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  In the 1940's,Weather-Matic debuted shrub heads in the early fifties, fixtures that were usually installed on risers high enough to sprinkle flowers and shrubs over the tops of foliage, or just above ground level to flood beds. Manufactured for both copper tubing and iron pipe risers, they were available in full-, half-, quarter-, and other part-circle patterns. Photo provided courtesy of Weather-Matic. In 1977, Rain Bird introduced the industry's first, all-plastic spray head. Debuting at a 2 1/16" pop-up height, the 1800 Series soon was enhanced by all-plastic nozzles, (quarter, third, half, three quarter, full, square end strip, and center strip) and operated at 12' to 15' spacing. Photo provided courtesy of Rain Bird.

When nomadic tribes settled in the fertile valleys between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers circa 7000 B.C., man's way of life began to shift from hunting and gathering to farming and herding. Soil was cultivated and irrigated by manpower; early farmers furrowed the earth with hand tools and carried water from the rivers in hand-clay pots and buckets. Over time, water lifting devices, aqueducts, surface water channels and flood hatches significantly improved agricultural and landscape irrigation. The earliest pop-up sprinklers, introduced in the 1930's, were fixed-spray sprinklers made of brass because of the metal's resistance to corrosion; today, "pop-up" sprinklers are the industry standard for most large turf area applications.

Orton H. Englehart revolutionized landscape irrigation in the 1930's when he invented the horizontal impact sprinkler. His innovative design had fewer moving parts than most other sprinklers of the time, making it more dependable and less expensive. The rights to Englehart's patented, impact sprinkler were acquired by the Rain Bird Company of Glendora, California.

In 1963, a U.S. patent was issued to Edwin J. Hunter, founder of Hunter Industries, for the first rotary pop-up sprinkler with plastic internal gears. This development, now a standard in the industry, marked the beginning of a new era of irrigation during which water conservation became an important issue. The plastic componetry of this innovative sprinkler operated on less water pressure than the old-style impact sprinklers, offering a significant reduction of water consumption. In addition, the plastic gear-drive design is self-lubricating and more resistant to corrosion than brass Quiet operation and ease of installation contributed to the industry's widespread acceptance of plastic gear-driven sprinklers.

In 1977, Rain Bird introduced the first all-plastic spray head. Continuously manufactured since, this product has been used on tens of thousands of industrial, light commercial and residential properties since its introduction. A 1981 addition implemented ultrasonic welding to the fixtures, a very high-frequency vibration which provides a stronger bond and reduces melts parts together through friction, thus fusing parts. Ranging from the first 2 1/16" to 12" pop-up heights-- subsequent product innovations through the years have increased performance, durability and adaptability to a wide range of sites. LASN

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June 18, 2019, 9:06 pm PDT

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