The history of the lawnmower

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The history of the lawnmower began - how could it be otherwise - in England, the mother country of the English lawn. At the heyday of the British Empire in the 19th century, the lords and ladies of fine society plagued the constant question of how to keep the lawn short and well groomed. Either flocks of sheep or scythe-waving staff were used. Visually, however, the result was not always satisfactory in both cases. The inventor Edwin Budding from the county of Gloucestershire recognized the problem and developed - inspired by the cutters in the textile industry - the first lawn mower.

Horse pulls lawnmower

Until the motorization horses were used to pull large equipment. The animals were sometimes pulled leather shoes over the hooves, so as not to damage the lawn

Patent lawn mower Ransomes

The Ransomes company acquired the lawnmower patent in 1832 and sold more than 1000 units by 1840 alone - a success story

In 1830 he had him patented, in 1832 the company Ransomes began production. The devices quickly found buyers, were constantly optimized and led not least to an improvement of the sports fields - and thus also to the further development of many grass sports such as tennis, golf and football.

The first lawnmowers were reel mowers: when pushed, a horizontally suspended knife spindle was driven by a chain from a roller or roller installed behind it. The knife spindle turned counter-clockwise to catch the leaves and stems of the lawn grasses and sheared them off as the blades passed the fixed counter knife. This basic principle of the reel mower has remained largely unchanged over the decades.

Spindle mowers are still the most widely used lawn mower on the British Isle - no wonder, because for real British turf fans the sickle mower, which is more widespread on the European continent, is not a real alternative. Spindle mowers work more lawn-friendly, produce a more uniform cut and are suitable for very deep cuts - but are also less robust. Nevertheless, they are used wherever it depends on a well-tended lawn - for example, in the golf and sports field care - preferred worldwide.

Old lawnmower

Rusty jewelry: Historic mowers were made of cast iron. Devices that the rust has not quite fetched are today sought after collectibles

The star of the robust sickle mower went on with the development of high-performance small engines. The first mass-produced model had a two-stroke engine and was launched in 1956 by the Swabian company Solo. Rotary mowers do not cut the grass clean, but knock it off with terminal knives mounted on a rapidly rotating beam. This cutting principle was only possible with motor support, since the required high speeds are not achievable in a purely mechanical way. The initially quite unclean cut of the sickle mower was improved over the years by better knives and an optimization of the air currents in the mower housing ever further. The rotating cutter bar sucks the air like a turbine blade from the outside, thus ensuring that the grasses rise up before they are cut off.

The future of lawnmowers

The digitization of society does not stop at the grass. While mowing robots were exotic and very expensive niche products just a few years ago, they have now reached the mass market and more and more manufacturers are developing their own models. A pioneer in this field was the Swedish manufacturer Husqvarna, who launched a technically mature model in 1998 with his "Automower G1".

Also, the control is always refined. There are now various models that can be controlled with the smartphone via app. Almost all manufacturers are also working to make the previously mandatory induction loop to limit the mowing area superfluous. For this purpose, optical sensors are installed, which can distinguish between lawns, flowerbeds and paved areas. Incidentally, robotic lawnmowers are also in demand on the British Isles - even though they are rotary mowers!

Mowing robot Husquvarna

Husqvarna was one of the first robotic lawnmower manufacturers

Video Board: James May The Reassembler -1 - Lawnmower BBC Documentary.

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