifty, the rotary power lawn mower, originated in the basement of a house on East Market Street in Warrensburg, Missouri, where Leonard B. Goodall lived and developed the mower. His work represents the story of an individual who saw a need and, with the spirit of an entrepreneur, set out to meet it.
Immediately after World War II, an important part of the American Dream included owning a home with a yard and, perhaps, even a white picket fence. Just as air-conditioning allowed people to live comfortably in warm climates. Goodall's mower enabled individuals to maintain relatively large lawns in a neat and attractive fashion.
Prior to the invention of the rotary mower, mowers were of the reel type. They could not cut high grass, which made it difficult for individuals to push them long enough to mow a large yard. As long as most people lived in cities or on farms, this presented no problem. City dwellers had either no yards or only small ones, and farm animals served as 'mowers' for rural inhabitants. The post-World War II suburbanization movement created a great need for a mower that could be used on large lawns, and Goodall's rotary power mower responded to that need.
Born to farmers in Delphos, Kansas, on November 17, 1895, Leonard B. Goodall grew up in the rural and small-town atmosphere of central Kansas. Although he completed only eight grades, he had a curious mind about mechanical matters a curiosity that remained with him throughout his life and dominated his professional activities and work habits.
As a teenager, Goodall attempted to repair a tractor with open drive while the engine ran. The vibration caused the tractor to jump into gear. His left leg caught in the gears, necessitating its amputation. This tragedy later had a dramatic impact on his life. The handicap and his resulting inability to push a reel-type mower caused him to seek another approach to lawn mowing.
As a young man, Goodall moved to Salina, Kansas, where he married, and he fathered a daughter, Viva. The marriage ended in divorce, and in the mid 1920s he moved to Kansas City, Missouri. His curiosity had led him to develop a strong interest in two technological advances still in their infancy in the 1920sthe radio and the automobile. He had read and studied all that he could find about them.
While looking for a job, Goodall responded to an advertisement in the Kansas City Star for a radio repairman at the College Store, a privately owned book and school materials store in Warrensburg, Missouri. The exact date of this move is unknown, but his family believes it occurred about 1927. Although he knew little about repairing radios, neither did anyone else, and the College Store hired him. He moved to Warrensburg, found a single room in a rooming house on West Culton and began work. The owner of the store, Kenneth Robinson, became a lifelong friend, and Robinson's son-in-law, Garrett Crouch, later served as Goodall's attorney and as attorney for the Goodall Manufacturing Company.
Soon after moving to Warrensburg, two important events occurred in Good-all's life. First, he met Eula Johnson, a waitress in the Estes Hotel coffee shop where he ate regularly. She would later become his wife. Second, he became friends with Stanford McCann, an employee at the Ford dealership. McCann helped Goodall get a job there, and he soon left the College Store to work for Theodore Shock, owner of the Ford dealership. Goodall served first as a mechanic and later as shop foreman, a position he held through the years of the depression and into the late 1930s.
This advertisement for Goodall mowers appeared in the Kansas City Star on March 23, 1947.
On May 11, 1929, he married Eula Johnson, and they soon built a small two-bedroom bungalow at 444 East Market, a home they occupied until his death in 1971. The basement of that house became Goodall's first workshop, and the Goodall Corporation buildings were later built in the back yard and on a vacant lot next door.
After marrying, Goodall settled down to weather the depression. In addition to his regular job at the Ford dealership, he spent most evenings working at home on products that would enhance his income. He designed and manufactured two items that became locally popular. The first jigsaw puzzle she made by pasting pictures on thin plywood and then carefully cutting each piece with his saw. His unique way of cutting the pieces allowed the puzzle to be picked up. After the puzzle was put together, one could pick it up by a corner, and the pieces would stay together. (This feature may have had little practical application, but Goodall was quite proud of it anyway!) The puzzles served two purposes. He sold some, and he took others to the College Store, where they were rented to the public at ten cents per puzzle.
His other product was inlaid wooden lamps. He glued various kinds of wood together and then used his lathe to form the glued masses into attractive lamps. The pieces of wood then appeared as designs. The puzzles and the lamps supplemented the family income and provided an outlet for Goodall's creative energies.
The Goodalls also started their own business during the depression. When the Estes Coffee Shop developed financial difficulties, they took it over. Eula doubled as owner/manager as well as a waitress, and Goodall continued to work at the Ford dealership. After he opened the restaurant at 6:00 a.m., Eula came in a bit later to oversee the breakfast hour. By 8:00, Leonard was at his Ford job. He returned to help close the restaurant in the evening at 9:00. Leonard and Eula believed in the work ethic; the restaurant closed only one day a year on Christmas. They operated the restaurant until 1941 and then sold it to devote more time to the mower business.
The Goodalls' only child, Leonard Edwin, was born in 1937.
The puzzles, the lamps and the coffee shop did not take all of Goodall's attention during this period. He began to spend evenings, after closing the coffee shop, working on the first rotary power lawn mower. His large yard was difficult to cut with a reel mower, and Goodall's artificial leg further hindered his pushing.
He first directed his efforts toward making the reel mower more efficient. He attempted to mount a blade on a bracket on the front of a reel mower. To be run by a pulley from the reel, it was to spin and cut the tallest grass, leaving only the short grass to be cut by the regular blade. It was, however, still manually powered. Now the new blade as well as the regular reel had to be turned by the person pushing the mower. Goodall soon decided this was not a promising solution to the problem of lawn mowing.
Next, he placed the rotary blade beneath a metal frame and mounted an engine on top of the frame and two wheels on the sides. He then used a belt with a ninety-degree twist to run from the engine to the shaft that came up through the frame from the blade. This enabled the engine to power the blade.
As Goodall experimented with making a rotary mower, he rejected two ideas quite early in the process. First, he did not like electric motors. He believed they did not have enough power, and he disliked having a long electric cord running to the mower. He was concerned that the cord would be accidentally cut and that an individual would be shocked, or worse. Therefore, he decided to use a gasoline engine to propel his mower.
Second, as he worked with small gasoline engines, he became unhappy with having to run a belt from the engine to the shaft on which the blade was mounted. What he developed and what he believed to be his major contribution to the technology of power mowers was the vertical direct drive rotary power mower.
He turned the engine on its side so that the crankshaft was vertical. He then mounted the engine so that the crankshaft protruded through the frame, with the lower end of the crankshaft exposed beneath. He attached the blade directly to the lower end of the crankshaft, which now extended below the frame.
He appeared most proud of this particular innovation. When asked what was unique about his mower, he would reply that it was a 'vertical crankshaft mower' or a 'vertical direct drive power mower'a characteristic more important to him than that it was a 'rotary power mower.' The use of the engine made it a power mower, and the use of a belt with a quarter turn enabled the blade to rotate beneath the frame, an improvement over the reel-type mower. He considered mounting the blade directly on the lower end of the crankshaft to be his most valuable contribution to the technology of the lawn mower.
By the late 1930s, Goodall believed that the mower was sufficiently well developed to market commercially. He had ideas but no money to start a business and begin production. After finding the banks uninterested in such a project, he looked for other sources. A local businessman and insurance agent, Charles S. 'Sam' Baston, and a business associate of Baston's, Hardy Wray, agreed to join Goodall in a business venture.
The Articles of Association (incorporation), dated January 14, 1939, listed the owners as Charles S. Baston, fifteen shares in return for $ 1,500 cash; Hardy Wray, fifteen shares in return for $1,500 cash; and Leonard Goodall, thirty shares in return for property as follows:
'For and in consideration of assignment and transfer by Leonard Goodall to the Corporation of all his right, title and interest in and to the Goodall Rotary Cutter, an invention of the said Leonard Goodall, of a power-driven rotary principal mowing machine, together with the said Leonard Goodall's agreement to assign patent and patent rights now being applied for to the Corporation when patent is granted; said invention and applied for patent rights thereto being of the reasonable and fair value of Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00).'3
Goodall thereby began his business with $3,000 cash and his own ideas about making a rotary lawn mower. None of the three men guessed how significant for the world of lawn care, and how financially rewarding for them, this small beginning would prove to be.
At the same time that Goodall found business partners to join him in the incorporation process, he applied for his first patents. U.S. Patent Office records show that he filed his first patent application on March 9, 1939. On July 23, 1940, the office granted a patent for a 'Rotary Grass Cutter.' The definition in the patent began:
'The combination of a rotary type grass cutting mower comprising a wheeled base, a driven rotary cutter operating beneath said base member and between said wheels, a prime mover having a crankshaft extending vertically beneath said base . . .'4
Goodall received three patents on the mower over a period of six years: Patent No. 2208972 on July 23, 1940; Patent No. 2278922 on April 7, 1942; and Patent No. 145483 on August 20, 1946. The patent office granted Trademark Number 380331 to Goodall on August 20, 1940.' The Goodall trademark, designed to emphasize the concept of rotary movement, remained the symbol of the company for as long as it manufactured Goodall mowers. 

