LAWN MOWERS

The first lawn mower was invented by Edwin Budding in 1830 in Thrupp, just outside Stroud, in Gloucestershire, England. Budding’s mower was designed primarily to cut the grass on sports grounds and extensive gardens, as a superior alternative to the scythe, and was granted a British patent on August 31, 1830.

An early cylinder (reel) mower, showing a fixed cutting blade in front of the rear roller and wheel-driven rotary blades.

Budding’s first machine was 19 inches (480 mm) wide with a frame made of wrought iron. The mower was pushed from behind. Cast-iron gear wheels transmitted power from the rear roller to the cutting cylinder, allowing the rear roller to drive the knives on the cutting cylinder; the ratio was 16:1. Another roller placed between the cutting cylinder and the main or land roller could be raised or lowered to alter the height of cut.

The grass clippings were hurled forward into a tray-like box. It was soon realized, however, that an extra handle was needed in front to help pull the machine along. Overall, these machines were remarkably similar to modern mowers.