"Gentlemen will find using my machine an amusing ... healthful exercise."
— EDWIN BUDDING'S PATENT APPLICATION FOR THE FIRST LAWNMOWER, 1830
To understand what landscapers do to dispose of their lawn clippings, you first need to know the history of the lawn mower.
1868: The reel-type spiral-bladed cutter makes its stateside debut via manufacturer Amariah Hills, who receives the first U.S. patent for the machine.
1921: Knud and Oscar Jacobson introduce a mower with a purpose-built gas engine. The reel-mowing machine cuts a blistering 4 acres a day—perfect for the golf courses, parks, and cemeteries it's intended to maintain.
1929: William Beazley builds a power rotary lawnmower with blades that are driven horizontal to the grass rather than perpendicular like traditional reel mowers, creating a very close cut.
1938: Toro launches a power mower for the homeowner: It's affordable, fits in a garage, and is so easy to handle that parents make their kids use it.
1953: Briggs & Stratton creates the lightweight aluminum engine for mowers. By 1957 it accounts for 80 percent of engines the company ships in the US.
1970's: Mulching mowers hit the retail markets. The early companies closed off the side shoot and sharpened the blades almost all the way to the bolt hole. By the late 70's blade companies started twisting blades to more finely chop up the grass clippings.
1985: Universities started conducting research and equipment manufacturers began twisting this research to perpetuate the benefits of mulching/grass recycling when it came to returning nitrogen back to the soil and downplaying the negative effects of increased insect and disease problems. I believe in the hopes of helping those companies/industries that were funding the research to sell more mulching mowers.
1982: Explicit lawnmower safety standards are implemented—and an ominous label is born because too many people were losing digits because they were picking up their rotary mowers and using them as hedge trimmers.lades.