Goodall Lawn Mower Sign

Goodall Lawn Mower, Warrensburg, Missouri


Goodall Lawn Mower label, Warrensburg, mo
Goodall mowers have the date of manufacture hidden in the model number. The first 2 numbers is cut size. Next is a letter which is the date, year of manufacture, next a letter or a series of numbers. Your mower model number 20GS4148 breaks down as follows. 20 = 20 inch cut, G = 1946 manufacture date, S = standard model ( if no letter it would be a heavy duty model) next is assembly number. Not sure if it is the 4148 mower of this model or what number the started with. Not all letters were used for the date, so a chart is needed to date each letter. I have old service manual that has letter code for most dates. Other letters were added on later mowers to show what engine manufacture was used, Briggs, Lauson, Clinton. Some 1947 models did use a MCulloch 2 cycle engine. I hope this is helpful. If anyone else needs date info let me know. Good Luck Bill
The symbol appears on every mower, in company brochures and, often, in advertisements in magazines and periodicals.
Today, Goodall's rural and small town background would be called 'blue collar. ' He had no expertise in publicity or advertising. Nevertheless, he understood the need to inform people about the mower, and he began to spread the word wherever he could. In addition, Baston and Wray helped with publicity.
The earliest extant printed information about the mower appeared in an extensive article in the Warrensburg Star Journal on June 1, 1939.6  The article called the mower the result of 'eight years of experimenting' and said Good-all developed it 'during his spare time in his basement.' This piece also contained the first known reference to price, indicating that the mower sold for $98.50. Three pictures published with the article showed Goodall in his workshop and the mower.
The first national publicity appeared in the October 1941 edition of The Maytag News. The mowers used Maytag engines. The article said the mower 'operates on an entirely different principle than conventional lawn mowers,' and it emphasized the point important to Goodall the vertical crankshaft. 'A single arm with two cutting blades revolves horizontally to the ground. It is directly connected to the vertical crankshaft of the Multi-Motor and revolves at approximately 1650 RPM.'7
World War II almost put the fledging Goodall Manufacturing Company out of business. Soon after the production of lawn mowers began, war erupted in Europe, and then the United States became involved. The first mowers used Maytag engines, but engines manufactured by nearly all companies soon became unavailable.
In addition, Goodall had little interest in war contracts, even though some were available for small businesses. Unsophisticated in the ways of business, he had traditional concerns about dealing with government and bureaucrats. He preferred to 'wait it out' and do what little business he could.
During the war, Maytag engines were not available. Goodall could secure engines from only one company in the war years. He began manufacturing and selling mowers with engines from that company, but he later said that using those engines was the 'biggest mistake of my business career.' The engines developed a variety of operating problems, and many had to be returned to the company for repair and service. A major problem occurred because these two-cycle engines, unlike four-cycle engines, necessitated mixing oil and the gas, a procedure many consumers seemed not to understand. Complaints poured in to the company. Goodall strove to provide the highest possible quality mower, and the issue with the engines became a personal embarrassment as well as a business problem. He discontinued use of that brand of engine as soon as he could and did little business for the duration of the war.
The best years for Goodall and his company occurred from the end of the war until the company was sold to an out-of-state firm in 1952. As the war drew to a close, Goodall began to look for a postwar source of engines. He visited the headquarters of Maytag Corporation in Newton, Iowa, and Lauson Motor Corporation in New Holstein, Wisconsin, and corresponded with Briggs and Stratton and other engine manufacturers.
After considerable negotiations, he signed a contract with Lauson. That company agreed to provide engines with a vertical crankshaft, still a rarity in those days. In addition, Lauson built the engines with a special type of oil pump, which Goodall had helped develop and which provided better lubrication for the engines. Perhaps most importantly, Lauson agreed not to sell the vertical crankshaft engines to anyone but Goodall for five years. The Lauson engine thereby became the standard engine on Goodall mowers.
A review of the 'Lawn and Garden' section of the Kansas City Star editions after the war indicates that lawn mower advertising resumed in the spring of 1946. Lawn mower sales are highly seasonal, and advertisements tend to appear between February and May. The earliest postwar ads featured reel mowers powered by individuals pushing them and mowers powered with electric engines.
The earliest extant Goodall ad appeared in February 19479. In March 1947, a large ad (nearly one-quarter page) showed Goodall's daughter, Viva, pushing a mower, and declared the Good-all to be the 'one and only 4 cycle vertical crankshaft direct drive rotary mower.' The ad listed four models costing from $110 to $174 each ($657 to $1,040 in 1992 dollars)hardly an in-expensive piece of lawn equipment in those days. Although Goodall's associates had their own full-time businesses, Baston took an active role in the sales side of the business. (Wray had died in the mid-1940s.) Baston established dealerships around the country and assumed responsibility for an exhibit at the Missouri State Fair each August. Goodall, who did not enjoy sales work or the travel that went with it, appeared content to leave such activity to others.
In 1949 and 1950, the business expanded by erecting three buildings on the property Goodall owned behind his home and on the adjacent lot. 
444 East Market Street, Warrensburg, Missouri Home of the first rotary lawm mower.

