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Agricultural Equipment
2006 John Deere X324 Mower
Mowers are machines used in the agricultural industry to cut grass or crops. They can come in either direct-cut or side-cut types, and the cutting apparatus can function in many ways, either with rotary blades, snipping blades, or reel blades. Their use started off as a simple scythe tool for farming and developed into a mechanized tool of a variety of types that can be used for many different applications and grass/weed or crop types. The development of mowers has transformed the agricultural industry from one of slow, laborious work on small farms to an ever-changing and growing industry that works large areas at rapid pace.


[edit] History

[edit] Before Mowers

Before the mower, farms moved at a much slower pace, requiring a lot of time and hand-force to complete tasks that would be deemed easy compared to today’s standards. The first farm tools used to cut grass or crops were the hand-held scythes or cradles as they were sometimes referred to. The cradle was invented towards the end of the 18th century with only minor improvements made over time, such as longer length and additional fingers. Scythes and cradles were used as late as the 1800s for agricultural tasks such as cutting grain and other crops.[1]

[edit] Facilitating Grass-cutting

The first device used to improve grass-cutting was invented in 1812 by Peter Gaillard. This was essentially a scythe with minor improvements. An American named Jeremiah Bailey, also attempted to develop a better device. His invention was a hybrid of a reaper/mower. The reaper/mower could use its rotating discs to cut grass. William Manning, also American, developed a reciprocating cutter in 1831, which used a mechanism that cut from the side to achieve its task.[2]

1998 Ransomes 951D Lawn Mower

[edit] Introducing the Mower

By the 1850s, mowers began to make a slow and steady appearance. These early mowers were led by horses and developed into two types: the side-cutter and the direct-cutter, both of which are still utilized to this day. The side-cutter consists of a cutting rod. The direct-cutter had a mower bar that was positioned between the mower wheels. By the early 20th century, the mower was a highly recognized and efficient tool for farms. Their speed allowed American farms to grow even larger because more tasks could be accomplished in a shorter span of time.

[edit] Horse-led Mowers

The One Horse/Pony Clipper Mower was a popular choice in the mid 1800s. It could cut ¾ of an acre (0.3 ha) per hour and even received a gold medal from the New York State Agricultural Society. The one-horse mower could typically cut 3 ½ to four feet (1.2 to 1.2 m) of grass or crops. The two-horse mower could typically cut between 4 ½ and five feet (1.4 and 1.5 m), but depending on its height, it could cut as much as eight feet (2.4 m) and complete eight to 15 acres (3.2 to 6.1 ha) per day.

Horse-led mowers used as many as 15 fingers to cut and divide the grass into sections that were cut by reciprocating knives. The grass was divided and then cut as seen fit by the driver. Horses were soon replaced by tractors and use rotary mowers to cut crops.

Some of the first mowers were produced by Buckeye Harvester. The Iron Frame Mower also appeared and implements could be attached to achieve a variety of cutting preferences. The Iron Frame Mower could carry reaping attachments and could be used with one horse or two. The mower, along with Cyrus McCormick’s reaper in the 1830s and the invention of the grain binder in the 1870s, farming quickly became a booming industry.[3]

[edit] 20th Century Advancements

Present day mowers still function by clipping grass using a tractor that utilizes attached rotary mowers and power take-off (PTO).[4]

Modern examples of how mowers have evolved are demonstrated by manufacturers such as Bush Hog, Rhino, Troy-Bilt, and Woods.

Woods developed the first tractor-mounted rotary cutter mower in 1946. The device, invented by Keith Leonard and Mervel Wood, provided advanced cutting methods that permitted the driver to control cutting lengths and contours.[5]

Servis-Rhino produced the first tractor mounted, rotary stalk shredder in 1947 and the “Whirlwhind Terracer”, Gyro 84 in 1953, a mower that is still in use. The company was also responsible for producing the Flex 15, the first four-gearbox flex-wing rotary cutter, a prototype that many manufacturers have tried to imitate.[6]

[edit] Features/How it Works

Mowers consist of many parts: the frame, bearings, a pitman rod, and a transmission that operates the motion and the gears.

The frame is usually made of cast iron and contains bearings for the main axle and a countershaft. The pitman rod is the device that connects the mower to the blades and is the point of operation for the driver.

