Milestone Moments: The 75th Anniversary of Hayter

23 February 2022. 04.15 PM

Lets Get Social

Share photos of
your #HayterStripes

Back to blog
For 75 years, the Hayter® name has been synonymous with British gardening and engineering excellence. As we celebrate Hayter reaching its 75th anniversary, we take a proud look back at all of the incredible milestones reached throughout the Hayter heritage and how through years of commitment, industry-leading concepts and innovation, the brand earned its title of ‘Makers of the Finest Mowers”.

The brainchild of founder Douglas Hayter, Hayter’s story began in the village of Spellbrook, Hertfordshire. It has since become the UK’s largest and most esteemed manufacturer of rear roller lawnmowers and this legacy of quality, British craftsmanship and innovation has remained unchanged for over 75 years. Globally renowned for delivering the highest standard of design and engineering, Hayter have continued to invest in their workforce, facilities and products, with a tireless focus on providing an extraordinary customer experience and adapting to ever-evolving customer needs.

Few lawnmower brands have a heritage as rich and steeped in British culture as Hayter. When delving into Hayter’s history, there are so many iconic moments and significant achievements to consider as we look back over the last 75 years of progress and commercial success. The brand has been designing and manufacturing exceptional lawn mowers since 1947 and even holds the Royal Warrant as a proud supplier of fine British mowers and equipment to the Crown Estate.

The Hayter Heritage: A Timeline of Innovation and Commercial Success

Upon finding his life in Bishops Stortford unfulfilling and joining a touring air circus servicing aeroplane engines, Douglas Hayter was left with a relentless desire to pursue engineering long term. After completing his apprenticeship, Douglas Hayter moved to Spellbrook in 1937 to begin a new and exciting chapter with his wife.

In 1938, Douglas Hayter started his own business, erecting workshops and sawmills. Fueled by his sincere passion for engineering, the Hayter brand was established primarily as an agricultural building company. Douglas also manufactured his own plant during this time and even invented a top-secret device for the War office.

Borrowing a cutter bar mower from a friend to clear space for a new office building that was both tedious and inefficient to use, Douglas saw an opportunity to create a lawnmower that had a more innovative design. The new concept combined the mechanism of the horse-drawn rotary mower with a second-hand two-stroke engine. With this idea, the first-ever Hayter rotary lawnmower was born and Hayter became a limited company, leading to an influx of requests from friends and neighbours wanting new machines for themselves.
The quest for innovation and class-leading design has been in the Hayter DNA since 1947, when the very first 24” Motor Scythe mower was introduced.

The 1950s marked another stand-out decade for the Hayter brand with the 1956 introduction of the 26” self-propelled roller mower, the first machine designed for the professional market, and the iconic red and silver Hayterette in 1957 as the first machine for the domestic market. Products in the self-propelled roller drive Hayter mower range created the immaculate, picture-perfect ‘Hayter stripes’ that the brand is now recognised for today and that owners of small homes and grand estates alike try to recreate. The Hayterette with a 98cc Villers engine and 18” cut was quickly established as a product in high demand and earned the BAGMA award for “Best Horticulture Machine of the Year” in its 10th year of production.

A momentous year for Hayter, the 1960s saw the brand awarded one of the most prestigious accolades in the country, the Royal Warrant for the supply of a machine to Her Majesty the Queen and the Sandringham Estate. The Royal Warrant status is still retained today, cementing Hayter as a company that delivers British craftsmanship and quality unattainable elsewhere.

Hayter also expanded its product offering to include the 21” self-propelled mower and the first Ambassador cylinder mower in the 1960s, leading to the historical Spellbrook plant being increased to 25,000 sq ft. Curating a network of distributors from around the globe and reaching consumers in over 110 countries worldwide, Hayter made significant strides as a company throughout the decade.

The first Hayter ride-on mower was introduced in the 1970s; the Bank Rider held the title of one of the first rotary mowers with a hydraulic motor drive to the cutting deck. The first Hayter Harrier model was also produced in the 1970s, bringing a new, innovative lawn mower machine to the forefront of the industry that remains popular today, whilst the decade also marked the addition of the 12” Hawk, the Osprey and the Condor.

With this decade came the first-ever electric mower, the 16” Hayter Hobby, crafted for small and medium lawns. This period of innovation led to Hayter being listed on the London Stock Exchange.

In 1985, Douglas Hayter sold the business to F.H Tompkins, a financial holding company, who went on to partner with Beaver Equipment Limited and Murray Ohio Manufacturing Co, which was the world’s largest mower manufacturer. These strategic acquisitions enhanced the Hayter name further with a wealth of new expertise and a large investment in manufacturing facilities.

Hayter received a prestigious award from Briggs and Stratton corporation for producing the one-millionth mower with a B&S engine in the ’90s. The company celebrated 50 years of innovation and excellent engineering and another significant milestone with the production of the Jubilee range marking the Golden Jubilee.

In 1996 the first battery mower, the Harrier 41, was produced, introducing further innovation and excitement to the industry.

With the millennium came a new, prosperous acquisition as Hayter partnered with The Toro Company, joining its family of global brands. Toro are experts in the field, supplying specialist turf management products to international companies, venues and events including Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, Walt Disney World® Resort and the Wimbledon Championships.

This acquisition resulted in a series of handheld products such as brush cutters and hedge trimmers being incorporated into the Hayter offering and significant investment in Hayter’s Spellbrook facility to further strengthen the brand’s manufacturing process.

In 2006, Hayter reached its 60th anniversary and launched the new Harrier 48 and 56 range, further diversifying their already iconic product portfolio. Constantly at the forefront of rear roller technology and design, Hayter also redesigned the popular Harrier range and introduced brand-new PRO models to the marketplace in 2010.

Today the brand continues to deliver a first-class offering of British lawnmowers and gardening equipment, and have been embracing new battery technology that allows homeowners to mow without emitting exhaust emissions with the launch of the 60V Cordless range. Given the historical success and innovation behind the Hayter brand, it’s clear to see that Hayter is in a strong position to capture future opportunities and continue to offer matchless products and services to their worldwide customer base.

Sales and Marketing Manager at Toro, Craig Hoare highlights “Hayter has been at the forefront of maintaining British gardens for over 75 years and we continue to invest and develop products for the ever-changing needs and desires of the British gardener.  Our in-house engineering and R&D department are working to combine the traditions associated with the Hayter brand of product quality and craftsmanship with modern technologies to make new and exciting products. In the future you will see more use of Lithium-ion battery power and also the development of more features that add convenience and comfort to our customers.  The last 75 years has seen so much change and innovation at Hayter and the next 75 years will be no different!”

Find out more about our rich Hayter heritage on our blog today.