When grass-covered lawns first came into vogue in the 16th century, homeowners wanted a way to keep their fields manicured. Their solution was a tool commonly used for reaping wheat- the scythe. That’s right-- the long blade on a stick that we tend to associate in modern times with the Grim Reaper was the first lawnmower. For 300 years, if you wanted to go out and mow the lawn, you did it with a scythe.
Eventually, mowing technology began to move forward.
In the 19th century, an engineer named Edwin Budding invented the first mechanical lawnmower. Budding was working in a textile mill and noticed that the nap (frayed ends) of velvet sheets looked very much like the grass on his lawn. One of the machines in the mill cut the edges of the velvet and Budding realized he could adapt this machine into one that could be used for cutting grass. Thus, the first push-lawnmower was born.
This reel mower was pushed from behind. It had two wheelsand gears inside that caused the blades to spin and cut grass when pushed. Grass clippings were collected in a tray behind the machine. Lawnmower technology made a few advances, but stayed basically the same for the next 80 years.
Around the turn of the 20th century, the Ransome Company (an agricultural machinery manufacturer) introduced the first gas-powered lawnmower. Gas powered reel lawnmowers were introduced in the United States in 1914 by the Ideal Power Mowing Company of Michigan. It was also around this time that the first riding mowers were introduced. Unlike the riding mowers of today, these were pulled by horses or donkeys.
Rotary style mowers-- the most popular mowers on the market-- did not become available until the development of combustion engines that were small enough to fit on a mower and powerful enough to run the blades at high speed. a. The Victa Company of Australia developed some of the first gas-powered rotary mowers in the 1950s.
Once rotary mowers became common, the next stage of development occurred as new power sources were developed. While internal combustion engines were the first source of power for rotary lawnmowers, plug-in mowers and battery-powered mowers are now common, as well.
Nowadays, mowers like the 56-Volt EGO Power Plus lawnmower represent the latest in lawnmower technology. With lawnmowers like the EGO mower, mowing has never been easier. You charge a battery, pop it into a mower, push a button, and go. We have certainly come a long way since the days of the scythe.