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Where Are Troy Bilt Lawn Mowers Made?

Where Are Troy Bilt Lawn Mowers Made?

For the home gardener or the self-sufficient landowner, nothing comes in handy more than small-scale farming tools. Among these tools, the rototiller sits paramount. One of the best know companies responsible for over 90 years of tiller advancement is Troy-Bilt.

Troy-Bilt doesn’t only produce tillers however they also have a line of walk-behind mowers, garden tractors, and zero-turn mowers. Their line of yard tools, snow blowers, and attachments rounds out their selection of amazing products. 

When I decide to buy a lawnmower or any other garden tool, my most immediate task is to find out where these machines are manufactured. Often what appears to be an American mower company can end up being nothing more than an assembler and distributor of completely foreign components.

To avoid low-quality steel and engines, I always do my research on the companies that manufacture the tools I need. I will help you do the same! If you are interested in buying Troy-Bilt lawnmowers, check out this information and stay informed.

Are Troy-Bilt Mowers Made in the USA?

As of today, Troy-Bilt mowers are still made in the USA. Different garden machines are manufactured in different plants spread across the mid-west. In Tupelo, Mississippi, walk-behind mowers are manufactured. Zero-turn mowers are made at a plant in Martin, Tennessee. Most of the garden tractors, such as the “Neighborhood Rider” are manufactured at the plant in Willard, Ohio. 

Although the line of products is known as Troy-Bilt, and the manufacturing of these machines used to take place in Troy, NY, none of the products made or sold by Troy-BIlt are still Troy-built. 

Fortunately, we can rest assured that the products are indeed American-made and not just US-assembled. However, the history of the ownership of the Troy-Bilt trademark and company is a lot less straightforward. Let’s look at who owns Troy-Bilt.

Who Manufactures Troy-Bilt?

Troy Bilt Logo

Today Troy-Bilt is manufactured by MTD Consumer Group, Inc, with a headquarters located in Valley City, Ohio. The brand and products are sold under Troy-Bilt LLC, which was formed in 2001. Previously that year, Garden Way, Inc, the previous company holding the Troy-Bilt brand, went bankrupt and was acquired by MTD for $44.1 Million. 

MTD’s family of brands offers a range of lawn and garden products to inspire people all over the world to care for and enjoy the outdoors. Some of their best-performing brands are Cub Cadet, Rover, Wolf Garten, Robomow, and over course, Troy-Bilt. All of these brands are backed by MTD sales, service, and genuine parts.  

It’s important to not only look at who currently manufacturers Troy-Bilt but also look at how the original company began and who took over the brand throughout the years. In the last 90 years, Troy-Bilt has been acquired and re-acquired by several corporations and also was able to purchase the Bolens company’s line of products. 

A History of Rototiller

During the Great Depression, there was an increased interest in and market for home gardening solutions. A 50-year-old man named C.W. Kelsey owned an automobile manufacturing company aptly called Kelsey Automobile Company. In 1930 Kelsey bumped into a former employee who introduced him to his new employer’s “earth-grinders”

The former employee was a German man named H.B Hiller and was working with a company that imported and sold Siemens rotary tillers. Kelsey was immediately fascinated with the machines and instantly became a distributor for Siemens rotary tillers. 

In 1932 while fervently selling Siemens products, Kelsey established Rototiller, Inc. This allowed Kelsey to continue selling the German products while also making improvements and patenting modifications. Eventually, under the rototiller name, Kelsey was able to begin manufacturing his own line of tillers in Long Island, New York. 

In 1937 Kelsey moved the manufacturing of the Rototiller to Troy, New York. The move was Financially backed by George B. Cluett, who also invested in factory space. Keeping with tradition in the automotive industry, Kelsey pushed the company to produce a new model of the rototiller every year until his retirement in 1957. 

In the final years of original ownership for Rotortiller, Inc, the company moved to strictly manufacture and market home garden-sized tillers. The move away from large machines to smaller tillers was inspired by a book written by Ed and Carol Robinson entitled The Have-More Plan – A Little Land, A Lot of Living

Over the next several decades, Rototiller, Inc would be bought and sold and renamed according to the whims of its owners. In 1968 the trademark for the brand Troy-Bilt was issued to honor the US origins of the mighty rototiller. Although no longer manufactured in Troy, NY the Troy-BIlt LLC name reminds everyone of where and how it all began. 

