A lawn mower is a tool you will undoubtedly own if you have a lawn that you keep neat and tidy. A nice lawn is a traditional part of an American yard, and the greener and more beautiful, the better! Grass grows quickly, and while it needs to be of a certain length, too long can be a problem. That’s when weeds start to rear their ugly heads and move in, and you don’t want to have to deal with those!
If we’re going to look at how lawnmower technology has caressed, we should perhaps start at the beginning and talk about the origin of the lawn as a decoration.
Lawns and Lawn Mowers – a Brief History
Where does the idea of lawns come from? It’s a good question and one that has many possible answers. Historians believe that in medieval times a lawn was kept as an area within a settlement for the grazing of livestock.
The lawn as we know it – a decorative part of a yard or garden – originated in Europe in the middle ages, but it is thought the first cut and nurtured lawns came to be in the 17th century in England, and the idea refined in the century to follow by way of landscape gardening.
In the USA, the front lawn came as part of the suburbanization of many towns and cities, and since the 1930s has been part and parcel of every suburban home.
What about mowers? There were none in medieval Europe, of course, where the lawn was kept short by grazing animals, but the first mowing machines – rudimentary devices – appeared in the mid-1800s and were the domain of gardeners and ground keepers of the landed gentry in England, for whom a lawn was a status symbol.
Things have come a long way since then, and we have a wide choice of different types of mowers. From simple push-along types to powered models, there’s a vast range, and you can find very good and effective lawn mowers under $300 that are suitable for home lawns.
What about the major gardens, the municipal areas that we love and appreciate? How are they mown? This is where we get into lawn mower technology and its development over the years.
Let’s look back just briefly to the middle of the 20th century when lawns were becoming established in the USA as part of ordinary homes.
Lawn Mower Development
The standard lawn mower post-WW2 was a simple machine that consisted of a frame with handles, a heavy drum that rotated, and a horizontal rotating cutting blade.
The height was adjustable, and the basic idea was to push the machine in a straight line, and the blades would trim the grass, with the drum flattening it for better effect. These machines did the job but were heavy and cumbersome, and those looking after public or larger gardens looked for an advance in technology.
It came in the form of the powered mower. Similar in design to that described above, there has a small gas engine attached and a gear system that drove the drum and cutter. They were effectively self-propelled and much easier to use, but still heavy and cumbersome.
In the search for lighter machines, the 1960s and ’70s saw an influx of new styles, including smaller, electric-powered mowers with blades underneath that – instead of mowing with a horizontal blade – spun fast on a central axis. These are still used today, albeit in a modified and more efficient form, and may be a great choice for a standard suburban garden.
However, the guys looking after the big gardens were still looking for a breakthrough as there’s a lot of walking to do if you have several acres. The answer came very quickly in the form of the ride-on mower, which is increasingly popular with town and city councils as well as individuals with larger gardens.
The Ride-On Mower and Other Developments
Think of a ride-on mower as a small tractor that has a cutting blade attached, and you’re pretty much on the ball. They use gas engines and are equipped with a seat, gears, a steering wheel, and – in the more sophisticated models – brakes and even lights. You might have seen them running around town, cutting the grass areas and verges, or keeping the grass nice and neat in the park.
Do you need one of these modern and upmarket mowers for the home? If you have a very large grass area, then one will certainly come in useful, but for a standard suburban lawn, they may be a bit too large. We suggest you check out the review of mowers under $300 for some great advice and ideas, as we’re sure you’ll find a mower that is perfectly suited to your lawn among the choices.