I remember when weed eaters, also known as weed whackers, were a new must-have gadget for every dad and weekend warrior. It was 1972 and a weed eater was just the tool to get the St. Augustine from around the fence posts in our front yard.

As an adult, I am seriously wondering why we have a tool that trims weeds instead of gets rid of them. I would say it was a misnomer, however I watched half a dozen homemade videos that I found on the Web and they all mentioned trimming weeds. Is this just a lazy man’s weed treatment? I did a little digging and this is what I found.

Question: What was the original purpose of a weed eater?

Answer: George C. Ballas, Sr. invented the Weed Eater to get those hard to reach places that his mower would not–exactly how it is marketed now. He had a huge yard and got the inspiration from watching a car wash clean a car with nylon lines to act as scrubbers.

Question: Was George C. Ballas just a lazy guy with a big middle that didn’t want to bend down and pull weeds?

Answer: Quite the contrary! I found the most biographical information on his son’s dance Web site. Yes, dance! Turns out George C. Ballas, Sr. owned the largest dance studio in the world. The Dance City USA Studio has 43,000 square feet of dance floor and is still operating in Stafford, Texas. He also started more than 100 other companies. I tried to email him but the message failed. Darn! He sounds like an incredible person and eating weeds was just one of his many hobbies.