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Welcome to the
Snow-Bird Snowblower Webpage.


This webpage is about SnowBird Snowblowers, which were originally designed and manufactured by the "George Garden Tools" division of Community Industries, in Sullivan, Illinois.

George Garden Tools coined the well known marketing phrase "Let George Do It", and they built the original models of the
SnowBird Snowblower from 1958 to 1967.

Community Industries of Sullivan, Illinois began in 1946, and one of their early products was the 2-wheel "George Garden Tractor".

The years right after WWII, the late 1940's and into the 1950's, was a huge era of growth for the "suburban homeowner" market. (a market which prior to WWII barely existed) But after WWII Americans began flocking to the new suburbs in huge numbers, buying homes, cars, tv's, and a vast new market was opening up for "lawn and garden machines" for the millions of new suburban lawns and gardens.  A huge boom in push-lawnmowers, riding mowers, garden tractors, roto-tillers, and snowblowers were all introduced during this era, and competition was fierce, resulting in rapid improvements and new and better models being introduced every year. George Garden Tools and their
SnowBird Snowblower of 1958 was one of the earlier  snowblowers made for homeowner use. Toro introduced their first snowblower in 1951, Ariens had a snowblower attachment for one of their rototillers in 1952, and by 1960 the modern "walk behind" dedicated snowblower, as we know it today, was well underway.

The SnowBird snowblower of 1958 to 1967 was a leader in the early snowblower market, resulting in a very high-quality line that stood up alongside the best of them, Ariens, Gilson, Toro, Simplicity, and other manufacturers from the "golden era" of classic American-made high-quality yard and garden machines. (This classic era of high-quality US-made machines was essentially the 1950's, 60's and 70's..By the mid to late 1980's, and especially through the 1990's, the downward trend in quality had begun, with the introduction of the big-box stores and the new American desire for things being as cheap (low cost) as possible.(cheap in cost usually equals cheap in quality.) If you are reading these words, you probably already know all about that.)

For the purposes of this webpage, I am going to divide up the entire SnowBird line into three "generations", that correspond with ownership of the SnowBird brand name, and also roughly correspond to the different generations of the machines themselves:

Generation 1:

The SnowBird snowblower line was first designed and built by George Garden Tools from 1958 to 1967. These are the "original" machines, and generally the ones people think of when they imagine a SnowBird snowblower. Most of the models in Generation 1 have the classic SnowBird "shrouds" or "cowls" over the engine, protecting the engine from the elements, but also adding a distinctive style and unique sense of industrial design to these snowblowers, which was very unusual for snowblowers of any era! Making SnowBird's the most "stylish" of all snowblowers! Most Gen-1 SnowBirds have these covers and shrouds to various degrees, except for the first three models, the 20-inch "Snow Chicks" and the very *last* Gen-1 models! (the last two models in Gen-1, the 228 and the 265 from 1966/67, no longer had the coverings, probably due to simple economics.)

Generation 2:

In 1967 The George Power Tools division was bought by the Yard-Man company, (which was still a quality name at that time) And Yard-Man continued to produce
SnowBird snowblowers mostly unchanged for several years. "Yard-Man Snow-Birds" were produced from 1967 to 1975. At first the Yard-Man Snow Birds were generally unchanged from the last of the original "George" designs, (the un-shrouded 228 and 265) and were basically those same machines, but which now also said "Yard-Man" in addition to "SnowBird" on the name plate. Then gradually the original "George" designs and features were phased out, as Yard-Man snowblowers continued to evolve along with the industry at large.

Generation 3:
Then in 1975 the SnowBird snowblower "brand" was sold a second time, as Yard-Man was bought and folded into the MTD family of brands, where it remains to this day. MTD closed the original SnowBird plant at this time, but they kept the SnowBird name alive for several more years. But this time "MTD-built" SnowBirds became "Snow Birds in name only"..bearing only the old and respected brand name, but the machines themselves contained no original SnowBird DNA whatsoever.

These machines arent necessarily bad! they are most likely perfectly respectable quality from the late 70's (when most snowblowers were still of decent quality) Yes, today MTD is considered a "lower-end" brand name, but that is only since the 1990's really.

