Budding Lawnmower - the Ferrabee Improved model

The Lawnmower

The world's first lawnmower was created by local inventor Edwin Beard Budding in 1830 and produced at the Phoenix Iron Foundry in Thrupp. It was patented as "a new combination and application of machinery for the purpose of cropping or shearing the vegetable surface of lawns, grass-plats and pleasure grounds".

Edwin Beard Budding was a mechanic, building and repairing machinery for the textile mills of the Stroud valleys. It is thought that he got the idea for his lawnmower from the cross-cutting machines that were used to finish woollen cloth – one of these is also on display at the Museum.



It is rumoured that Budding tested his grass cutting prototype at night to avoid curiosity and ridicule from his neighbours.

Before the invention of the lawnmower, lawns were cut by scythe. This was a laborious and highly skilled task, if a short and even finish was to be achieved, and it could only be undertaken when the grass was wet. Edwin Budding's invention had a worldwide impact on gardens, the development of the suburbs that surround our cities and on all sports played on grass.

The lawnmower in use - an image from the original advertising literature


Did you know?

The Museum owns two Budding lawnmowers as well as the patent originally submitted by Budding in 1830


The Hall & Duck Trust - the world's largest collection of old lawnmowers


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