Riders are standard now for wood floor companies that do extensive gym work, but when David Fuller started in the family business as a 16-year-old in the ‘60s, sanding gym floors meant exhausting long days walking miles with a heavy big machine. That all changed for him in 1976 when an old-time wood floor pro (whose name is lost to time) from Louisiana showed up on a job at Texas A&M University and told Fuller he had a creation that made the work easier. He had built a box with a 2-hp washing machine motor and a seat that connected to the big machine with what was basically a trailer hitch. With his right hand, the operator controlled a 3-foot handle on the box to put the machine in forward, reverse or neutral. With his left hand, he steered the big machine. “Back in the ‘70s, you could probably sand 3,000 feet in a gym in a day, but with this we could double it—and I could sleep at night without cramps in my legs!” Fuller used it for years with little modification, except for adding a cushioned seat, and he taught his son to use it in the ‘80s. Still going strong at 74, Fuller’s company, Atlanta-based Fuller Sport Floors, now has five sets of modern riders, but he still has fond memories of this early prototype. “That machine was revolutionary,” he says.
A Washing Machine Motor + Plastic Lawn Chair = An Early Rider
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