The year was 1969. America’s televisions were tuned to Gunsmoke and Marcus Welby, M.D. The Beatles’ Come Together topped the Billboard music charts. Drivers paid 35 cents for a gallon of gas. And the first Zimmatic center pivot went to work on Everett Nathan’s farm near Newman Grove, Nebraska.
“We will kick off the 50th anniversary celebration this week – 50 years almost to the day the first Zimmatic pivot was sold,” said Randy Wood, president of Global Irrigation at Lindsay Corporation.
Pivot Number One was designed and built by Arthur and Bernard Zimmerer, sons of Lindsay Corporation founder, Paul Zimmerer. Unlike other pivots at the time, it was an electric-drive system that was specifically designed to negotiate hilly terrain – earning it the nickname the “hill climber.” Electricity has since become a standard power source for pivots.
“More than any other manufacturer, this original pivot is the closest to what has become today’s production units,” said Charlie Meis, retired vice president of engineering for Lindsay Corporation.
Meis acquired and refurbished Pivot Number One in 2011. The 10-tower, 1,290-foot machine still works over 120 acres on his farm south of Tilden, Nebraska. It has irrigated every growing season for the past 50 years.
“I have a lot of pride in the product and the company, and I decided I’d be willing to keep it running as long as I was around,” said Meis.
To date, more than 140,000 Zimmatic pivots have been shipped to agricultural operations around the world. Our pivots are working over approximately 12 million acres in 90 countries.
“With the first Zimmatic pivot, we launched what has become a global effort to help growers produce more with less,” Wood said. “While we celebrate our past, we also are looking toward the future and the critical food challenges that lie ahead. We are committed to innovating the tools and solutions to help meet those challenges and continue to be good stewards of the environment.”
Our celebration will begin with a special event at our Lindsay, Nebraska, manufacturing facility on November 8th. Lindsay employees, along with customers and nearby Zimmatic dealers, will gather for lunch and a story-telling session with current and retired employees who will share stories about the growth of the company and the entrepreneurial spirit that helped make us global leaders in the irrigation industry.