As man saw the importance of the lawn mower to the everyday man, be it for household or large scale garden development, the need to automate and maximize it’s use paved the way for the rise of powered lawn mowers.
Since it was first invented in the early 1800’s, the lawn mower has become a permanent fixture in the American way of life since it became a more efficient alternative to simply relying on gardeners using obsolete and crude tools like the scythe which could lead to ugly scars on the lawn.
At the turn of the 1900’s, one of the best known English machines was the Ransomes’ Automaton, which were available in chain- or gear-driven models, which further revolutionized the entry of powered lawn mowers advocating for ease of use and portability.
Right after the end of World War 1, a manufacturing firm was established called the JP Engineering of Leicester and produced a range of chain driven mowers.
This device allowed an operator to ride behind animals that pulled the large machines and became the first riding mowers.
Seeing the potential of steam powered locomotives to also be adopted in a device like the bulky animal-driven lawn mowers, James Sumner of Lancashire patented the first lawn mower running on a steam engine in 1893.
Sumner’s invention made use of petrol and kerosene as fuel, and after some time, the machines were sold by the Stott Fertilizer and Insecticide Company of Manchester and later, the Sumner descendants took over the business.
Their company was called the Leyland Steam Motor Company and over the years, numerous manufacturers introduced gasoline-driven mowers after the turn of the century.
The first grass catches were simply flat trays housing the rollers, but eventually evolved to better designs and took their present shape in the 1860s, but the roller-drive lawn mower has changed very little since around 1930.
Mowers with multiple set of blades called gang mowers were built in the United States in 1919 by businessman named Worthington and years after his company was taken over by the Jacobsen Corporation, his name is still present in their gang units.
Rotary mowers were not developed until engines were small and powerful enough to run the blades at high speeds.
By the late 1920s and early 1930s, many experimented in harnessing the power of engines to run lawn mowers and do away with it being drawn by animals or manually pushed by humans became impractical for wide expanses of grasslands and landscaped gardens and a firm called the Power Specialties Ltd. First introduced the gasoline fuelled rotary mower.
There is a popular story of a farmer from the Midwest territory of the United States of a man named Stacy, who experimented on a revolutionary concept of an electric powered rotary mower.
His concept was the use of a toothed circular saw mounted on a vertical shaft and suspended at a height of 2 inches from the ground and it can be moved on lawns to cut grass and other vegetation to a uniform height.
Certain limitations with the materials used by Stacy for his experiments, especially with the use of circular saw blades on grass did not get the results that he was looking for and abandoned his experiment.
Stacy did not register any of his ideas for patent, but drawings of his ideas still exist and are in the hands of his descendants, as claimed.
Before he died in 1993, Stacy claimed that his ideas gave rtise to the development of rotary mowers, ckaiming he has never seen or heard of any mowing equipment other than cylinder or reel type mowers prior to coming up with his concepts.
Nowadays, motor-powered lawn mowers have revolutionized mowing to new heights and technology has allowed and will continue to give rise to powered lawn mowers.