Farmer’s Invention a Slam Dunk


What do basketball hoops and tractors have in common? More than you might think!

Arthur Ehrat managed the former Farmers Elevator Co and was a member of the Sangamon Farm Bureau. At his job, he was known for inventing things, including two different types of field spreaders.

In 1975, his nephew Randy asked if he had any ideas on how to make a basketball hoop that wouldn’t break or injure players during dunks.

Ehrat experimented with all sorts of different springs that could snap the rim back into place during a dunk. He tested about 30 different kinds including car valve springs but found they weren’t strong enough.

Looking for something with strength and quality, Ehrat turned to the equipment he knew best. The winning spring was from a John Deere cultivator. In addition to being strong enough, it was also the right shape and diameter.

Ehrat named his prototype “The Rebounder” and patented it on December 28th, 1982. His breakaway rim is housed in both the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Smithsonian.