The transmission of mowers can be divided into the motion and the gears of the mowers. The motion is controlled by a main axle that is connected to the knives by gears. The mower, which is usually positioned at the rear of the engine. The engine uses hydraulic liquid to push the piston in motion towards the wheel belt of the mower; movement occurs through this process.

The transmission of the gears is operated by the main axle that comes in contact with a gear spur on the shaft. The shaft makes contact with the pinion on the countershaft and results in a changing of gears.[7]

[edit] Types

Mowers are available in side-cut or direct-cut types. The side-cut mower consists of a cutting rod and reciprocating knives that are positioned on one side and powered by an operator who cranks the gear when driving over the ground. The direct-cut mower operates in a similar fashion with the exception that the cutting apparatus is located between the wheels.

[edit] Sickle Mowers

Sickle Mowers were first used to cut cereals in the 1960s, but farmers began using them to cut hay as well. It comprises a bar of five seven-inch (18 cm) blades and is mostly only efficient for smaller farms and applications. The sickle mower was combined with a front reel for bending stalks a machine that became known as the sickle haybine.[8]

[edit] Rotary Mowers

Ford 938 48 in. Rotary Mower
Rotary mowers can be used for many grass types and cut grass with the use of rotating blades that spin rapidly to adjacent grass.

[edit] Reel Mowers

Reel mowers are similar to the rotary type in the sense that they consist of rotating blades, but the reel motor blades move vertically and are typically found in lawn mowers.[9]

[edit] Flail Mowers

Flail mowers consist of a hydraulic attachment with small blades used for cutting and snipping grass, crops or weeds.

[edit] Equipment

The Brush Hog, a rotary mower developed by manufacturer Bush Hog, uses a farm tractor with a three-point hitch and operated by PTO  to cut blades of grass or crop. The machine has been developed in such a way that if it comes across rocks or stumps, its mechanisms push it backward and progresses forward again by a centrifugal force. The Brush Hog has dull rotary blades that are more efficient in cutting heavy weeds and grass, as opposed to a sharp blade that may get stuck or delayed in these circumstances. The Brush Hog also consists of high carbon steel that is designed to survive strikes against rocks and stones.[10]

Some of Woods’ mower models are from the PRD series of finish mowers, undermount mowers, front- and mid-mount riding Mow’n Machines and zero turn Mow’n Machines.[11]

[edit] Common Manufacturers

[edit] Additional Photos

1987 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 424 4x4 Mower
1988 Roberine 1602D Mower
1996 Aibi HC55 Mower
2005 Kubota BX2230D 4x4 Mower
2007 Boxer FA1500 Finishing Mower
2007 Trincia Tritone 310 Straw Chopper
Alamo M015599 60 in. Flail Mower
Craftsman ZTS7500 Zero Turn Lawn Mower
Cub Cadet 3184 Lawn Tractor
Jacobsen 1684 3-Reel 3WD Riding Mower
Kuhn GMD55S Mower Deck
Land Pride RCR2560 60 in. Rotary Mower
Massey Ferguson 59 5ft. Mower
MTD CSV202 Yard Vac
Ransomes Motor 180 Lawn Mower
Ransomes XT3200 Mower
Rousseau 200TS Hydraulic Flail Mower
Schulte XH1500 15 ft. Bat Wing Mower
Toro Groundmaster 223D Mower
Walker NCGHS Riding Mower
Westwood T1200 Lawn Mower
White Turf Boss FR14 Ride-on Mower
Billy Goat BC2401H Walk Behind Brush Cutter
1997 New Holland 1431 13 ft. Hydra Swing Disc Mower

[edit] References

  1. Buff, Sheila. Traditional Country Skills. The Lyons Press: Guildford, Connecticut, 2001.
  2. Partridge, Michael. Farm Tools Through the Ages. Osprey: Reading, 1973.
  3. Buff, Sheila. Traditional Country Skills. The Lyons Press: Guildford, Connecticut, 2001.
  4. Partridge, Michael. Farm Tools Through the Ages. Osprey: Reading, 1973.
  5. About Woods. Woods. 2008-09-25.
  6. Homepage. Rhino. 2008-09-25.
  7. Ramsower, Harry C. Farm Equipment and How to Use it. The Lyons Press: Guildford, Connecticut, 2001.
  8. What is a Sickle Mower. Ezine Articles. 2008-09-25.
  9. Reel Defined. People Powered Machines. 2008-09-25.
  10. Hompeage. Bushdog. 2008-09-25.
  11. Our Company. Woods Equipment. 2008-09-25.