A spark flew and a legend was born. It was 1933 and their Brillion Iron Works was gone. They had worked hard over the course of 40 years to build that business – only to close it when times got tough during the Great Depression.
But Henry Ariens and his three sons were not deterred by losing the foundry just a few years earlier. They still had plenty of inventive ideas and a simple but sturdy garage in which to turn their plans into reality.
With a $1,500 loan borrowed against Henry’s life insurance policy and another $1,500 raised by selling shares of stock to a family member, the four men got back to work…
Ariens Company began when Henry Ariens and his three sons – Steve, Leon and Francis –developed the first American-made rotary tiller at a time when other manufacturers were experimenting with imported tillers. It took many years of experimentation, education and perseverance before rotary tilling became accepted as a proven agricultural tool. The Ariens family conducted educational programs to teach commercial growers, nurserymen and landscapers how the new Ariens Model A Tiller, powered with an air-cooled engine, “plows as it discs as it harrows.”
Many commercial tiller models followed, all aimed at improving output for vegetable growers around the country. Ariens Company introduced the more compact Model B Tiller, the Roller-Tiller, the Multi-Tiller Tractor Tiller, the Jitterbug single-row front rotary tiller and the Tillivator RC for celery growers in Florida.