The History of the Parker Company
Parker Company is the oldest manufacturer of lawn sweepers and debris-handling equipment in the world. The story of Parker reveals an interesting heritage. In 1878 William Parker a pattern maker, left England for America and moved to Springfield, Ohio which at the time was a hub for agricultural equipment manufacturing. He established a pattern-making shop in 1884 called the W.T. Parker Manufacturing Co. In 1915 he renamed it Parker Pattern Works Co. and created a machine that gave birth to the lawn sweeping industry.
A Chicago hardware company was the first recorded customer to purchase a sweeper in 1921. After that initial sale Parker began producing lawn sweepers on a larger scale. When the lawn sweeping business boomed Parker split into two separate companies. Pattern making continued under the already established company name while the Springfield Lawn Sweeper Co. concentrated on making lawn sweepers. The advent of World War II temporarily changed the operations of both companies. They were joined back together to form the Parker Pattern and Foundry Co. which manufactured military parts.
After the war the company returned its focus to lawn sweepers. They introduced machines suitable for domestic lawn care use and experienced a period of growth and expansion. In 1948 the company changed its name to the Parker Sweeper Co.
On the international front, in the mid 1950s their products reached South America, Europe, Africa, the Soviet Union, Japan and the Far East. By the late 1960s Parker's product line included powered or trailing lawn sweepers, power rakes, debris removal equipment and indoor/outdoor vacuums.During the late 1970s international sales accounted for 20% of their sales.
The Parker Sweeper Company of Springfield, Ohio sold the Electro-Sweep ES-5628 in the Late 1950’s. This Lawn Sweeper is not Unlike Models still used today. The motor drives the brushes, which in turn sweep leaves and other yard debris into the canvas catcher.
The sweeper pictured here belonged to Elna Eileen Ridgway of Atwood in Rawlins County and was given to the Kansas Museum of History by her son Evan.