A Guide to Lawn Mower History

Much has changed since the 1800s.  The same goes for the world of lawn mowers.  Today, the types and models of lawn mowers available are simply overwhelming.  Since their creation, lawn mowers have seen a constant, rapid growth in popularity, technology, and innovation.

The First Reel Lawn Mowers

In 1830, Edwin Budding of Gloucestershire, England was credited with inventing the first mechanical mowing machine.  While working in a textile mill, Budding noticed a machine that was used to cut velvet – a material with properties very similar to grass.

Budding then worked to design the first reel mower – a series of blades arranged in a cylinder, with a push handle.  Budding’s mower was 19” wide and constructed of wrought iron. 

The first reel mower to receive commercial, widespread success in the United States was created in 1870 by Elwood McGuire of Richmond, Indiana.  McGuire’s model was a more lightweight, easier to push mower with fewer moving parts – making it an instant hit in the United States and beyond.  By 1885, America was manufacturing over 50,000 lawn mowers per year and providing them to every country.

The Introduction of Gas Powered Lawn Mowers

Despite the widespread success of McGuire’s reel mower, consumers still viewed mowing the lawn as an inconvenient, time consuming task.  Because of this, they desired a non-man powered mower.  The solution came in 1902 when English engineering company, Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries introduced the first internal combustion gasoline powered engine.

Finally, in 1919 Colonel Edwin George made it possible for gas powered lawn mowers to be manufactured in the United States.  However, due to the financial depression and the Second World War, gas powered mowers didn’t receive mainstream success until much later.  In the United States, most of the lower/middle class still viewed maintaining a well-kept lawn an impractical luxury, primarily for the upper class.  A beautiful lawn was considered a status symbol; rather than a standard.

The Widespread Popularity of Gas Powered Lawn Mowers

Throughout the 1930s and into World War II, lawn care and maintenance finally became the standard in the United States, causing more people to care for their lawns.  Although, gasoline powered lawn mowers didn’t receive mainstream success until 1945.  Once American soldiers returned home from war, and resumed their household tasks, they decided they didn’t want to waste their time and energy on an old push mower.

This led to the widespread popularity of gas powered rotary lawn mowers that are still in use today. 

At Mutton Power Equipment, we have a wide variety of top of the line lawn mowers.  Whether you are looking for a walk-behind mower, a riding mower, or a zero turn mower, we have great new lawn mowers available from industry pioneers such as Toro, and John Deere.

One thought on “The History of Lawn Mowers”

  1. This has been a very concise but educational summary of the history lawnmowers. Since started getting into landscaping, I always wondered if I should get push mower or a gas-powered mower. You mentioning that gas-powered ones generally save my own energy, I think I’ll be opting for that one. It’s also going to be a good way to acquaint myself with using power equipment.

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