The first lawn mower was invented in 1827. Early lawn mowers of the time were push mowers that required the owner to guide the lawn mower across their lawns, as the turning wheels would also turn a series of blades that systematically trimmed the grass on the home owner’s lawn. However, as time went on the lawn mower continued to evolve. In 1859, a man named Thomas Green invented the first mechanized lawn mower, which ran on a chain. Taking this idea a step further, Elwood McGuire of Richmond, Indiana designed and patented the first “modern” push mower. It still had two wheels that turned a series of blades, but the blades were sharper and the device more resembled the four-wheeled push mowers that we are all familiar with.
The first true rotary lawn mower was developed sometime in the 1930s by Power Specialties Ltd., after they had developed a gasoline engine small enough to work on a lawn mower, while still being powerful enough to turn the blades at a speed high enough to cut through the blades. By the end of World War II, both Power Specialties Ltd. and Australian Victa had begun to produce their own versions of the rotary lawn mower.
A third design for early rotary mowers that never got off the ground was a design by a midwestern farmer named C.C. Stacy. Stacy had an idea in where he would mount a circular saw blade, laid horizontally, and attach it to a vertical base – much like the rotary mowers we see today. The blade, however, did not perform up to Stacy’s expectations and after attempting to perfect his design with the saw blade, eventually gave up on the entire project. The tragedy of Stacy’s idea is that, had he replaced the saw blade with standard rotary blades, he would have truly invented the modern lawn mower that you and I use today.