A cut above: Mow­ing made easy

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

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.

Cub Cadet

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.

Silens Mes­sor

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.

TILT: Rick Trot­tier shows off the Black­jack model’s deck tilt tech­nol­ogy, which eases clean­ing.

POP­U­LAR MA­CHINE: Eric Blais with a Kawasaki-pow­ered Cub Cadet mower.

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