Timeline

  • 1930 – Rotary Tillers – Automobile company owner C.W. Kelsey learns about the German “earth-grinders” from a former employee. He becomes enthralled with the machines and enlists as a Siemens rotary tiller distributor.
  • 1932 – Rototiller, Inc. – Having been successful with Siemens tillers, Kelsey starts Rototiller, Inc to distribute German products. He also begins making adjustments and patenting modifications he has made on the tillers. 
  • 1937 – Moving to Troy, New York – In order to manufacture his own line of Rototiller, Kelsey moved manufacturing from Long Island, NY, to Troy, NY. A rich NY businessman George B. Cluett invested in factory space for the new plant. 
  • 1938 to 1957 – New Model Every Year – As is common in the automotive industry, Kelsey pushed his company to manufacture a new model every year. This policy lasted until his retirement at the age of 77 in 1957.
  • 1959 – Porter Cable Co. – Porter Cable became the majority shareholder of Rototiller, Inc in 1959. They immediately moved manufacturing out of Troy, NY, and into Syracuse, NY.
  • 1960 – Rockwell Manufacturing Co. – For a brief time, Rockwell Manufacturing Co. owned Rototiller, Inc. Their holding was very short, and no huge changes were implemented in the company. 
  • 1961 – Back to Troy – Employees that were with the company when it was located in Troy, NY, bought the company from Rockwell Manufacturing. They immediately moved the company back to Troy under the Watco Machine Products name. 
  • 1962 – 1965 –  Lyman P. Wood – A friend of the Robinson’s who helped market and sell the small garden tillers in 1957 with the pamphlets A Little Power-A Lot of Living pamphlet and How To Do Wonders With A Little Land headed sales and marketing of the rototiller. 
  • 1966 – Woods & Partners – Working as a consultant as well as in sales and marketing for Watco gave Woods insight into the company’s current financial woes. Woods was a huge advocate of the self-sufficient movement and, with a few partners, formed an advertising agency Precision Marketing Associates, Inc. 
  • 1967 – Acquired by PMA – Understanding how important the rototiller was for homestead management, PMA, headed by Wood, acquired 62% controlling shares of Watco. 
  • 1967 – TrojanHorse/Troy-Bilt – PMA started marketing tillers through mail order and attempted to roll out their new model “Trojan Horse” but were sued by Eaton Yale & Towne, Inc for copyright infringement. 
  • 1968 – Troy-Bilt Trademark – To bounce back from the embarrassing infringement case, PMA quickly applied for a trademark application for Troy-Bilt. This brand was a tribute to the original Troy plant workers and the humble beginnings of the rototiller. The move worked, and it quickly became a popular brand in the home garden industry.
  • 1968 – Watco Renamed Garden Way – In an additional effort to clarify the company and brand’s mission, Watco was renamed to Garden Way. This move, along with the Troy-Bilt brand, gave customers a clear understanding of what these products were and where they were built. 
  • 1976 – PMA Renamed GWA – Likewise, as this line of garden products was becoming one of PMA’s most lucrative revenue streams, they also renamed their entire agency to Garden Way Associates.
  • 1988 – Acquires Bolens Brand – Capitalizing on their clear brand and mission, Garden Way purchased the Bolens brands. Not needing an entirely new line of tillers, Garden Way focused on selling its own line of garden accessories. As a result, Bolens manufacturing became obsolete and old parts could no longer be fabricated.
  • 1999 – TroyBilt.com – In an effort to compete with emerging internet technology Garden Way launched a website. Focusing on pushing online marketing to save a struggling company, TroyBilt.com went live. 
  • 2001 – MTD Consumer Group – Unfortunately, the website was not enough to save the company, and they closed their Troy manufacturing facility laying off 550 workers.  MTD Consumer Group, Inc was a well-established brand in the outdoor power industry. They bought Garden Way, including Troy-Bilt and Bolens, for $44.1 Million.
  • 2001- Troy-Bilt LLC – A new company, Troy-Bilt LLC, was created to manufacture and market the Troy-Bilt line of equipment. This company is still active in the sales of all Troy-Bilt products. 
  • 2015- Manufacturing Moves Out of Troy – After the shutdown of the Troy, factory manufacturing was sent to the mid-west. Many plants and factories were set up over the next 20 years to manufacture the individual products Troy-Bilt sells. Tupelo, Mississippi, Martin, Tennessee, and Willard, Ohio are where the products are now manufactured. The headquarters of Troy-Bilt LLC is in Valley City, Ohio. 
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Last update on 2022-08-12 / Affiliate links / Somes Images and Data from Amazon Product Advertising API