Who invented the Riding Lawn Mower? (Invention Timeline Explained)

You likely already know many different inventions that make life easier in today’s modern world. One such example is the riding lawn mower, or the tractor lawn mower. While the lawn mower itself is already quite useful, the riding lawn mower takes things a step further by allowing you to ride it rather than pushing it forward.

The fascinating bit is how such a lawn mower came to be. Let’s look into the history of the riding lawn mower, as well as its evolution!

Who invented the riding lawn mower?

Cecil Elwood Pond invented the riding lawn mower. He got the idea from his father, who at the time was building two-wheel lawn mowers, the kind you had to move around to operate.

The riding lawn mower’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Edwin Budding
    Inventor of the very first lawn mower

    Edwin Budding invented the very first lawnmower in England.

  • Amariah Hills
    The very first US patent for an early type of lawn mower called the cutter

    Amariah Hills was a manufacturer that received the very first US patent for the cutter, an early rendition of the lawn mower.

  • Colonel Edwin George
    Developer of the first lawn mower to be powered by gasoline.

    The next step in the evolution of the lawn mower involved the development of the first gasoline-powered lawn mower, courtesy of Colonel Edwin George.

  • Toro
    Responsible for making the lawn mower more affordable for the average family

    While the lawn mowers were picking up steam, they were still quite expensive. Toro was able to develop a more affordable one.

  • Cecil Pond
    Inventor of the very first riding lawn mower

    The idea for Cecil Pond’s invention came from working with his father, who also built lawn mowers, but it was the two-wheel variant. The tractor variant of the lawn mower changed the lawn mower manufacturing industry for the better.

When was the riding lawn mower invented?

The very first riding lawn mower was invented by Cecil Pond in 1956. It was a move that changed the industry for the better and took lawn mower manufacturing in an entirely new direction.

A brief history of the riding lawn mower

If we’re going to talk about the history of the riding lawn mower, it’s crucial to first talk about how the lawn mower got its start. The first lawn mower was invented by Edwin Budding in England all the way back in 1830. Even during that early period, people were already thinking about novel ways to keep their lawns clean. In the US, Amariah Hills was the first manufacturer to receive the patent for the cutter, which was an early rendition of the lawn mower.

Lawn mowers were undoubtedly popular back in the day, but the issue was the overall price. There needed to be more time for development before the lawn mower could become a commercial success. One of the most crucial steps involved Colonel Edwin George and his development of the first gas-powered lawn mower in 1919. Within the next few decades, more changes would be made before Toro created one with a more affordable process and cheaper materials, allowing families to purchase them easily.

Finally, we get to Cecil Pond, working with his father, who also manufactured lawn mowers. His father developed two-wheel lawn mowers, which gave Cecil the idea to build one with a tractor design. In 1956, Cecil Pond developed the very first riding lawn mower, taking the manufacturing of mowers in an entirely new direction. Unlike all of the other lawn mowers made throughout the years, it was the first time people could ride on the lawn mower as it was made similar to a small tractor.

The riding lawn mower’s timeline

  1. 1830
    The invention of the first lawn mower

    As early as 1830, people were already looking for different ways to take care of a lawn. Edwin Budding was credited as the inventor of the lawn mower.

  2. 1868
    The first US patent for the cutter lawn mower

    It was 30 years later when Amariah Hills, a US company, received the first patent for the lawn mower.

  3. 1919
    The first gas-powered lawn mower

    One of the milestones in the evolution of the riding lawn mower occurred in 1919 when Colonel Edwin George developed the first gas-powered lawn mower.

  4. 1938
    The commercially affordable lawn mower

    While lawn mowers were undoubtedly useful, they were still much too expensive. Toro is credited as the person responsible for developing more cost-effective lawn mowers.

  5. 1956
    The riding lawn mower

    Cecil Pond developed the riding lawn mower, coming up with the idea thanks to his father. The riding lawn mower changed the face of the manufacturing industry.

Where was the riding lawn mower invented?

The very first riding lawn mower was developed by Cecil Pond in South Bend, Indiana.

The importance of the riding lawn mower

  • A lawn mower for heavy-duty work

    One of the great things about the riding lawn mower is it offers more diversity when it comes to lawn mowers in general. The riding lawn mower was developed specifically for more heavy-duty tasks.

  • A handy invention no matter the situation

    There was a time when the lawn mower was quite a bit more expensive than you might expect. It was made with costly materials, and yet people still did their best to acquire lawn mowers for their homes. Fortunately, advancements made them cheaper to own.

  • A much more convenient invention than the usual fare

    The lawn mower can usually be operated by walking it around your lawn. The riding lawn mower allows you to ride it like you would a tractor, making it a much more comfortable experience for homeowners.

  • Changing the face of the manufacturing industry

    The manufacturing industry changed when Cecil Pond developed the first riding lawn mower. It was undoubtedly a watershed moment, as it could be used for many more tasks.

The riding lawn mower by the numbers

  • 1It only took 1 year for the riding lawn mower to become a surprising commercial success.
  • 1,000,000The riding lawn mower was so successful that Cecil’s company earned more than $1 million in revenue in just a single year.
  • 4,500,000In just two years, the riding lawn mower’s sales pushed toward $4.5 million, showcasing just how impressive the riding lawn mower can be.
  • 3,000By 1975, over 3,000 dealers were selling the Wheel Horse brand (Cecil’s company). The popularity of riding lawn mowers can’t be understated.

Five facts about the riding lawn mower

  • The lightweight variation

    Toro was the person responsible for making lawn mowers more affordable to the masses. In 1953, Briggs & Statton developed a lightweight aluminum engine for lawn mowers that would further advance its development.

  • The safety labels

    There’s no denying that lawn mowers can be dangerous if handled by children and those ignorant of how they work. The safety standards for lawn mowers were enforced around 1982, which is quite a bit later than what many might expect.

  • The robotic lawn mowers

    Fast-forward to the modern age — well, the year 2000 — and robotic lawn mowers have finally entered the market. Advancements to the riding lawn mower weren’t too far behind!

  • Not so fun a fact

    Unfortunately, there’s a good reason why safety standards for lawn mowers became a thing, riding lawn mowers included. Powered lawn mowers currently cause more than 60,000 injuries a year.

  • The lawn mower museum

    Did you know that there’s a museum dedicated to the lawn mower? The British Lawnmower Museum is located in Merseyside. 

FAQ about the riding lawn mower

  • How are riding lawn mowers more useful than the typical fare?

    It really depends on what you want out of your lawn mower. If your lawn isn’t that vast, there’s no need to go for a riding lawn mower as it’s meant for heavy-duty tasks. If you want to have a bit of fun and ride a lawn mower, you’re free to buy one!

  • How long does a riding lawn mower last?

    It depends on how well you can keep it maintained. They need maintenance to stay efficient, and those dedicated to maintenance can keep their lawn mowers going for at least 10 to 15 years.

  • Is it possible to rent out a riding lawn mower?

    Yes, it’s possible to rent a riding lawn mower. You can also rent the services of professionals to help make everything easier. There’s no need to push yourself to do everything when you can get the help of professionals for an affordable price! That said, riding lawn mowers can be pretty fun to use, so it’s understandable why many homeowners might want one.

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