Mower History 101
Lawn mowers. Every proud gardener needs one, and if you don’t have one, your neighbour probably will! Theres no better feeling than looking out at a freshly cut lawn on a sunny day. The vibrant colour brightening up anyone’s garden, and the fresh smell tickling your senses. Its undeniable that the lawn mower is the modern gardeners essential.
Let’s take a look at where the lawn mower came from… Who was the first one to come up with it? And why?
The first ever lawn mower was invented by a man called Edwin Budding in 1830. In a town called Thrupp, in Gloucestershire. They were initially invented to cut the grass on sports grounds and stately gardens. Up until then they used a scythe, but the lawn mower was granted a British patent on August 31st, 1830.
The first ever mower, which was pushed from behind, was made from wrought iron. It measured at 19 inches or 480mm.
The similarity between this mower and the modern models are astonishingly similar. Cast-iron gear wheels transmitted power from the rear roller to the cutting cylinder. Another roller placed between the cutting cylinder and the main roller could be raised or lowered depending on how long or short you wanted your grass to be cut. So they pretty much worked in the same way the mowers we use now. You know what they say, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
The first machines, made by Budding, were sold to Regent’s Park Zoological Gardens in London and the Oxford Colleges. John Ferabee and Edward Budding had made an agreement that Ferabee would pay the costs to enlarge the small blades. They obtained patenting letter and got the rights to manufacture, sell and license the manufacturing of lawn mowers.
Soon after, other companies began making copies of their mower under license, and in 1832 the most successful copy was a mower made by Ransomes of Ipswich.
Ten years later and the traditional lawn mower has been improved and modified to be pulled by animals. A nice improvement to make lawn mowing nice and easy for the ever-evolving man.
It wasn’t until sixty years later that a steam powered lawn mower was built. Thomas Green and Son of Leeds introduced a new model called the Silens Messor (meaning silent cutter). These machines were lighter and quieter than their predecessor and soon replaced the scythe and domesticated grazing animals. With a growing popularity in lawn sports the invention started to spread and its demand grew.
The history of the lawn mower is extensive, and I could really go on for days! But you can imagine how the advances in technology has brought us to where we are today, with super snazzy gadgets such as the ride-on mower, hover mowers, and even robotic mowers.
Probably the most advanced in the lawn mower technology is the robotic mower. It is contained by a border, which the robotic mower uses to locate the boundary of the desired mowing area. It often is able to locate its own charging dock and is self-docking. It can maintain an area of up to 5 acres of grass, and can contain a rain sensor, which almost entirely eliminates human interaction for mowing grass. Will the robots really be running us all out of jobs and taking over the planet?
Although lawn mowers are arguably an absolute necessary invention, they haven’t come without their issues! In the United States alone, over 12,000 people per year are hospitalised as a result of lawn mower related injuries! Rotary mowers can shoot out debris with extreme speed and power! As well as the blades of powerful push motor being strong and sharp enough to cause serious injury. It is always recommended to wear protective footwear and eyewear, as most injuries can be prevented.
Lawn mowers are also responsible for a fair amount of environmental damage, as many things are with the advance of technology and the amount of power we need. A study has shown that some mowers are capable of producing the same amount of pollution in one hour, as driving a vehicle for 650km! Another report claims that the amount of pollution from a lawn mower can be up to four times the amount from a car per hour. Thats pretty bad… but luckily most of us only need to mow the lawn a minimum of once a week, and we’re not using our ride on lawn mowers to get to work every day!
I couldn’t live without my lawn mower, with mulching blades, so that the clippings circulate until they are chopped up into tiny little pieces, and fall into the ground, to conveniently create compost and fertiliser. It also means I don’t have to rake and collect the clippings, which is definitely the worst part of gardening! It just might not be so great for my friends who suffer from hay fever! Sorry!
So, the man we have to thank for our freshly cut lawns is the great Edwin Budding. Without his ingenious invention to cut lawns into lovely uniform blades of grass, we would all be sat relaxing in our over grown gardens, probably listening to the sweet sound of a couple of bleating goats, which, as blissful as it sounds, i’m just not sure its something I could compare to my gorgeously lush, uniform lawn. So, hats off to Mr Budding!