But for the "
SnowBird Collector" these machines arent terribly interesting or deseriable, simply because they arent "real" Snow Birds! They really have nothing to do with the Gen 1 and Gen 2 machines..So these "last of the Snow Birds" are, in my opinion, not even worth collecting..they are simply late 70's and 1980's era MTD's, no different than any other MTD snowblower from that time. In short, these very last SnowBirds are "nothing special"..unlike their ancestors.

MTD made the last "
Snow Bird in name only" about 1983, (exact year is still uncertain) ending 25 total years of the Snow Bird line.

For
SnowBird collectors, in my opinion only the first two generations of SnowBirds are worth collecting and restoring. The Original SnowBirds of course, made by George from 1958 to 1967, and some of the earlier Yard-Man machines, produced 1967 to 1975, which still retained much of the original "SnowBird DNA" and features..The very last Gen-3 machines arent worth considering, unless you are a *very* dedicated snowblower collector and perhaps want to find "one of each!" ;) In that case, the very last MTD-built machines might be interesting, just to round out the personal collection. (I dont know of any collectors that dedicated yet! ;)

All these various generations, phases, models, and manufacturers will be detailed below, and sorting them all out, and learning about all the different models in detail, is actually the primary purpose of this webpage.

So, with that brief background, on to the SnowBirds!








Generation 1


These are the "original" SnowBirds, designed and built by the "George Garden Tools" division of Community Industries, in Sullivan, Illinois. These snowblowers were made from 1958 to 1967, and there are Twenty Two models in Generation 1.

The following list of models for Generation 1 comes from an actual
Snow-Bird document! dated January 1, 1968, which lists all the original models, plus the first three Yard-Man models. A scan of the actual paper document can be found in the "Snowbird Snowblowers Yahoo Group":
 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SnowBirdSnowblowers


Model names are not related to years, even though they might appear to be at first glance. (For example, for the model 261, the "26" stands for "26-inch scoop"..but the "1" does *not* mean 1961! even though the model 261 did happen to come out in 1961, but that is just a coincidence. The "1" in 261 actually means "the first 26-inch SnowBird made". Then the "2" in model 262 only means "The 2nd 26-inch SnowBird made" etc..The third digit in the model name is not a year! It's simply a consecutive model number..The chart below should help make this clear:





Below is a list of all the Generation 1 models.
This list wont be in exact
consecutive order by year, instead it will be by scoop size. Beginning with the 22-inch models (since they were the first) then the 20-inch models, then 24-inch, and ending with the 26-inch models.



Snow Bird Model FB
Produced 1958
22 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 3HP 80302

The first SnowBird! believed produced one year only.
I dont yet have a photo or a drawing of a model FB, if anyone knows of one, please let me know! :)




Snow Bird Model S
Produced 1958-1959
22 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 3HP 80302

The second SnowBird model.
I dont yet have a photo of an actual model S, but here is a drawing from the cover of the owners manual:

Model S drawing





Snow Bird Model SD
Produced 1959 - 1960
22 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 3HP 80302

The third SnowBird model.
I dont yet have a photo of an actual model SD, but here is a drawing from the cover of the owners manual:







Snow Bird Model SB
Produced 1960 - 1961
22 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 3HP 80302


The Fourth SnowBird model.
I dont yet have a photo of an actual model SB, but here is a drawing from the cover of the owners manual:



(The owners manual that drawing came from says Model "SB-60" rather than simply "Model SB"..
I dont yet know if "Model SB" and "Model SB-60" are one and the same, with perhaps slightly different
naming conventions in different pieces of literature..Or if they might be two slightly different models. I suspect it is more likely that there is only one model SB, and the designation SB-60 might have been an early "expreiment" in different naming conventions..because the naming convention would change with the next model! the model 224. Could SB-60 perhaps stand for 1960? an experiment with using a "model year" as part of the name? which was never formally adopted and never repeated? perhaps..more research is necessary to know for sure what "SB-60" means.)

Notice that the the models before the SB have "traditional" engine placements..where the engine is simply sitting on top of the snowblower body, and "open" to the elements..This was standard procedure for the era, and nearly all other snowblower manufacturers did this from the start, and never altered that simple design, which continues to today.

