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History Overview

Within its near century-long history, Briggs & Stratton has cultivated a legacy of innovation that will last for years to come. Products as diverse as electric refrigerators, battery eliminators, and coin-operated paper towel dispensing machines mark the Company’s dedication to finding ways to add value to the business.

For detailed information about our Briggs & Stratton history, please download our Briggs & Stratton History PDF

In the Beginning (1908 – 1920)

In 1908, an informal partnership was formed between inventor Stephen F. Briggs and investor Harold M. Stratton.

This partnership eventually developed into Briggs & Stratton as it is known today.

Providing Power and Service (1920 – 1960)

Briggs & Stratton was able to provide power for innumerable applications including agricultural and military applications.

In 1953, the Company revolutionized the lawn and garden industry by developing the first lightweight aluminum engine.

Powering the World (1960 – 1980)

The lawn and garden market grew as a result of rapid growth of suburbs. Mowers powered by Briggs & Stratton engines became an integral part of suburban life.

A period of product innovations followed, including Easy-Spin® starting, lo-tone mufflers, and an automatic choke.

Repowering Briggs & Stratton (1980 – 1995)

The entry of moderately priced premium Japanese engines to the market as well as the demand by mass retailers for lower prices presented a critical challenge to the Company.

Briggs & Stratton responded by reorganizing into product-focused divisions, expanding product lines to include the industrial/commercial and Vanguard® engine lines, as well as expanding its presence in lucrative foreign markets.

2000 and Beyond

Current Chairman, President, and CEO John Shiely, with the help of COO Todd Teske, are carving out a future of continued success for the Company. This future includes the entry into the end-products business.

In 2000, Briggs & Stratton purchased Generac Portable Products Systems, which produced pressure washers, generators, pumps, and other home power products.

In 2004, the Company acquired Simplicity Manufacturing, a leading designer and marketer of a broad range of premium outdoor power equipment used in both consumer and commercial lawn and garden applications. Included in this acquisition were the Snapper, Snapper-Pro, Giant-Vac, and Ferris brands.

With a growing presence in the end-products business, the Company was restructured to more effectively meet the demands of its markets. In 2006, Briggs & Stratton organized its various segments into four main business groups: Engine, Yard, Home, and International Power Products Groups.

On the heels of this strategic advance the Company also unveiled its new branding message, The Power Within. Aimed at sharing an emotional connection with its customers, the campaign emphasizes the Company's 98-year-old legacy, corporate strengths, and the value of the independent spirit beyond its product lines. Briggs & Stratton believes there is an engine inside everyone that drives him or her forward. Evidence of this is seen in the Company’s customers, who have an extreme sense of pride and satisfaction in a job well done. Briggs & Stratton is committed to giving them the products to accomplish that.

Learn more about Briggs & Stratton’s 100 year anniversary here!

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