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Saturday, September 18, 2004

Outdoor Power Equipment: Product evolution in OPE market: "Product evolution in OPE market
Outdoor Power Equipment, Feb, 2002 by Ron Willis

Lawns became popular in French formal gardens in the 1700s and then were copied in England. The English version of the garden was usually larger than the French version and required more maintenance. The first gardens were maintained by grazing animals or with a sickle or scythe.
In 1830, Edwin Budding, an English engineer and inventor, created the first lawn mower. Budding's lawn mower was very similar to the reel-type push mowers that were popular in the United States in the early part of the 20th century. The 1900 Sears catalog offered a 14-inch-cut reel mower for the sum of $3.40. For an additional $.30, you could move up to a 15-inch-cut model. The 20-inch-cut model, the largest available, could be bought for $4.50. The mowers had reels with four blades, were manufactured by the Acme Mower Company, and looked amazingly like Budding's original mower.
The lawn mower changed dramatically in 1940 when Leonard Goodall invented the rotary power mower. This new device transformed lawn mowing forever. The direction of the industry immediately changed from manually powered devices to engine-powered devices. The accepted mower moved from the reel to the rotary. As engines became lighter, more efficient, and more reliable, we began to see products that not only had the cutting mechanism engine powered but the method of propulsion, too. Soon the operator no longer had to walk behind, but could ride.
The industry continues to show the rapid evolution of product design that has been characteristic since its beginning. The one thing that has been fairly constant over the past 25 years has been the number of walk-behind rotary mowers sold. That number is typically around 5,000,000 un"

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eureka, California, United States
As Popeye once said,"I ams what I am." But then again maybe I'm not