MTD: For a Growing World.

Our Heritage

Our 350+ year old White Oak

The Beginning

Our Corporate Offices sit on property that was once a farm purchased by Theo Moll.  An integral feature of the property is a white oak tree estimated to be 350+ years old.  The tree, with its deep roots and strong sheltering branches, has come to symbolize the company's commitment to its employees and surrounding communities.

 

Three German immigrants, Theo Moll, Emil Jochum and Erwin Gerhard all shared a deep-rooted faith in God and themselves and the dream of building a business in America, the "land of opportunity".

 

In 1932, they began to fulfill their dream by forming a partnership to purchase the assets and goodwill of the Modern Tool and Die Company.  Throughout the early 1930's, they grew the business by securing work with several prominent companies including the manufacturing of perforating dies and a rolling machine to construct window channels for Standard Products and providing tooling, stamping, and painting assembled recording registers for Ergy Register.

 

This was the first consumer product manufactured by MTD. In 1936, growth continued with the production of MTD's first automotive stampings; the grill and two side louvers for the Graham Paige automobile. MTD earned a quality workmanship reputation which provided additional opportunities and allowed them to become a major producer of auto heaters for Eaton Manufacturing Company.  During the late thirties, MTD grew alongside the growth of the auto industry.

West 130th Plant Cleveland, OH

Diversification

At the start of this decade, MTD began its role as a major stamped steel supplier. The stamping work was performed in a suburban Cleveland plant, purchased by MTD, which later became the nucleus for future growth of the company.

In 1942 a significant milestone was reached; Modern Tool & Die successfully completed 10 years in business and attained $1 million in sales. With the onset of World War II, gasoline was rationed and the auto industry entered a slow period.  As the war escalated, MTD became a supplier of military related jobs.  One that was familiar to many was the "Mess Kit"  used by our soldiers at meal time.  MTD stamped thousands of mess kits during the war years.  Women took the place of men on the assembly line and assembled wing fixtures for Goodyear aircraft for the war effort.

To continue the success of the company, the founders began to investigate opportunities outside of the automobile industry. In 1944, with diversified manufacturing in mind, MTD bought partial interest in Midwest Industries, Inc. and became the stamping supplier for the manufacturing of tricycles and wagons.

While diversification was important, the founders did not lose sight of the importance of the automotive business. They continued their focus on quality workmanship for the automobile industry and by the late 1940's, MTD held a solid reputation among the major automotive manufacturers in Detroit as a quality-oriented tooling and stamping operation.

As the company continued to grow, the founders dissolved the partnership and incorporated the company. At this time, Theo Moll became president and Emil Jochum and Erwin Gerhard became vice presidents.

Kiddie cars paint line

Expansion into Gardening and Outdoor Power Equipment

In 1952, MTD purchased controlling interest in Midwest Industries and expanded beyond stamping to include the manufacturing and marketing of pedal bikes, kiddie cars and playground equipment. The demand for these products was growing rapidly and plant expansion became necessary.  A new plant was built in Willard, Ohio in 1953 and the Midwest Industries operation was moved to this facility.

To continue the successful growth of the company, additional diversification opportunities were sought. In 1954, MTD entered the garden equipment industry with the introduction of a line of wheelbarrows that were successfully sold to Sears and other major retailers at that time.

Another major milestone took place in 1958 when MTD entered the lawn and garden power equipment market with the production of an 18" gasoline powered, walk-behind rotary mower. Then in 1959, MTD took another major step toward future growth with the manufacturing of self-propelled lawn mowers, garden tractors and other power equipment.

Modern Line Products Company

A Time of Growth

Growth in consumer demand for outdoor power equipment created another opportunity for expansion. In response to the demand, MTD built the Modern Line Products Company in Indianola, Mississippi and purchased Sehl Engineering Ltd., of Canada, which later became MTD Products, Ltd.  In 1966, MTD purchased the Industrial Plastics Company which provided MTD with injection plastics, magnesium die castings and fiberglass parts capabilities.

 

During this decade, MTD began manufacturing rotary tillers, snow throwers, battery powered walk behind mowers and their first full frame lawn tractor. This milestone was followed by another major step into the future with the launch of a line of hydrostatic and transaxle garden tractors.

 

At the end of this decade, construction began on a Technical Development Center in Valley City, Ohio with the objective of bringing innovative products to the consumer. The founders understood the significant role consumer products would play in the future of the company.

 

In 1969, Theo Moll became Chairman of the Board, Emil Jochum became Vice-Chairman of the Board and Ed Stell was elected President of the newly named MTD Products Inc.

Innovation is born

A Broadening Company

With the opening of the Technical Development Center in 1970, industrial designers, engineers, prototype developers, and testing personnel were brought under one roof.  The result of their collaborative efforts was the birth of MTD's reputation as a leader in innovation.

In 1973, Curt Moll was elected President due to his exemplary leadership and vast experience throughout the MTD organization.  Curt began his  MTD career in 1955 as a die maker and held various positions in the plants and corporate office.  Also at this time, Ed Stell was named Chairman of the Board, Theo Moll became the Chairman of the Executive Committee and Emil remained the Vice Chairman of the Board.

