Mar 19

What Is A Lawn Mower?

You certainly know that a lawn mower is a machine for cutting grass. This is just the simple answer, however. The more you know about this type of device the better prepared you will be for making decisions as a buyer.

Let me introduce you to the world of lawn mowers. I have been using such a machine since my adolescence both at home and as a professional gardener in California. By the end of this article, you will be fully prepared to shop for a mower with confidence.

What Is A Lawn Mower?


Here I will introduce you to the design of the rotary lawn mower because it is the most widely used at present both at home and commercially. It comes with a single cutting blade which rotates horizontally about a vertical axis. Its edges are slightly curved. The blade is positioned inside a cutting deck which is typically shaped like a dome and can be made from either steel or tough polymer plastic. The blade is typically mounted directly to the crankshaft of the engine.

The engine, which can be powered by gas or electricity, is typically mounted on top of the cutting deck. The lawn mower has four wheels with two positioned at the front and two positioned at the rear of the deck. They allow the unit to move into different directions. The standard walk behind machine is operated via a handle. It serves for steering and for pushing the machine forwards, if it is of the push type. All controls are mounted near the grip of the handle.

How It Works

As the lawn mower moves on the grass covered surface, grass gets under the deck. Some models come with a front rake which lifts the grass up before it enters the deck for even better cutting. When the horizontally spinning blade gets in contact with the grass, it cuts it. The slightly curved edges of the blade and the dome shape of the deck allow for the creation of continuous air flow. This flow has a combined sucking and tearing action which ensures that all growths are lifted up and cut effectively.

The created air flow and the rear design of the deck allow for the grass clippings to be effectively ejected from the back of the mower. At present, manufacturers offer two additional options for clippings disposal. When a mulching blade or mulching insert is installed, it works to cut the clippings into fine pieces which are expelled directly on the ground. That way, the natural mulch provides natural fertilization. Some machines have a side discharge function as well. In this case, the grass clippings are blown to the side through a specially designed discharge chute.

The standard walk-behind mowers are operated from the back, as you can tell by their name. You push the machine over the grass following a straight path. You do not have to keep the machine in one place in order for the grass underneath the deck to get cut. You just need to steer it forward. The grass underneath the deck is cut instantly if the blade works properly and the motor is powerful enough.


It is interesting to learn a bit more about the history of the lawn mower. In 1827, Edwin Budding created the cylinder or reel mower which is manually operated and is still in use today. In the beginning, this device was used for maintaining only lawns used for sports such as tennis, polo and cricket. In 1859, the first chain driven reel mower was introduced by Thomas Green,

In the beginning of the 20th century, the reel mowers became more widely used in homes and for maintaining lawns in public parks. A steam-powered mowing machine was invented. The big breakthrough came in the 1921, when the British company Atco launched the first motor powered mower, which became a commercial success. The first gasoline-powered rotary mowers were introduced in the 1930’s and have become the most widely produced models.


In terms of blade rotation, there are two types of lawn mowers – reel and rotary ones. Currently, the walk-behind and riding models come with rotary cutting systems. There are manual reel models available for home use. There are reel riding models for commercial use as well. These have a very large cutting swath.

In terms of power source, there are two types of mowers as well – with gas engine and with electric motor. The gas engines are powerful and are capable of powering the wheels of the machine so that it can work in a self-propelled mode. The electric motors are less powerful, but totally green and less noisy. They require no maintenance.

In terms of operation, there are two main types – walk-behind and riding mowers. The walk-behind ones are smaller and therefore suitable for smaller lawns. The riding mowers have greater capabilities and are fairly easy to ride.

A Final Word

Now you know a lot about these machines. Remember that innovation is always present in the world of lawn mowers. At present, the robotic models which operate without human involvement are gaining momentum.

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