To mark its 100th anniversary, Gravely has built a website enabling visitors to explore the company’s history.
Benjamin Franklin Gravely was the owner of 65 different patents, but his most significant invention was the motor plow, for which he was granted a patent on Dec. 5, 1916. He had designed the power-driven push mower back in 1911.
“The object of the invention is to provide a motor plow of the type employing but a single traction wheel and in which the motor is so arranged that the plow will be properly balanced when passing over the ground,” Gravely said.
The company became incorporated in 1922 as Gravely Motor Plow & Cultivator Company. New models were added during the next several years and in 1953 the name was changed to Gravely Tractor Inc. It became Gravely Corp. 15 years later.
Gravely had several parent companies in the 1960s and ’70s. Ariens Co. purchased Gravely in 1982.
“We bought them and that was the best acquisition, I think,” said Mike Ariens, former chairman and CEO of Ariens Co. “It was critical because you can get five years out of a rotary tiller and then all of a sudden the market changes. You can get five years out a riding mower and then all of a sudden the market changes.
“Gravely had had this product for 50 years … It was a very good product.”
By 1997 all of Gravely’s departments had relocated to Ariens’ headquarters in Brillion, Wisconsin.
The website features a timeline, historical photo gallery and stories about Gravely dealers, customers, employees and products.
Throughout the year, new stories will be added weekly and Gravely fans can also submit their own stories for a chance to be published on the site.
“This website signifies a century of hard work and innovation coming to fruition,” said Matt Medden, Ariens vice president of marketing. “Gravely joins only a handful of American brands who can claim to be in existence for 100 years.
“Our brand has evolved since its inception and we are excited this year to have launched the next generation of Gravely products – with newly improved comfort and performance – a true testament to the brand’s bright future.”