There’s something about the smell and sight of a freshly cut lawn that brings memories of summertime and sunshine to many. The practice of keeping lawns freshly cut for the duration of the warm months may be fairly recent, but the activity of mowing lawns is not.
In the 1830s lawn mowers were invented and put to good use. Mainly used for keeping sports fields under control and play ready, some reel mowers were purchased by those with large gardens that needed to be kept ever so perfect, like those at Oxford Colleges. Eventually, more thinking and tweaking took place until there were mowers large enough to be used by farmers and drawn by horses. Scythes were replaced by these more efficient mowers.
At some point in time the rotary mower equipped with a motor came into play, and now most of us make use of a ride-on or push mower that has a motor. We doubt very few people would want to use one of these old push reel mowers to mow their lawns on a hot afternoon – especially those of us with large lawns.
Our push reel mower consists of a wooden shaft and handle, three twisted blades, and a barred drum for catching and throwing grass clippings. Marked in raised print on the cast frame is: "New Easy Lawn Mower 1888 Blair MFG. Springfield, Mass. U. S. A. Pat'd Oct. 7, 1879, Nov. 16, 1880, Sept. 16, 1884". It may not seem very appealing to you but, with the rise in HST coming, this push lawn mower that requires nothing but man power could be a pretty economical choice. Not to say that we’d put our artifact on loan, but it may be worth looking into finding one of these!
We've included a short clip of the push mower moving to give a better idea of how this would have cut grass! Basically the spinning bars would push the grass up against the low blade-like-bar, and that would allow the grass to be cut.