Antique Power Lawn Mower

This is an old self-propelled reel-type power lawn mower I have that belonged to my father. He used it to mow our grass in the 1950's. The mower is basicly a motor attached to a common (at that time) push-type reel (scissor-cut) lawn mower. The mower was manufactured by The Moto Mower Company of Detroit and has a Briggs and Stratton one-cylinder four-cycle engine that is started by winding a rope around the crank shaft and then pulling hard. You can see a rope wrapped around the crankshaft. The cord has the original wooden pull attached to it. Below is a picture of the front of the mower.

The engine has an oil-filled air filter mounted on top. The engine will start and the blades and wheels will turn; however, the rubber on the wheels has rotted off. For these photographs, I just placed them around the wheels. The motor oil fil port and drain plug can be seen on the front. Below is a picture of the other side of the mower.

The mower is self-propelled. When the lever mounted on the handlebar shaft is pushed down, an idler pulley applys tension to a belt which engages the reel cutter blades and the wheels. Below is a picture of the rear of the mower.

The mower has a 18-inch cut. When operating, the grass blows on your feet. Two wooden rollers can be seen on the rear of the mower. The height of the cut is changed by adjusting the rollers up and down. There is not much range - the mower is designed for a low cut. This type of mower is ideal for cutting zoysia grass and grass on golf course greens.

There were minimal safety features back then. The idler pulley and belt are exposed (however, our neighbor had a later version that had this covered), the blades can throw hazards at your ankles, and there is no automatic motor cutoff.

Some people removed the motor from the mower and made go-karts with the motor. The horizontal crankshaft of these motors made them ideal to mount on a go-kart chassis. A friend of mine had one such homemade go-kart.