Jacob A. Ronning Incorporated. Ever heard of that company?
How about the walk-behind sickle bar mower that it built?
If not, you’ve missed out on a true American icon.
Jacob Ronning knew that he had a unique invention and applied for a patent back in 1943.
Even back then, marketing was a big deal, and Jacob had a little conundrum on his hands. He had just created one majorly cool mower and now he needed to name it something other than ‘that odd-looking, wickedly-good, walk-behind, sickle-mower machine.’
Not an overly shy man, Jacob solved the problem by simply taking the first letters from his company’s name, Jacob A. Ronning Incorporated, and christened the little guy ‘Jari’.
Just one slight hang up there, Jacob. How is someone supposed to pronounce ‘Jari’?
Although some folks preferred ‘jar-ee’ others took another route and called it a ‘yahr-ee’. The favored and most recognized pronunciation turned out to be ‘Jerry’. Go figure
Goofy name or not – production of the Jari took off in a big way in a building on Pillsbury Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Through the years the company switched hands and production location a few times, although it always stayed in Minnesota. Jari mowers are now being built in St. Peter under the ownership of Minnesota native, Peter Jones.
“I spent a lot of time behind one of those as a farm boy,” said Pete. “Dad liked to keep the home place looking neat and tidy, and the Jari was quite the workhorse.”
The Jari’s ground-hugging design allows it to go where other mowers just can’t. Under fence lines, near buildings, and around saplings, to name just a few. With super sharp sickle blades and a beefy engine to drive the cutting action, the Jari was well known for cutting through all sorts of vegetation.
“Dad was the one who sent me out to mow – but I learned quickly to check with my mom about flowers and other plantings,” chuckled Pete. “Once you get going with a Jari, it doesn’t take too long to decimate a flower garden.”
The Jari mower truly was ahead of its time. The design has remained virtually the same for nearly 70 years.
It has been sold to cut everything from thistles to small grains. It has been shipped to numerous countries around the world.
And weirdest of all, the Jari has developed its own little cult following. Just watch as people swarm around them at farm auctions.
It turns out that Jacob A. Ronning really was onto to something unique all those very many years ago.
For more information on a current Jari mower, please check out their website at http://www.jariusa.com
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