A cut above: Mowing made easy
Cutting grass has become much easier over the years, as riding mowers and zero-turn technology have become de rigueur.
While the old-fashioned push models are routinely used, the more sophisticated riding machines have become increasingly common for homeowners with large tracts of sod to groom.
Zero-turn technology, permitting the operator to pivot on a dime, is a popular feature, notes Rick Trottier, part-owner of Trottier Farm Equipment in Alexandria.
The steering system enables the mower to swivel on its own axis, without leaving any uncut spots.
The field keeps evolving, observes Mr. Trottier. The dealer has added the Big Dog models to its line of lawn and farm machinery.
The Big Dog “Blackjack” model is equipped with a new innovative electric hydraulic activated lift deck techology, which makes for easy cleaning.
With a 25-horsepower engine, the Blackjack can reach a top speed of seven kilometres an hour.
There is a device for every job. “Power wagons,” motor-driven, self-propelled three-wheel units are versatile, capable of hauling hay, firewood and construction materials.
Area vendors also carry assortments of field and brush mowers, tillers, chippers, trimmers, saws.
At R&R Small Engine, owner Eric Blais is gearing up for a busy Spring.
“Cub Cadet is very popular,” says Mr. Blais, the exclusive area dealer for the well-known brand.
On this day, he is shining up a new mower at his County Road
34 location. The 54-inch-cut machine is powered by a 23horsepower Kawasaki motor. “These Cub Cadet mowers are the only ones that still have the Kawasaki engines,” he says. Cub Cadet has an online feature, where you can enter the size and type of terrain you will be grooming. Once that information has been evaluated, appearing on the screen is a recommended line of machines.
Further north on the 34, at Lefebvre Small Engines, the Husqvarna dealer offers zeroturn mowers that range in size from 23 horsepower to 31 horsepower, with cutting swaths between 46 and 72 inches.
The first cut...
The first lawn mower, a “reel mower,” was invented by Edwin Budding in 1830 in Thrupp, just outside Stroud, in Gloucestershire, England.
It was designed primarily to cut grass on sports grounds and extensive gardens, as a superior alternative to the scythe, and was granted a British patent August 31, 1830.
Budding's first machine was 19 inches wide with a frame made of wrought iron. The mower was pushed from behind. Cast iron gear wheels transmitted power from the rear roller to the cutting cylinder, allowing the rear roller to drive the knives on the cutting cylinder.
His machine was the catalyst for the preparation of modernstyle sporting ovals, playing fields (pitches), grass courts, etc. This led to the codification of modern rules for many sports, including football, lawn bowling, lawn tennis and others.
It took ten more years and further innovations to create a machine that could be drawn by animals, and 60 years before a steam-powered lawn mower was built.
In the 1850s, Thomas Green & Son of Leeds introduced a mower called the Silens Messor (meaning silent cutter), which used a chain drive to transmit power from the rear roller to the cutting cylinder.
These machines were lighter and quieter than the gear driven machines that preceded them, although they were slightly more expensive.
The rise in popularity of lawn sports helped prompt the spread of the invention.
Manufacture of lawn mowers took off in the 1860s.
By 1862, Ferrabee's was making eight models in various roller sizes.
Rick Trottier shows off the Blackjack model’s deck tilt technology, which eases cleaning.
Eric Blais with a Kawasaki-powered Cub Cadet mower.