Great British Inventions – The Lawnmower
Lawns were popular in the estates of the landed gentry and to keep their grass short, the rich employed large numbers of gardeners who used scythes. If they did not mind some faecal pellets, they used the cheaper option of having deer or sheep graze their parklands to keep the grass short.
In 1830 the inventive engineer, Edwin Beard Budding, invented the first lawnmower. It was made of cast iron with a large rear roller and a cylinder with blades at the front. Budding and his partner, Ferrabee, licensed their design to other manufacturers and the most successful of these was Ransomes. Ransomes still manufactures mowers to this day.
Shanks inScotlandintroduced his patented design. These mowers were usually bigger than those of Budding and were pulled by a horse or pony.
In the late Victorian era, powered mowers appeared. They had lightweight petrol engines or steam engines. One of the most successful early motor mowers was made by Atco from 1921.
At this time there was a trend towards making smaller mowers for suburban domestic gardens as well as further development of large motorised mowers for estates and parks. Electric powered mowers were developed in the 1920s and rotary mowers soon made their first appearance.
In the 1960’s rotary hover mowers appeared. These were electrically powered and were made possible by the use of lightweight plastics.