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A Brief History of Lawn Mowers and Much More

A Brief History of Lawn Mowers and Much More

The lawn mower was invented in 1827 by Edwin Budding and patented in 1830, in the village of Thrupp, England. It was similar in design to a push reel mower. Prior to that, grass had to be cut manually by a scythe. This new machine was designed with the rise of lawn sports in mind, as a far better alternative to the scythe or grazing animals.

As time passed, the steam-powered lawn mower was built and later the gas powered mower was developed. The rotary mower was not produced until engines could be small enough and powerful enough to spin the cutting blades at a high speed. It wasn’t until the 1950's that major commercial success was found with the rotary mower.

Today there are a variety of mower types for the homeowner. Of the walk behind mower type, there are reel mowers, gas powered rotary mowers, electric mowers, and hover mowers. With riding mowers, there are rear engine riding mowers, lawn and garden tractors, and zero turn mowers. Finally, there are pull behind mowers like gang reel mowers, trail mowers, and rough cut mowers.

Riding Lawn Mowers

Riding lawn mowers come in various shapes and sizes, from the smaller rear engine riding mowers, like the Snapper Forrest Gump used for his lawn mowing duties, to the larger zero turn lawn mowers that will get the job done in half the time.

A riding lawn mower is perfect for someone who has a larger property to mow or someone who isn't interested in walking with a mower. With larger cutting widths ranging from under 30 inches to over 60 inches, riding lawn mowers need fewer passes and less time to cut the same amount of grass.

Rear engine riding mowers are smaller, stable on hills, and a great upgrade from a push mower. Lawn and garden tractors are larger mowers that you can use to mow your grass as well as pull attachments and accessories and even convert to snow plows or snow blowers in the winter.

Garden tractors, unlike lawn tractors, are built to be your utilitarian tractor every day. They can be used in tilling and cultivating soil, and are your best bet if you have heavy duty work that needs to be done day in and day out.

Zero Turn Lawn Mowers

A zero turn riding lawn mower is similar to a typical riding mower, but instead of turning the front wheels of the mower to steer the machine, the back drive wheels can rotate independent of each other to steer left and right or turn on a dime. This ability to turn in place led to the phrase "zero-turning-radius".

Zero turn mowers are steered by pushing two independent levers that control the drive wheels. Push them both forward at the same time and the zero turn moves in a straight line. Push one further forward and the mower will take a curved path. Keep one lever at stop or both levers in opposite directions and the zero turn mower will pivot in a tight circle. Although zero turns maneuver well, they can have trouble with slopes.

Zero turn mowers are also faster than lawn and garden tractors. They start at speeds of 6-7 miles per hour and some can be as fast as 12-13 miles per hour. Zero turn mowers also have larger gas tanks so there is less stopping to refuel when you are on a big job.

Zero turns are definitely the best mowers out there if you need to cut a lot of grass and need to get it done quickly. Their large cutting decks, powerful engines, and easy maneuverability make them the clear winner.