Goodall Home and Factory today, Warrensburg School District Offices, 444 East Market Street, Factory was the Old Elk's Club for Many Years


Goodall Engine, Lauson.
The company clearly prospered during these years. Although sales figures and financial statements for the company have not been located, Goodall's personal income tax statements for these years are available. An indication of the financial strength of the company can be found by studying the dividends it paid. Goodall's tax records show that he received dividends as follows:
YearDividendIn 1992 $'s
1946$8,150($55,791)
194722,000(131,584)
194848,900(274,041
194948,900(271,381)
195057,050(316,612)
195116,300(83,833)11
Since Baston and Wray's heirs owned 50 percent of the company's shares, they divided an equal amount of dividend income. They must have concluded that the 1939 investment of $ 1,500 each had been a wise investment indeed!
No obvious explanation appears for the sudden drop in dividends in 1951. Two possibilities come to mind. The Korean War may have affected profits, or 1951 may have been the beginning of the profit difficulties detailed below.
Only one financial statement of the company has been found. It indicates that, for the year ending December 29, 1950, the company made a profit of $138,980.93 ($692,681 in 1992 dollars) on sales of $954,124 ($4,755,354 in 1992 dollars).12
Although the business had been a financial success, Goodall considered selling by the early 1950s. Several reasons account for this. The first was competition. Goodall had an uncompromising commitment to quality; he remained determined to build the best mower that could be made. The Good-all mower quickly became known as the 'top of the line' and the 'Cadillac of lawn mowers.' The average small homeowner, however, did not need a mower that could cut five-feet-high weeds and mow through the most dense of Bermuda grass.  
Other manufacturers could build mowers of somewhat less quality, but still quite adequate for the average user, and sell them at lower prices. The Good all mowers were not inexpensive. Mowers selling for $110 to $174 in the 1940s were 'top of the line' in price as well as quality. Also large retail chains such as Sears, Roebuck &. Co. and Montgomery Ward became major competitors. They had retailing, advertising and distribution abilities hard for a small independent business to match.
Another aspect of competition was that, as time passed, it became increasingly difficult for Goodall to protect his product through the use of patents. Patent attorneys and others advised him that enforcing patents would prove expensive and time consuming. Goodall came to doubt that it would be worth the effort.
In addition to the competition, health problems tempted Goodall to sell. His tendency to be a perfectionist made him a worrier. He seldom slept through the night; thinking about the business often awakened him. He invented, improved and tinkered with products in his mind even while he tried to sleep.
He also worried about the financial pressures of the business. Because of the seasonal nature of the lawn mower business, mowers had to be sold between about February and May in order to have a successful year. Every year, Goodall went to the bank and signed a personal loan for $50,000 to buy the supplies and to cover the other expenses necessary to get ready for the season. Even though the business proved successful, the bank insisted on his personal guarantee on the loan. He knew that one bad season would affect not only the business but also his personal financial situation and that of his family. His worrying caused ulcers, and then bleeding ulcer shealth problems he had the rest of his life.

