Fifty years ago, The Toro Company purchased a Riverside, California-based company, called Moist O’Matic, which manufactured plastic irrigation products. That purchase proved a wise investment and gave Toro its start in the underground irrigation business. Today, Toro is one of the leading manufacturers of irrigation products around the world.
It all started in 1962 when Moist O’Matic had made revolutionary advancements in the use of plastics and new designs to make water-efficient sprinklers, valves, and control systems. Toro’s 4th president, David Lilly, initiated the purchase of Moist O’Matic and hired John Singleton, a charismatic irrigation contractor he had met on a golf course, to pioneer Toro’s entry into golf irrigation. Initially, John made little progress but, fortunately, in 1969, John and the Toro irrigation team made several breakthroughs with golf superintendents, ultimately convincing them that plastic sprinkler systems were superior to traditional brass and iron systems. A mere three years later, Lilly could state in the annual report that Toro had become “the most widely used automatic equipment in golf course irrigation.”
Throughout the next several decades, The Toro Company made multiple acquisitions to enter new markets and product categories, and bolster its position in the industry. This included:
Hardie Irrigation (1996)
EICON Industrial Controls (2001)
R&D Engineering, a leading manufacturing of rain sensor devices (2003)
Rain Master (2007)
Turf Guard (2008)
Today, The Toro Company owns over 225 irrigation patents and manufactures a complete line of irrigation solutions including sprays, nozzles, rotors, valves, controllers, sensors, software, services and more. Through its distribution network, Toro delivers those solutions to homeowners, sports fields, municipalities, golf courses and agricultural growers around the world. The Toro irrigation business is still headquartered in Riverside, California, and remains dedicated to the same core values that made it thrive years ago—high quality, customer-valued innovation and relationships.
As Phil Burkart, vice president and general manager for Toro’s Irrigation Business, said, “Our 50 years in irrigation is something to be very proud of. We are withstanding the test of time as well as pushing ourselves daily to be solution providers through innovation, constantly challenging ourselves to eliminate waste and focus on quality, while growing and enhancing our customer relationships.”
Though many things have changed over the last five decades, one thing has remained the same – Toro’s unending passion to provide customers with high quality, innovative solutions. That’s why, even during economically uncertain times, Toro has continued to invest in a portfolio of Precision Irrigation products that upgrade existing systems to the latest, water-saving technology available.
As Toro looks to the next 50 years, customers can continue to count on Toro to be there, helping them care for their landscapes when they want, the way they want, better than anyone else. As Toro’s first president, John Samuel Clapper, was fond of saying, “The strength of any institution rests solely in the good will of the people with whom they deal. You can replace anything except the good will of your customers.”