This Chuck Hein photo of Jim Walker and his Radio Controlled Lawnmower on the golf course is from the mid 1950's
Jim Walker's inventions did not all take to the air. Here we see Jim Walker experimenting with early radio control, only this time he uses it to control his lawnmower. The press loved this invention and Jim Walker, the showman, made the most of it. As always, there is a story to shed a little light into the antics of this master showman.
Jim was always in demand at model sportsman shows, but when he brought along another of his
inventions, he really had an act. His RC lawnmower had gotten national publicity in popular
science type magazines that showed Jim in a hammock, sipping a glass while the mower ran up
and down the lawn. Millions laughed. (The mower, incidentally, was uncontrollable when
following a horse in a Seattle parade. Jim was fond of telling about the guy standing on a theater
marquee who laughed so hard he fell off and broke a leg.)
Before a crowded house at the Sportsman's Pier in Chicago, Jim made his grand entrance,
followed by the docile mower. A control switch was hidden in his belt buckle. Off to the side of
the tanbark ring stood three orange-colored Fireballs. Bowing and gesturing, Jim strode toward
center circle. Unknowingly, he hit the control switch. The jealous mower took off on its own,
sneaked up on the defenseless Fireballs and spewed forth a cloud of orange dust. It brought
down the house. The crowd kept roaring, "Encore, encore." (from July 1971 article in American Aircraft Modeler
Rare Newsreel footage of Jim Walker operating his Radio Controlled Lawnmower at his home in Portland, Oregon in 1948. Jim Walker was an inventor and early developer of radio control. Always the showman, Jim never missed a chance to show off for the camera. This exclusive American Junior Classics film clip is an exerpt from our A-J Archives DVD and is available in the A-J Store.
Click on picture below to see Jim Walker and his R/C Lawnmower in action
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