A trimmed history of mowers

A trimmed history of mowers

VERY DRY: The grass is browner on the other side.

VERY DRY: The grass is browner on the other side.


Ross Pride takes a look at some historical mowing news.


Our home paddock has not sprouted a blade of grass since January 2018.

My trusty Victa and an old Greenfields ride-on sit in semi-retirement. Mowing may eventually become known as something that, by the early 21st century, had became unnecessary. A nostalgic peek at newspaper cuttings over the years follows:

  • Mt Alexander Mail 1877

Hedgley was fond of seeing and hearing mowing, and he has the grass 'attended to' often. He declares that of all modes of being awakened, the pleasantest is to hear the whetting of a scythe outside your window.

How fascinating to watch the semi-circle arm sweeps, and the creeping, deliberate advance of the mower, who is never in a hurry, and never ought to be - the grass will wait. And yet there are people who will buy a mowing machine, and congratulate themselves.

  • Glen Innes Examiner 1897

Amongst the new agricultural implements at the recent Royal Agricultural Society (England) was a steam mowing machine, said to be very serviceable and efficient. It comes in three sizes - 9cwt, 14cwt, and 17cwt (457kg, 711kg, and 864kg).

  • Australian Town and Country Journal 1878

There are numerous mowing machines suitable for large or small grass plots. In weather such as has prevailed during the current spring, grass should be mown weekly, and this would be costly by scythe, while the amateur, or the lady of the house, or even a child, can do the work well with the mowing machine.

  • Launceston Examiner 1938

The problem of how to mow the lawn on a hot day and keep cool has been solved. An inventive American has found a way of cutting grass without moving from the shade. His electrically driven mower is fed with current through a 100-foot cable. Two motors are geared to the wheels, which are steered by means of a remote control box that speeds up one or other motor.

  • The Australian Star 1900

An American firm of agricultural machine-makers issued show cards representing the Goddess of Liberty in scanty garments, driving a mowing machine. Their Berlin agent wrote 'the picture of your admirable machines is not useful. The women of our country, when compelled by circumstances to do agricultural work, do not dress as your picture shows.'

Ah, those were the days.


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