Goodall also realized that he did not need more money. His life style changed very little as his income grew. He never moved from the house he and Eula had built in 1929, although they added a third bedroom and a second bath. He had no interest in joining country clubs, playing golf or moving in the social circles associated with wealth. He seldom wore a suit or a tie except to church. He did want to drive a nice car (on which he could tinker), and he and Eula bought a country home in the Ozarks near Stover in 1953. The desire for more money, however, soon held little motivation for him.
Finally, Goodall had no heirs with an interest in the business. If his son had expressed an interest in engineering or manufacturing, Goodall would have continued until his son was old enough to take over the business. Such was not the case, however, and Goodall realized it. For all of these reasons, he decided to sell the business.
Goodall, Baston and Garrett Crouch, the company's attorney, let it be known that the company might be for sale under the right conditions. They contacted several of the larger mower manufacturers, engine manufacturers and lawn equipment retailing firms.
They also secured the assistance of F.C. Moseley and Co. of Kansas City, a commercial real estate firm. Foley Manufacturing Company, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a company well known for making chain saws and saw sharpeners, learned of the availability through Moseley. They soon expressed interest, and talks began.
After extended negotiations, Foley purchased the corporation for $317,520 ($1,598,121 in 1992 dollars).14 A $1,500 investment made in the company in 1939 had grown to be worth nearly $79,000 by the time of the sale in 1952. The sale agreement also included a no-competition clause, in which Goodall agreed not to go into competition against the company and to give the company first opportunity to purchase any of his future inventions.
The company remained in Warrensburg and marketed its mowers with the Goodall name. Henry Garwick, a manager with the company in Minneapolis, moved to Warrensburg and assumed day-to-day management responsibilities. Goodall retired, although he remained on the board of directors, and continued his experiments. He sold several inventions to the company over the following decade.
Foley, the new owner of Goodall, experienced financial problems almost from the beginning. Only in 1956 did annual sales exceed the 1950 figure of $954,124.
Comments made at board meetings suggest reasons for the financial difficulties. E. F. Ringer, vice president of Foley, told the board in 1957 that the lawn mower business was 'getting more competitive.' Minutes of the January 25, 1960, meeting note that corporate profits had been hurt by having to offer prices and early bird discounts and by having to pay more for engines. The company had changed from Lauson engines to Clinton engines because the former had discontinued manufacturing that line of small engines.
Although Goodall remained on the board until 1962, no written record exists of his view of the company's financial troubles in the 1950s. As noted, expectations of increased competition and the difficulties of protecting patents had influenced his decision to sell the company in 1952. He also often stated to family members his belief that increasing paperwork and the administrative costs associated with operating a subsidiary company far removed from the home office hurt the business. Goodall believed in 'hands on' management. When he ran the company, he spent most of his time on the floor of the plant, effectively serving as plant manager as well as chief executive officer. That approach was impossible once the company became a subsidiary of a larger corporation in a distant location.
In 1962 Foley officials reached a similar conclusion and decided that it was too difficult to operate a business that distance from its home plant. It moved Goodall Manufacturing Corporation to Winona, Minnesota, much closer to the Foley main office in Minneapolis. Records in the office of the Secretary of State of Missouri show that the company ceased to exist as a Missouri corporation on November 13, 1962. On the same date, the company was merged into Goodall Manufacturing Corporation (a Minnesota corporation).17
The decision to remove the company from Warrensburg caused considerable excitement in the community. The Chamber of Commerce, city council, and the Warrensburg Industrial Development Corporation all had the matter on their agendas for discussion. In the years preceding Goodall's departure, Missouri Public Service Corporation had moved from Warrensburg to Raytown; Brook-field Unitog had departed to Clinton; and the company that made 'Warns-burg Sausage' had relocated to Sedalia. A state agency, the Missouri Commerce and Industrial Development Division, also discussed the Goodall removal at a meeting attended by a delegation of Warrensburg businessmen.
A Warrensburg Star journal editorial entitled 'We're On The Move All Right' began: 'The people of the Warrensburg community were somewhat stunned yesterday when they learned they were to lose another industry. Its product, the original rotary lawn mower, was the product of the mind of a man who is today a part of this community, Leonard Goodall. From the very first his power mower was an immediate success and carried the name of Warrensburg all over the United States.'18
Could the community have done anything to convince the company to stay? Some argued that the company had needed more space, made its needs known and found no positive response among community leaders. More space might have helped. But corporate executives in Minnesota, concerned about having only one subsidiary not near corporate headquarters, would probably have made the move at some time.
