s/n 81 16222 Built August1951

 The model T was the first small, two-wheeled tiller that ROTOTILLER, INC. made after turning the manufacturing of the large commercial tillers over to Graham-Paige. It was so simple compared to the Home Gardener and much cheaper. This tiller was the idea of George Done, ROTOTILLER'S chief engineer. George originally came up with the idea to compete with the cheaper front-tine machines in cost, but Carl Kelsey, ROTOTILLER'S founder, did not agree until orders for the Home Gardener dried up in early 1949. In three weeks a prototype was completed and tested. After Kelsey saw its performance, he ordered production to start immediately. It was called the Model T because of the similarities to Henry Ford's Model T car. They considered it a high quality product at a low price. Mr. Done called it "the poor man's machine" with a price tag of a dollar a pound at $194.50.

This tiller was about the same size as the Home Gardener, but had two wheels instead of one, 3 bearings instead of 36, 2 gears and three major moving parts, instead of the many gears of the HG. They came with either a Clinton or Briggs & Stratton 1-1/2 hp engine (mine has a Clinton). These machines were an instant success. Three months after production started, ROTOTILLER, INC. was building a new tiller every 9 minutes. Gardening was definitely the "in thing" because of the inspiration provided from the victory gardens of WWII. There was also a push to move to the suburbs by thousands of families, where more land was available for gardening.

ROTOTILLER, INC. made many attachments for these tillers. In addition to the sickle bar mower, there was a 25" reel type and rotary mover, snow plow, wood saw, wagon, and furrowing/hilling attachment. This particular tiller has a 16" wide tilling capacity and is equipped with the Chopper-Digger tines

Information on this page compiled from Gardening Beyond the plow by Garden Way Inc.

 Revised June 18, 2009