The 1970's also brought expansion of the outdoor power equipment line with the acquisition of the Yard-Man assets. While growth was taking place in the United States, growing demand in Western Europe also led to the acquisition of Ventzki GmbH in Eislingen, thrusting MTD into the Common Market.

By the mid 70's, MTD had grown to eight affiliated companies in the United States, Canada and Western Europe.  MTD was also recognized as a world leader in the manufacturing of outdoor power equipment and in 1979, the corporate headquarters was established in Valley City, Ohio.

Cub Cadet line-up of Outdoor Power Equipment

Brand Expansion

At the start of this decade, Curt Moll was named Chairman of the Board. Curt was determined to ensure the continued success of the company and its individual wage earners.  During this decade, there was a focus on the expansion of the outdoor power equipment line of products and brands with two significant acquisitions. In 1981, the Cub Cadet brand was acquired from International Harvester and the White Outdoor brand was acquired from White Motor, both providing access and entrance into the dealer direct business.

In 1982, MTD proudly celebrated its 50th anniversary.  In the mid eighties, to meet growing demand, MTD opened the Martin, Tennessee Plant to manufacture riding mowers and automotive parts. MTD also acquired Aircap Industries in Tupelo, Mississippi to manufacture gas and electric walk behind mowers, edgers and tillers. To round out the business, Arnold Corporation was acquired, providing entrance into the lawn mower and small engine replacement parts business.

Expansion into the Mass Merchant market

Retail Expansion

During this decade a major milestone was reached with expansion beyond the dealer direct market and into the mass merchant market. Major retail customers included Sears, Lowe's, Home Depot, TSC, Ace Hardware and Wal-Mart. With expansion into the mass retail market, production also expanded beyond MTD proprietary brands to include private label brands.

As in the past, with diversification in mind, in 1994 Modern Transmission Development Company in Leitchfield, Kentucky opened and a new business group was formed to manufacture leading technology transmissions for washing machines, tractors, and self-propelled mowers.

Continuing with the goal of becoming a global supplier, MTD purchased Gutbrod AG in Saarbrucken, Germany, to better serve the European marketplace.  This facility became the corporate headquarters of MTD Europe with the production of riders and walk behind mowers in Germany and expanded capacity to build electric mowers in Nemesvamos,Hungary.

Throughout the 90's, MTD Products continued to serve both the automotive and consumer outdoor power equipment industries.  With the rapid  growth of the outdoor power equipment business during this decade and a commitment to service the consumer, MTD Products made a strategic decision to focus solely on the outdoor power equipment industry.

Expanding our product lines

Innovation & Acquisitions

With the focus solely on the outdoor power equipment industry, MTD continued to expand the lawn and garden product line with the pivotal acquisitions of the Troy-Bilt, Bolens, and Remington outdoor power equipment brands launching MTD into the number one tiller position and expanding MTD's presence into the electric chainsaw and pole saw categories.

In addition to the U.S. acquisitions, MTD also acquired Wolf-Garten, a leading European brand and manufacturer of premium hand tools and electric products providing further penetration in the global market. Facility expansion was also made into the global market with the opening MTD Asia in Suzhou, China.

While expansion through acquisition was occurring, MTD engineers were hard at work designing the first zero turn tractor with a steering wheel. This innovative Synchro Steer® technology provides 4-wheel steering and stability on hills while allowing ease of operation with a steering wheel.

At the close of the decade, Robert T. Moll was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Jean Hlay was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of MTD Products Inc.

The Z-Force S with Synchro Steer®

New Technologies and Business Milestones

Building on the successes of the previous decade, MTD introduced the Synchro Steer® technology to the residential zero turn market, making it easier and faster for the consumer to mow their lawn.  While developing innovations for the zero turn consumer, the MTD engineers did not turn their focus away from the lawn tractor consumer. During this time, MTD introduced the first electronic power steering lawn tractor allowing it to steer like a car.

This was also a decade of alternative power sources.  Alternative fueled zero turn tractors were launched with the introduction of diesel and propane power fuels, a battery walk-behind mower, and an interchangeable handheld lithium ion battery system that can operate five handheld tools.

Another breakthrough technology included a lithium-ion battery JumpStartâ„¢ system allowing the consumer to start handheld tools with the push of a button. This innovation set the benchmark for the handheld industry.

During this decade, to continue growth globally, MTD purchased Rover Mowers in Brisbane Australia, an iconic Australian brand and expanded the Wolf-Garten brand in Europe to a full line of outdoor power equipment.

In 2012, due to a focus on quality and the consumer, strategic acquisitions and consumer valued innovation, MTD proudly celebrated 80 years in business with a leadership position in outdoor power equipment.

We continue to look to the future and are committed to providing consumers with the best consumer experience.  Our employees take pride in their work. Their combined talents, experience and passion will continue to make us successful and provide steady employment and opportunities in an ever changing global environment and in the communities in which we serve.