A Brief History of Lawn Mowers

History Behind-Lawn Mowers
Did you know that the very first lawn mower was invented way back in 1830 by Edwin Beard Budding in England? He was an engineer by profession, and the germ of the idea came to him while he was watching a cylindrical cutting machine used in a textile mill to trim cloth. Getting inspiration from this machine, Budding tinkered in his shed and came out with the first workable lawn mower. He then went on to establish a partnership with another engineer John Ferrabee to set up a factory in a place called Stroud. The very first Budding lawn mowers are still displayed in the Stroud museum, Milton Keynes Museum and the London Science Museum.

Lawns first appeared in France
The concept of having lawns for landscaping purposes was first mooted by the French aristocracy in the 1700s. The idea later spread to England and other parts of the world. The ingenious French first used animals to maintain their lawns. Once the lawn was overgrown, animals were let loose to graze on the green grass. Of course, there was always a low-paid knave to clean up the dung and mess created by the carnivores. It was later that shears, scythes and sickles came into use to trim the lawns.

Lawn mowers in the U.S.
In the United States too, the concept of mechanical lawn mowers appeared as early as 1868, when Amariah Hills first designed a reel type lawn mower and applied for a patent that was granted on January 12th the same year. The earliest lawn mowers were literally driven by horsepower – they were drawn by ponies that wore specially made leather booties as the hooves could damage the lawn. The first lawn mower that could be pushed by a human was designed by Elwood McGuire in 1870, in his hometown, Richmond, Indiana. Although there were others that appeared simultaneously, McGuire’s design was popular as it was lightweight and easily operable.

Steam and gas powered mowers
A couple of decades later, the first steam powered lawn mowers appeared around 1890. These were quite unwieldy machines and one had to wait for the water to get to a boil for steam to be generated before starting mowing operations. The concept was not very popular and failed without really taking off. This was followed by gasoline based lawn mowers that appeared around twenty years later. It was in 1902 that the first successful model of lawn mower with an internal combustion engine was made commercially available. The most popular gas lawn mowers at that time were manufactured by Colonel Edwin George.

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