But notice that the model SB is the first SnowBird to have some interesting cowls and covers over the engine! Which are not only practical, keeping snow and water off of the engine, but also add an element of *style* to the snowblower! This deliberate styling would continue, and evolve, for the remainder of the 1st series models up to 1966, (except for the last two Gen-1 models), resulting in SnowBird snowblowers being some of the most interesting *looking* snowblowers ever! with a very cool look of style, flair and classic industrial design not usually seen on such a utilitarian machine as a snowblower.




Snow Bird Model 224
Produced 1961 - 1962
22 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 3HP 80302


The Fifth SnowBird model.
And the first to use the new 3-digit naming convention, which continues for the remainder of the 1st Generation. This 3-digit model name system is comprised of the bucket width for the first two digits, "22 inch bucket" in this case, then the 3rd digit is a
consecutive model number, "224" is the 4th 22-inch model produced, "225" is the 5th 22-inch model, "226" is the 6th, etc..

(Remember, the third digit does *not* indicate a model year!)

Although! in this case, model 224 is actually the fifth 22-inch model! (and the 5th
SnowBird overall) So why isn't the model 224 actually named the 225? the reason is currently unknown..(hopefully further research will answer these sort of questions) a theory is perhaps that the very first model, the model FB, was sufficiently different from future models that it wasnt considered "one of the series" and instead the counting began with the 2nd model, the "Model S", which would then make the 224 the 4th in the series..But that is just a theory for now..



The model 224 continues the early "styling" of the model SB before it, with some additional refinements.

1961 Model 224, owned by Scot L. of Rochester, NY.













For more information on this particular model 224, and its eventual return to operating condition, see this thread: http://www.snowblowerforum.com/1961-snowbird


Videos of the model 224:









Snow Bird Model 225
Produced 1962 - 1963
22 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 4HP 100202


The 224 evolved into the 225, which was produced 1962 - 1963.
The 225 and it's 26" 1962 stablemate, the 262, were the first models to use the new styling, which was in use for five years, 1962 to 1967. For lack of a better term, I will call it the "Mid-60's" styling. Here is a nice model 225 owned by Jon S.







Thanks Jon!




Snow Bird Model 226
Produced 1963 - 1964 - 1965
22 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 4HP 100202-0274-01


"Ken B. in CT" sent me some photos of his 1964 model S-226.
There are three model years listed for the 226: 1963, '64, and '65.
The only reliable method (that I know of so far) to date a Snowbird is to use the Briggs (or Tecumseh, for later models) serial number. (assuming of course that it's the original engine! but it usually is.)  In this case, Ken sent me the Briggs engine data from the Briggs plate:

Model# 100202
Type# 0169 01
Code# 6406221

The Code number, 6406221, contains a date code. It says the engine was assembled at B&S on June 22, 1964. (the final number 1 is a plant code) So this clearly tells us that the snowblower itself is clearly a 1964 model.
Thanks Ken!










Snow Bird Model 227
Produced 1965 - 1966
22 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 4HP 100202-0274-01


Here is a model 227 owned by Ted K. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Thanks for the pics Ted!

















Snow Bird Model 228
Produced 1966 - 1967
22 inch, single speed
Engine: Lauson 4HP H40-55114F


Snow Bird Model 228s
Produced 1967
22 inch, single speed
Engine: Lauson 4HP H40-55146G





Snow Bird Model 201
Produced 1962 - 1963 - 1964
20 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 3HP 80302


In 1962 Snowbird came out with their third snowblower size, the smallest of the lineup, a 20-inch scoop model. Only three 20-inch models were made in "Generation 1" the 201, 202, and 203, and they were only made in five model years, 1962 to 1966.

According to a Snowbird document from 1968, the first 20-inch model, the 201, might have been called the "Smart Way", while the 202 and the 203 were called "Snow Chick" models..(a "chick" being a baby bird of course.)



Snow Bird Model 202
Produced 1964 - 1965
20 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 3HP 80302


Here we have a 1964 "Snow Chick" model 202, owned by Mike L. of Phildelphia, PA. Mike bought this snowblower in 2013. Thanks for the photos Mike!











