Fun Facts About Lawn Mowers

by woodlandpowerproducts
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Lawnmower facts are objectively useful. They make solid conversation starters at family holiday gatherings and make great fodder at cocktail parties. Instead of talking about how the political state of the US is in disrepair, why not talk about the lawn mower? All jokes aside, the inception and creation of the lawn mower is actually fairly interesting and is sure to inform how you look at a tool that you’ve likely taken for granted.

  • The lawn mower was invented by Englishman Edwin Beard Budding in 1830.
  • Budding got the idea after watching machinery in a textile mill. He noticed a device that cut off any excess fabric and tried to apply the same concept to grass. Spoiler alert: it worked.
    • Train of thought: If Edwin Budding hadn’t invented the lawnmower, what would I be doing right now? Not writing a blog post about lawnmowers, that’s for sure. And you wouldn’t be reading it. Hey, listen, all I’m saying is that we can’t necessarily rule out the fact that without the invention of the lawnmower, you and I may cease to exist. Are any of our reader’s astrophysicists with strong opinions about alternate universes? If so, please identify yourself in the comments section. I have some questions pertaining to lawnmowers, black holes, and the existence of other realities.
      • (Note to self: Stay on topic. I’m just supposed to write about lawnmower facts. No need to get all existential.)
  • Budding apparently only tested the lawnmower at night, as he was afraid someone would steal his idea.
  • In the original patent, Budding noted that “country gentlemen” are sure to find mowing “a useful and healthy exercise.”
  • A decade after its invention, the lawn mower was being pulled by horses; before the end of the century, John Albert Burr patented a mower with enhanced rotary blades; James Summer patented the first mower powered by steam; and in 1914 Ideal Power Model Co. patented the first gas-powered mower.
  • Did you know that Edwin Budding also invented the adjustable wrench? #obscurefunfacts
  • John Albert Burr, the person responsible for updating the mechanical push lawn mower to its recognizable modern form, was born during the Civil War to enslaved parents.
  • After the Emancipation, wealthy activists, somehow hearing of his self-taught engineering prowess, paid for him to take private classes. Upon entering the workforce as an adult, he held various jobs including being a steelworker and fixing farm equipment.
  • He filed his lawn mower patents at the age of 50 and went on to become a prominent engineer and lecturer, frequently traveling around the country to give talks.
    • Unlike many inventors who fail to see the impact of their inventions (like Budding), Burr was able to see his creation catch on and spread throughout the remainder of his life.

It’s easy to view the invention of the lawnmower in a vacuum. That is, it’s easy to view it as a singular invention that didn’t impact the world. But the truth is, we have the lawnmower to thank for shaping the United States: without it, our conception of suburbia and how we perceive status is largely a product of the trusty old lawnmower. To put this in perspective:

  • The US collectively spends about $30 billion a year on the upkeep and maintenance of their lawns.
  • Grass is the US’ most abundant irrigated crop.
  • It covers roughly two percent of land in the mainland States.
  • On average, homeowners in the US spend about four hours per week maintaining their lawns. This equates to eight days per year!

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