Goodall and his wife spent their retirement years in Warrensburg and at their Ozarks home south of Stover. The Stover property, known historically as Boyler's Mill, included a small lake and about seventeen acres of land. Goodall continued to experiment with mowers and used them to keep his property well mowed.
He also resumed some of the activities he had initiated in the 1930s. In the depression years he had worked with wood to make products he could sell to supplement the family income. In retirement he built grandfather clocks over forty as a hobby. Some were sold, and some remain in the family. He erected a workshop at Boyler's Mill, where he built clocks and continued with mower experimentations. The work he did in retirement reflected the same commitment to quality and workmanship that had characterized his entire career.
Deteriorating health marked Good-all's later years, and he died at the Johnson County Medical Center in July 1971. After his death, Eula sold their home in Warrensburg to the Warrensburg School District. Today, the building contains the offices of the superintendent and other school officials. The buildings that once housed the mower manufacturing facilities are now a district vocational school. Eula Goodall continued to live at the Boyler's Mill property until her death in 1983.
Goodall's legacy, which began in a basement on East Market Street in Warrensburg, can be seen today on every suburban home lawn, park or golf course cut by rotary mowers. Upon his death in 1971, the Kansas City Star referred to him as 'the father of the rotary power lawn mower.'19 Goodall would have liked that appellation.
Leonard E. Goodall is a professor of management and public administration and former president at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He holds a B.A. degree from Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, an M.A. degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
ENDNOTES
1  Editors of Consumer Reports, I'll Buy That (Mount Vernon, NY: Consumers Union, 1986), 143-146.
2  See Marvin Frahm, 'Goodall: First Rotary Mower,' Gas Engine Magazine 24 (March 1989): 16-18, for a detailed discussion of the technical aspects of the mower's development.
3 Office of the Secretary of State, Jefferson City, Missouri, Sworn Articles of Association, 14 January 1939.
4  U.S. Patent Office, Official Gazette 516 (July-August 1940): 947.
5  U.S. Patent Office, Trademark No. 380331, 20 August 1940; Application No. 428479.
6  'Lawn Mower Takes Work Out of Cutting Grass,' Warrensburg Star Journal, 1 June 1939.
7 'Multi-Motor Powers New Type Rotary Grass Cutter,' The Maytag News (October 1941): 7.
8 Goodall often repeated this comment to family members and business associates.
9 Kansas City Star, 16 February 1947.
10 Ibid., 23 March 1947.
11  Taken from copies of individual income tax returns of Leonard B. Goodall currently in possession of the author. The author based the calculation of 1992 dollar values on the Consumer Price Index of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
12  Goodall Manufacturing Corporation, Financial Statement as of December 29, 1950.
13 Edwin F. Ringer, Minneapolis, Minnesota, interview with author, 5 October 1990. Mr. Ringer also provided access to corporate records of the Goodall Manufacturing Corp. in his possession.
14 Memorandum of Closing and Receipt, 21 February 1952.
15 Figures derived from the minutes of the meeting of the board of directors of Goodall Manufacturing Corporation, 31 August 1957.
16 Ibid., 25 January 1960.
17 Office of the Secretary of the State, Jefferson City, Certificate of Change of Registered Agent and Registered Office by Foreign or Domestic Corporations, 22 November 1962.
18  'We're On The Move All Right,' Warrensburg Star journal, 21 March 1962.
19  'Warrensburg Man Invented a Mower,' Kansas City Star, 31 July 1971.
LEONARD GOODALL ObituaryLEONARD GOODALL Leonard E. "Pat" Goodall, 75, passed away July 2, 2012, at his home in Las Vegas, after an 18-month battle with cancer, amazing his friends and family with strength and courage. Goodall was born March 16, 1937, in Warrensburg, Mo., to Leonard B. and Pansy Eula Goodall. He earned a bachelor's degree in social science from Central Missouri State College, his master's degree in political science at the University of Missouri, and a doctorate in political science at the University of Illinois. Goodall was president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, vice-chancellor at the University of Illinois, Chicago-Circle and professor at Arizona State University and UNLV. Among his numerous honors, he was named Distinguished Nevadan in 2006. Goodall was UNLV's fourth president from 1979 to 1984, a time of expansion and growth. He was instrumental in the establishment of the UNLV Foundation and the Barrick Lecture Series. During his tenure, the Alta Ham Fine Arts building and the Frank and Estella Beam Hall with its Beam Fine Art Gallery were built and the Thomas & Mack Center was completed. He worked to create the school of engineering and computer science. In addition to his work as an educator, he has written nine books and is co-publisher of a monthly financial newsletter, No-Load Portfolios. His final book, "An Investor's Memoir," was just published within the last month. He has spoken at many financial seminars over the years, and has been actively involved in the First Presbyterian Church and Rotary. He leaves behind a wife, of 53 years, Lois; three children, Karla, Karen and Greg; and nine grandchildren, Jennifer, Thomas, Tabitha, Michelle, Monica, Destiny, Katie, Kristy and Skylar. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday, July 5, at Palm Mortuary, 1600 S. Jones Blvd. The memorial service will be 11 a.m. Friday, July 6, at First Presbyterian Church, 1515 W. Charleston Blvd. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the UNLV Foundation.


