The main office of West Point Products,
on West Point Pike
From his company in
West Point Pennsylvania, the brilliant inventor and
businessman Thomas Mascaro revolutionized the
turfgrass industry in 1946 with his invention of the
Aerifier. The Aerifier is a
tractor drawn device for removing cores (or plugs)
of soil, which reduces soil compaction and allows
nutrients into the soil.
This was the first practical aerifier for greens and
fairways. Later Tom introduced a vertical mower to
control grain and thatch on greens.
In 1952 the Verticutter was invented for removing
thatch. All were manufactured at West Point
Products Incorporated, located on West Point
The Aerifier revolutionized the turfgrass
industry and golf course management.
Thomas Mascaro (1915-1997)
Tom was a machine
shop apprentice in West Point, where he learned
mechanical drawing, drafting and the operation of
machine tools. He also studied agriculture at Penn
State, organic chemistry at Temple University and inorganic
chemistry at Drexel Institute of Technology in
Philadelphia. He started West
Point Products in 1936 with his brother Tony as his
West Point Products'
principal product for its first 10 years were
special soil mixtures for golf course greens,
packaged potting soil and packaged organic
fertilizer. During WW II the plant made stainless
steel struts for wooden gliders. These gliders flew our
troops behind enemy lines during the Normandy
invasion on D Day.
The Arerifier trademark
was registered on August 2, 1946.
Tom Mascaro (standing, second from left) looks on as a piece of mowing equipment
Aerifiers lined up across from the manufacturing
plant in 1947
|West Point Products employed almost 100
people at its height of business
around 1968. It was sold to Kearny National in
1969 and then to Hahn Turf Products in
1971. Eventually Hahn was purchased by John
Tom retired in 1973, moved to Florida and
started another company, Turfgrass Products
Corp, now Turf-Tec International. Tom's son
John joined him as president in 1986. John
is also chair of a Historical Preservation
committee for the Sports Turf Managers
Association. Sadly, Tom passed away in 1997.
The Mascaro residence on West Point Pike was
sold in 1972. The office building on West Point
Pike was sold in 1976. Both were purchased by
Merck and Co. They were promptly demolished and
turned into parking lots.
The former location of West Point Products, now
a parking lot in 2012. The white building
background was the location
of the manufacturing plant.
information on the life of Tom Mascaro can
be found here in .PDF format.
Some literature on the Aerifier.
Each will open in a new window.