BADGED MOWERS See Catalogue mowers.
BANK CUTTER A variant of several sidewheel machines (particularly Ransomes "Lion", "Ace", "Cub" and "Leo") equipped with an extra long handle, usually of some 70 inches or so, coupling to an additional set of studs on the chassis of the mower. This enabled the user to cut grass on steep banks and slopes. Such mowers were offered from the late-19th century onwards.
CATALOGUE MOWER A mower usually made by a large manufacturer but bearing the name of the retailer. This practice was started in the late 19th century by American manufacturers who provided this service to retailers who sold a specified number of their mowers. (See Suttons, Selfridges, etc.). These are also sometimes referred to as "Badged", "Branded", or "Private Label" mowers.
CHEVRON BLADES A cutting cylinder with the blades set in a shallow 'V' shape, designed to throw the cuttings into the centre of the grass box and to prevent the blade from "walking" to one side or the other and ruining the bearings. This was a feature on many Ransomes pre-1930s mowers, and on later Dennis mowers such as the "Premier". Also known as "herringbone" blades (USA).
CONVERSION UNITS Engines which were made to be bolted onto manual mowers to enable these to be used as powered mowers. These could be either petrol-driven (see "Auto-Mower") or electric. See also "Pusher Units".
CUTTING CYLINDER A feature of all mowers until the introduction of the rotary mower, this consists of a number of blades moving in the vertical plane around a central axis and acting against a fixed blade forming an extension to the sole plate.
DELIVERY PLATE A curved deflector mounted adjacent to the cutting cylinder to direct the grass cuttings into the grass box. These, along with the grass box, were often offered as optional extras. Thus, many sidewheel mowers do not have either, as they were not purchased in the first place.
DRAW ROPE Early manual mowers, unless they were quite small, required two-man operation, the man in front pulling the mower by means of a draw rope fitted to a bar in front of the grass box (See "Silens Messor").
EDGER A machine for trimming lawn edges. This could either have separate blades as in the Ransomes edger, or a disc coulter. This could also be part of a Trimmer mower, see below.
FINE TURF MOWER A mower specifically designed for specialist areas such as bowling greens, golf courses etc. (See "Certes", "Overgreen" etc.)
FINGER BAR MOWERS See Reciprocating Knife mowers.
FLAIL MOWER A mower using banks of flails instead of blades. An example of this type of mower was made by the Japanese firm of Iseki who were importing this type of mower into the UK in the 1980s (also Mott Hammer Knife).
FRONT RUNNER An optional extra manufactured for sidewheel mowers from around 1900 to enable them to cut closer to lawn edges. These were useful on mowers such as the Ransomes "Lion".
HIGH WHEEL MOWER A name given to some sidewheel mowers made specifically for cutting longer grass (eg Ransomes "Ripper"). Also known in the United States as "Hi-Cut" mowers.
HOVER MOWER A rotary mower in which the machine floats on a cushion of air created by the down-draft from the blades. First introduced in the early 1960s (see Flymo).
HYBRID MOWER This is a term I have unashamedly made up myself for those mowers (mostly American) which do not fall neatly into the roller or sidewheel categories, because they used inside-frame land wheels in place of the usual roller. The 1890s "Charter Oak" is an example of these.
MULCHER MOWER A rotary mower in which the grass cuttings are converted into a fine mulch within the machine by means of a specially shaped blade.
PONY MOWER A mower designed to be pulled by a small horse or pony which usually wore boots to protect the turf. Superseded by powered mowers in the early 20th century. In many instances shafts were fitted although some mowers had a whippletree or single shaft.
PURCHASE TAX A supplement to the standard price equivalent to the modern VAT, introduced by successive UK governments post-1945. This is abbreviated in the text to 'PT'.
PUSHER UNITS Petrol engines with wheels and seats attached which could be shackled to the rear of the larger manual mowers such as the bigger "Automatons", thus converting them into powered mowers. (See "Mower Pusher Co." and Rendle).
RECIPROCATING KNIFE MOWER A mower in which the conventional cutting cylinder is replaced by a cutter bar with blades moving in the horizontal plane as in the old agricultural harvesting mowers. The cutter bar was sometimes interchangeable with a cutting cylinder. Reciprocating-knife mowers were usually made for smallholdings and orchards rather than for lawns. See "Allen Scythe", "Autoscythe", etc.). Also known as Finger Bar, and Sickle Bar mowers.
REEL CUTTER A rotary cutting head in which the blades are replaced by nylon gut (monofilament) extending outwards from a central reel as in a garden "strimmer", also known as "string trimmers" (USA).
REEL MOWER An American term for a cylinder mower (usually a sidewheel machine).
RIDE-ON MOWER A mower designed to be ridden on like a farm tractor (See "Frigate", "Lawnrider" etc.).
ROLLER MOWER A mower, either powered or manual, with the blades driven from a metal roller to which the power is applied. The drive to the blades can be either by chain or gears. The very earliest mowers were of this type (See "Automaton", "Panther" etc.).
ROTARY MOWER A mower in which the conventional cutting cylinder is replaced by blades rotating in the horizontal plane. This type of mower was pioneered in the UK by Rotoscythe in the 1930s. There is also an American patent in 1929 by Wm. E. Beazley.
SCRAPER PLATE A narrow plate or bar fixed between the handles or side-frames of a roller mower to scrape mud and leaves off the roller. These were often used as a mounting for manufacturer's or retailer's nameplates (eg Ransomes, Greens etc).
SHINGLER (Barraclough) A device marketed by H. Barraclough of Halifax (early 20th century) for Greens mowers which replaced the front roller and allegedly gave a better finish to a cut lawn. The "Shingler" consisted of helical brushes around a cylindrical roller, not unlike the brushes of a Hoover vacuum cleaner.
SIDEWHEEL MOWER A mower, usually manual but occasionally powered, with the blades positioned between two outside-frame wheels, and driven either directly or through gearing; thus dispensing with the heavy roller. These were first introduced in the second half of the 19th century. (See "Pennsylvania", Follows & Bate "Climax" etc). Where no other information is given in the Directory, the reader may assume that the mower is a manual one.
SOLE PLATE A horizontal plate on the underside of a cylinder mower to which the stationary bottom blade is fixed (also known as the cast back, or blade back (USA).
TRAILING SEAT A seat with wheels or roller shackled to the rear of a mower to enable the operator to control the machine whilst being pulled along by it. Usually offered as an optional extra to larger mowers such as the Dennis "Z".
TRIMMER A machine resembling half a sidewheel or reel mower and used for trimming lawn edges (USA).
WIPER American term for cutting cylinder (late 19th/early 20th century) i.e. that part of the mower to which the blades are attached.