Max B. Swisher Invents First Self-Propelled Lawnmower
Swish-err Lawn Care Products - lawnmowers, Warrensburg, MO

Swisher Mower and Machine - Warrensburg, Missouri - Max Swisher Founder/Inventor at the age of 22. Later in life he gifts Skyhaven Airport to UCM.
Swisher Mowers- A Humble Beginning
Swisher has a rather interesting and humble beginning. The story started off in Missouri when Max Swisher was mowing his lawn. Even before electricity came to rural Missouri, Max Swisher was busy at work, producing "handmade" lawn mowers from inside his mother's chicken coop. The truth is, Max never cared for mowing grass.  What he did enjoy was using his creativity to invent easier ways to do things!
Max cleverly installed a gearbox on the family lawn mower creating a self-propelled mower.  He then went about trying one end of a long rope to his new self-propelled mower, and the other end to a tree growing in the center of the yard that needed mowing.
Eureka! Max's new mower circled the tree, shortening the rope with each pass and guiding the mower in perfectly concentric circles.
Meanwhile, Max enjoyed his afternoon relaxing under a nearby shade tree while his invention did all the work!
Max had designed the first self-propelled rotary lawn mower.  Neighbors noticed his new invention and began asking him to make more self-propelled mowers.  That was the humble beginning of the Swisher brand that has been in business since 1945!
The rest as they say is history. Swisher Mower and Machine Company have not looked back since. It has been constantly designing innovative lawn mowers and accessories. The first riding lawn mower was developed by Swisher in 1955 while the first self propelled lawn mower was developed by Swisher in the year 1945. The company’s headquarters are located in Warrensburg, MO.
 
It has a wide range of products which include but are not limited to turbo tillers, zero turn riding mowers, trail mowers, trail cutters and much more. Swisher is especially known for its trail mowers product. For further information about the company and the product, please visit their official website which is http://www.swisherinc.com (opens new window)
Max Swisher, Inventor of the first riding lawnmower. Warrensburg, MO.
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Swisher Mower, early self-propelled lawnmower
Swisher Mower, early riding lawnmower

Max Boothe Swisher, Warrensburg, MO. Born in Leeton, MO
Max Boothe Swisher, 87, of Warrensburg, passed away peacefully Oct. 30, 2015, surrounded by his family.

