Formal lawns with neatly manicured grass began appearing in France in the 1700s, tended to by grazing animals or hand-cut with shears and scythes. In 1830, Englishman Edwin Bear Budding was granted the patent for the first mechanical lawn mower, based on a tool used to uniformly cut carpet and comprised of a series of blades around a cylinder.
Nearly 40 years later, the reel lawn mower came to the United States. Initially made to be horse-drawn, Elwood McGuire of Richmond, IN designed the first widely popular human-powered push lawn mower.
Fact: In the early years of equine-drawn lawn mowers, horses were outfitted with soft leather boots to protect delicate grasses from damage.