Snow Bird Model 203
Produced 1965 - 1966
20 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 3HP 80302-0357-01


Snow Bird Model 241
Produced 1964 - 1965
24 inch, two speed
Engine: B&S 4HP 100202-0274-01


Snow Bird Model 242
Produced 1965 - 1966
24 inch, two speed
Engine: B&S 4HP 100202-0274-01


Snow Bird Model 261
Produced 1961 - 1962
26 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 6HP 143302


Snow Bird Model 262
Produced 1962 - 1963
26 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 6HP 143302


Snow Bird Model 262-2
Produced 1962 - 1963
26 inch, two speed
Engine: B&S 6HP 143302


Snow Bird Model 263
Produced 1963 - 1964
26 inch, single speed
Engine: B&S 6HP 502816


Snow Bird Model 263-2
Produced 1964 - 1965
26 inch, two speed
Engine: B&S 6HP 143302


Snow Bird Model 264
Produced 1965 - 1966
26 inch, two speed
Engine: B&S 6HP 146402-0223-01


Snow Bird Model 265-2
Produced 1966 - 1967
2 inch, two speed
Engine: Lauson 6HP H60-75213F










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Generation 2

early notes on Gen 2:
(this section in progress! ;)

In 1967 The George Power Tools division was bought by the Yard-Man company, (which was still a quality name at that time) And Yard-Man continued to produce SnowBird snowblowers mostly unchanged for several years. "Yard-Man Snow-Birds" were produced from 1967 to 1975. At first the Yard-Man Snow Birds were generally unchanged from the last of the original Generation 1 "George" designs, (the un-shrouded models 228 and 265 of 1966/67) and were basically those same machines, but which now also said "Yard-Man" in addition to "SnowBird" on the name plate. Then gradually the original "George" designs and features were phased out, as Yard-Man snowblowers continued to evolve along with the industry at large.

These "Generation 2" models were made by Yard-Man from 1967 to 1975, and over time, many of the original
SnowBird features gradually disappeared. It is not yet known exactly when, and with which models, the original "SnowBird DNA" finally disappeared..it was probably with the last models of Generation 2. (future research will hopefully clarify these questions)

Known Generation 2 models so far.
(photos and more info is on the way!)

Model 7000, produced 1967 - 1968
Model 7010, produced 1967 - 1968
Model 7020, produced 1967 - 1968

Model 7040
Model 7090
Model 7100
Model 7160
Model 7200

(there are probably more models..stay tuned..)



Representative model of the "Generation 2" Snowbird, the "Yard-Man Snow-Bird" of 1967 - 1975. Exact model uncertain, photo from ebay.

Note that Generation 2 machines still retain the original Snow Bird scoop, chute design, gear transmission and chain drive to the rear wheels. The main visual difference between a late Gen1 and an early Gen2 is the addition of the "Yard-Man" name on the dash panel, but still using the original Snow-Bird logo and name as well.




Yard-Man Snow Bird Model 7040

Here we have some photos of a nice "Generation 2" Snow Bird, made by Yard-Man. The exact model year of this machine is uncertain, but it probably around 1970. This machine is owned by Ari P. of Upper Darby, PA. Thanks for the photos Ari!























Generation 3

Generation 3, the "MTD Snowbird"
More info to come..



Representative photos of the "Generation 3" Snowbird, the "MTD Snowbird" Exact models uncertain, photos from ebay.

Produced 1975 to 19?? (up to 1983 at least..still uncertain as to the final year of production) These Generation 3 machines are "Snowbirds in name only" and contain no ancestral DNA from the original Snowbird line. They are simply late 70's and 1980's MTD's, using the Snowbird name.











Other "George Manufacturing" Products:

Known products made by the "George Garden Tools" division of Community Industries, in Sullivan Illinois, 1946 to 1967.
(this is probably not a complete list)

George Garden Tractor
Snow-Bird Snowblower
Earth-Bird Rototiller
Lawn-Bird Riding Mower
Work-Bird Power Tractor

The "George Garden Tractor", an early product, first introduced in 1946.







1958 - 1959 Earth Bird Rototiller.







"Work Bird Power Tractor" - no date listed on the owners manual but probably mid 1960's. Unusual design! front wheel drive!

(I have the full .pdf of that WorkBird owners manual! send me an email if you would like a copy.)

I have been looking for photos of an "Lawn Bird" riding mower, made by George before 1967, with no luck so far. Yard-Man inherited all the names after 1967, and they did make a 1970's riding mower/tractor called a "Lawn Bird", but I doubt it is related to the original "George" Lawn Bird.