Max was born April 19, 1928, in rural Southeast Johnson County, Mo. He was the son of Henry Samuel Swisher and Blanche Boothe Swisher. Max was the youngest of three children with two brothers, Jean Edwin Swisher, deceased and Ray W. Swisher who survives.
Max grew up on the family farm during the depression, learning all types of skills from both his father and mother. His mother gardened and raised poultry while his father farmed, worked in a sawmill, fixed and traded farm equipment and ran threshing machines and crews. Max learned early what hard work and long hours were. He will be remembered for his generosity, extraordinary mechanical design abilities, business savvy, quick wit, a great sense of humor and farm smart approach to life.
Max attended country grade school until sixth grade and then attended Leeton grade school where he continued through high school graduation. He attended Central Missouri State College in 1946-47, taking industrial and mechanical classes. Max then took a job with Leonard Goodall at Goodall Manufacturing in Warrensburg.
Max became very interested in the lawnmower business and decided to build a lawnmower incorporating his ideas in the machine shop at his family’s farm.The first mower he developed and patented was a self-propelled rotary walk-behind mower with unique maneuvering capabilities. A few years later, he developed and patented a riding mower incorporating similar maneuverability and coined the description “zero-turning-radius”. Both his zero-turn mowers were first to market and decades before their concepts became the industry standard with all major mower manufacturers now offering versions of the concept. Today, the “Zero-Turning-Radius” term is used throughout the entire mower industry and represents a major category in total mower sales. Max pioneered several other products including pull behind ATV mowers, convertible string trimmer mowers, solar composters, and more.
In 1951, Max was drafted into the Army during the Korean War, serving his two years at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., where he served as a cadre leader. On June 9, 1951, he married Lorena Pryor of Warrensburg in Havre de Grace, Md.
In August of 1952, after returning from Maryland, Max incorporated Swisher Mower and Machine Co. and purchased the buildings that housed the former Roseland Meat Packing Co. at 333 E. Gay in Warrensburg. He moved the operation to this location and operated there until moving to the industrial park in 1999. The company sold products around the world and employed over 600 people at its peak.
In 1968, Max donated SkyHaven airport to the university, which birthed the aviation and other related programs. UCM honored Max with renaming the airport after him in 1993. In the 1980s he donated the Hickory Hills waterworks to water district No. 3, where it has been since used as a platform to provide rural water throughout southeast Johnson County.
As a serial entrepreneur and businessman, Max started or helped start several businesses and consulted many aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs. He thoroughly enjoyed hearing from aviation graduates as their careers progressed. He also enjoyed hearing from employees past and present, particularly the impromptu one-to-one chats in his office.
Max was a board member of the Chamber of Commerce for several years, as well as a member of the American Legion and Elks Club. He served as a member of the Warrensburg City Council from 1980 to 1986.
Max is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lorena Pryor Swisher; daughter, Marcy Erickson and husband, Dick; son, Jerry Swisher and wife, Cindy; and son, Wayne Swisher and wife, Kelly; four grandchildren, Nicki (Jason) Key, Sam (Katie) Swisher, Ann (Chris) Novosel and Dane Erickson; and two great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at Sweeney-Phillips & Holdren Funeral Home in Warrensburg, with the Rev. Bill Runyon officiating and visitation services beginning at 1 p.m. Pallbearers will be Sam Swisher, Jason Key, Chris Novosel, Sean Kavanaugh, Dane Erickson and Dick Erickson. Honorary pallbearers will be Bob Grainger, JC Myers, Clyde Fleener, Russ Crim, Don Downing, Kenny Jones, Dan Lockhart, Frank Summit, Bill Hash, Jim Houx, Gene Jaeger and Jack Thompson.
Burial will follow at Warrensburg Memorial Gardens with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made tothe Warrensburg Food Center or Warrensburg Senior Center Home Meal Delivery Program and both can be left at the funeral home.

