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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lawn Boy...

All my life I have been a sucker for anything well engineered with an interesting story behind it. A few days ago, I happened to pick up a mower from a neighbor. Now this isn't your typical stamped tin, plastic wheel, throwaway machine they sell by the thousands at Wal-Mart. Nope, this is a genuine 1970's Lawn Boy push mower.

What makes these so special? Well, for one these machines are built above and beyond the quality that most mowers you'll find out there. They're also quirky and weird looking not only visually, but mechanically. They are powered by 2 cycle engines that give them lots of power but a lot less weight. I can pick this thing up pretty easily. I'd say it weighs half of what my other mower does. The company has an interesting history too. It started in the marine engine business ( Evinrude) which was later sold to Briggs and Stratton before coming the Outboard Marine Corporation. When you look at these mowers, you can tell that a boat motor engineer had his hand in there somewhere. These old mowers last so long in many instances that they were passed down sometimes from father to son. You simply don't see that very often anymore in everyday pedestrian products.

What I like most about the mower is the styling. Sort off cross between a manta ray and a space ship. No reason other than just to look futuristic... for an item pushed around the yard by deal old dad in a straw hat. Put it in a museum and call it art. People would believe it. Perhaps I'm just a Krotchety old man in my young age, but I seem to seldom see this kind of attention to detail in the myriads of plasticy bubbly looking mowers on the market today.


At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came across your blog when I was Googling for information on the Lawnboy carburetor. The carburetor from my 1975 Lawnboy is sitting on the workbench in my garage right now, waiting until I find the right float height before I put the bowl back on.

I bought the mower new in 1975, and I've done all my own service since then, including installing a set of rings about five years ago. I bought the new rings before I tore the engine down, and I almost didn't put them in, it was in such great shape.

I have remarked to whoever will listen (not many) that whoever designed the engine should receive an industrial design award; it can be taken apart with a Philips #2 and a 7/16" combination wrench, with a set of needle nose pliers if your hands are too big to reach the fuel and primer hoses, and it keeps on going and going.

I tell my wife that my two favourite smells are Mackie and burnt two stroke. Nevertheless,
I increased the original fuel to oil recommendation a couple of years ago from 16:1 to 25:1 to cut down on the smoke.

all the best

Reed Valve

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