18th May 1830. ‘One man went to mow…’

It was the later 16thc, the time of the Tudors, when lawns were first cultivated with sickles and scythes, but not until the early 19thc and the mower, did ‘lawn’ mean mown grass.

This was the time when the British landscape became less shaggy, as it was Today in 1830, when mower inventor, Edward Beard Budding (1795-1846), signed an agreement  for John Ferrabee to pay development costs and obtain Letters of Patent.

Testing at night to avoid curiosity Budding’s patent agreement was granted for a machine for ‘mowing lawns etc’, after he had adapted a machine which cut carpets into uniform lengths in the local clothing industry.

Three years after the patent, Ransomes of Ipswich were manufacturing the mowers under licence.

The agreement with Ferrabee of the Phoenix Iron Works near Stroud, Gloucestershire, included the manufacture of machinery ‘for shearing the vegetable surface of lawns’ and 5,000 machines were made there between 1830 and 1863.

Thus the scythe gradually gave way to the mechanized mower in horticulture and farming, with one of the earliest customers being Regent’s Park Zoo, London, where in 1831 it was reported to do the work of six to eight men.

Up until then The Patent Horse Grass-Cutting Machine was used–the pony using leather boots to prevent hoof marks ‘poaching’ the grass.

Still more scythe hours were saved by the Patent Hand Grass Cutter shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851, by Alexander Shanks of Arbroath, nicknamed ‘Shanks’ Pony’.

In 1895 came the petrol motor mower called ‘Shanks ‘Five Drummer’ as it sounded like five drummer boys beating a tattoo.

Other industries arose on the back of the introduction of mechanized reapers, mowers and other sharpened implements, a notable example being W. Tyzack Sons & Turner Ltd in Sheffield who was the first English firm to make knife sections and the some of the best saws.

They later moved into files, scythes, sickles, hooks, hay knives and chaff-machine knives, reaping and mowing machine sections, rivets, plough mould-boards and coulters and harrow discs, in fact everything for the 19thc farmer.

The centuries of back-breaking work was thus being eased, with consequent increase in agricultural production.

Mower c 1940s.

Mower c 1940s.

We then see the rise of household names such as Atcos, Dennis, Webb, Qualcast and in the 1960s the blue and white hover flymo.

Ref: wikipedia.org/edward_budding/also Pic.Ref.

Ref: bbc.co.uk/historyoftheworldinobjects.

Ref: telegraph.co.uk/gardens.12.8.2011. Matthew Wilson.




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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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