Snow-Bird Logo evolution:

In addition to their interesting and unique snowblower styling, George also had some cool graphics! Here is a sampling of logos used from the 1950's through the 1970's:

It is believed the Earth Bird rototiller existed before the Snow Bird snowblower:


1958-1959 Earth Bird Logo. (and perhaps earlier)



The first Snow Bird logo, seen on the 1958 and 1959 models.



1960 - 1967 Snow Bird Logo.
The second Snowbird logo.
This was the primary Snow Bird logo seen on most snowblowers, manuals and advertisements from 1960 to 1967.



Mid 1960's to early 1970's Snow Bird Logo.
The third, and final "George Industries" Snowbird logo.
This one is a minor variant on the "second" logo.
The "snowflakes" have been altered a bit, the snow pile has been altered a bit, and the biggest change is the bird's arm has been moved lower, so its no longer covering up part of his beak.
This logo seems have been used on a few snowblowers, and manuals, during the same time the earlier one was also being used. This logo did also transfer over to Yard-Man and can be seen on the early Yard-Man Snowbirds in the 1968 to early 70's timeframe.



Probably mid-1960's (exact date uncertain) Work-Bird logo.




1968 - 1972 (or so) Yard-Man Snowbird nameplate design.
The "Generation two" Snowbird.
In 1968 Yard-Man bought the Snowbird snowblower line, and continuted to make Snowbirds until 1975. Originally the machines were unchanged from the "George" designs, and only a new nameplate with "Yard-Man" was added. The logo is the "third" Snowbird logo, as seen above.

It is believed the original "Snow Bird DNA" died out about 1975, with the last of the Yard-Man snowbirds. In 1975, Yard-Man was taken over by MTD, who also continued to make "Snowbird" snowblowers, but this time they were "Snowbirds in name only"..The original "George" designs were no longer used, and the "MTD snowbirds" were the same machines as the other MTD brands of the era, and were no longer evolutionary desendants of the original George designs.


Post 1975 MTD Snowbird logo.
This is now a "Third Generation" Snowbird, and no longer related to the original Snowbirds, except in name only.



Early 1980's MTD Snowbird logo.
This is perhaps the last Snowbird logo design used. Again a "Generation Three" Snowbird. It is not yet know when the last Snowbirds were made, it was as late as 1983, but probably not much later.











For more information on SnowBird snowblowers, the good source on the web is The Snow Bird Snowblowers yahoo group. click here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SnowBirdSnowblowers/

That group contains a wealth of information! :)
photos, manuals, documents, and an active and helpful community of
SnowBird enthusiasts ready to answer any questions you might have!

Another great snowblower forum is snowblowerforum.com
http://www.snowblowerforum.com/
another excellent discussion forum! This one is dedicated to *all* snowblower brands, not
SnowBirds specifically. (although SnowBird discussion is certaintly welcome there.)

This
SnowBird webpage is now the third "brand-specific" informational snowblower webpage on the web! :) The first was (and still is) Pete's excellent "Gilson Snowblower Shop" webpage, dedicated to Gilson snowblowers, online since 2006:
http://www.gilsonsnowblowers.com/

Then in 2009 I created the "Ariens 1960's and 1970's Sno-Thro Info Site."
http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/Ariens/



And now this SnowBird page is the 3rd brand-specific snowblower "hobby webpage", which first went "live" in April, 2013.

This page is very much under construction! ;)
Im going to post this page in the two snowblower forums (linked above) and ask for more info, and photos! to begin rounding out the page..If you have anything you would like to share, photos, info, comments, correction, please feel free to email me!

sscotsman@yahoo.com


My other "Classic American Iron" pages:
1960's and 70's Ariens Snowblowers.
1964 Wheel Horse tractor.

Return to Scot's main webpage.


I'm looking for a Snowbird model 263 or 264!
If anyone knows of one looking for a new home in Western, NY, please let me know! :)
thanks,
Scot

Scot Lawrence
Page started April 19, 2013.
Last updated
December 6, 2013.


This educational, non-profit site is not affiliated with
 George Garden Tools, Community Industries, Yard-Man or MTD.
It is simply the "hobby webpage" of the owner of a classic 1960's Snow-Bird.