Ray W. Swisher.
Ray W. Swisher, 96, of Warrensburg, passed away Friday, February 12, 2016, at his residence.
Ray was born on September 2, 1919, the son of Henry Samuel and Blanche (Boothe) Swisher, in rural Southeast Johnson County, near Leeton, MO.
Ray graduated from Leeton High School. After high school he worked at various jobs, including war-time factory work, and farming.
On July 19, 1941, Ray was united in marriage to Frances A. Barrow, in Stover, Missouri.
Ray owned & operated Swisher Grain Company, in Centerview, MO from the mid 1950’s until the mid 1970’s. In 1965, Ray opened Louie’s Farm & Home, known today as Swisher’s, on Hwy 13 N in Warrensburg. In the following years, Ray, along with other partners, opened Farm & Home stores in Lebanon, MO, Miami, OK, and Stillwater, OK.
Ray enjoyed hunting, fishing, and riding horses. He also enjoyed participating in trail rides, and touring the country with his wife Frances, in their motor home. He was a member of the Missouri Foxtrotter Association, the Truman Lake Ramblers RV Club, Elks Lodge #673 in Warrensburg, and was also a member of the Free Masons and Ararat Shriners.
Ray is survived by his son, Richard Swisher and wife Lisa of Warrensburg; grandchildren, Ray Evans Little and wife Sarah of Stillwater, OK, Stephanie (Swisher) Kiser and husband Ray of Warrensburg, Doug Swisher of Great Bend, KS; five great-grandchildren, Blake and Connor Little of Stillwater, OK, Addison Long, Mackenzie Kiser, and Cynthia Kiser, of Warrensburg.
Ray was preceded in death by his wife of 73 years, Frances, in November, 2014; daughter, Sandra (Swisher) Maguire; son-in-law, Mike Maguire; brothers, Jean Edwin Swisher and Max Boothe Swisher.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, February 17, at 2:00 P.M. at the Sweeney-Phillips & Holdren Funeral Home in Warrensburg. Interment will follow in the Warrensburg Memorial Gardens Cemetery Mausoleum. Pallbearers will be Ray Little, Doug Swisher, Ray Kiser, George “Bill” Hash, Bob Hutton, Robert Trott, Jim Singleton and Dwight Stephens. The family will receive friends from 1:00 P.M. until service time at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions are suggested to the Warrensburg Senior Center and can be left in care of the funeral home.
The family would like to express a special thank- you to Ray’s caregiver’s from Amy’s Loving Care and Crossroads Hospice.

Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport
Link 
One thing essential to a flight school is their airport. In recent years, the airport has received more attention than in the past. The new 20 year master plan was approved and
the ground breaking ceremony was in August of 2008. When we think about where we are going it is interesting to look back and see how we have gotten to where we are. In December 1966, Max B. Swisher, a pilot and local businessman, donated Skyhaven Airport and 86 acres of land to the Board of Regents of Central Missouri State College (now known as the University of Central Missouri). Later that year the College bought 165 more acres for expansion possibilities. Throughout the years, the University has continued to buy more land, and currently the airport owns over 400 acres of land. There are numerous reasons for having a large amount of land surrounding the airport; of these, federal regulations regarding safety and future development are the most important. Some of the first airport buildings used by the University were two trailer houses that were located at the west side of the south end of Runway 13-31 near Highway 50. The current terminal building is a 3,250 square foot, dual-level building that has
11 offices, a public lounge, a briefing room and bathrooms. The building was constructed in the late 1970s. The new airport master plan projects a new terminal to be constructed on the northern portion of the terminal area complex to contain about 9,500 square feet of space. The parking lot will be expanded as well to accommodate about 95 vehicles with surplus area for another 33 vehicles. When the University received the airport, there were numerous improvements
to be made. One of the first things improved was Runway 13-31. Originally, Runway 13-31 was covered with pierced steel planking, a prefabricated temporary surface. In 1971, they replaced the runway’s surface with a chip and seal surface. . At that time, Runway 13-31 was the primary runway, and Runway 17-35 was an intersecting lighted grass runway.

UCM and the Old National Guard Hangar, Swisher Skyhaven Airport, Warrensburg, MO
New Skyhaven Terminal - Link


Tony Monetti, (wife Penny) UCM assistant dean of aviation and director of the Max B. Swisher aviation program. Tony Monetti, and as the UCM Assistant Dean of Aviation and former B-2 combat pilot, it is my honor to lead a dedicated team that serve those who selflessly serve our nation. Lieutenant Colonel Tony Monetti, was Director of Operations of the 13th Bomb Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, was an Air Force Academy graduate, a veteran combat command pilot of the B-52 and B-1 planes, and flew the B-2 stealth bomber. His honors include the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. He is an author and speaker and Air Force spokesperson who motivates groups and corporate organizations worldwide. He was honored as Warrensburg, Missouri’s “2010 Man of the Year” for his outstanding contributions to the community.
Our program is unique in that we offer a Part 141 program at Skyhaven Airport which is owned and operated by UCM. At Skyhaven, we operate a flight school where we offer all FAA certificate opportunities from Private through ATP. We now offer Helicopter training with KCCopters – a team passionate about safety and customer service. At Skyhaven, we also have an active FBO and maintenance facility that supervises the 4th busiest airport in the state of Missouri. 
Recently, UCM was honored as a Military Friendly School. The Office of Military and Veteran Services (MVS) is located in the Elliott Student Union 117. You can meet the MVS team or contact them at 660-543-8776. UCM is proud to offer in-state tuition for all active duty and military veterans. Additionally, UCM's Military Tuition Package applies to those who are using military tuition assistance or the G.I. Bill to fund their education. The tuition package applies to members of all five service branches, including reservists, who are seeking a degree.
Many of our senior leaders in the UCM Aviation department are veterans of our nation and it is our pleasure to serve you. Do not hesitate to call me on my cell at 660 441 8044 if I can be of assistance to you or your family.

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