First invented in 1830, the early lawn mower was hampered by the inadequacy of materials and machine tools available and its development and speed did not pick up until the introduction of chains and small lightweight petrol engines. This book traces the progress of the lawn mower from the early hand or animal powered mowers, through to steam, petrol and electric-powered modern machines.
The late David G. Halford became interested in old lawn mowers in 1974 when he was asked, as Senior Lecturer in Horticultural Machinery at the Lancashire College of Agriculture and Horticulture, to look after some old lawn mowers belonging to the County Council. Some of the first ones that arrived at the college were very old and so different from modern machines that, when he commenced restoring them, he became so interested that he tried to find out something of their history. No one had made a study of mowers, so he started the long task of researching back to the time of the first invention. He also started a collection of the various types and makes of old machines. Many of these have been restored to working order. Storage became a problem but this was solved when the National Trust set up a permanent exhibition of the collection at Trerice Manor near Newquay, Cornwall.