Old Technology; Is Newer Necessarily Better?

Mowing the dog’s yard using a manual reel mower

Departing from the usual for one post to advocate an unconventional method to mow lawn — the old-style, non-motorized reel mower. I got one of these mowers for the first time about four years ago, and was surprised at how well it worked. Since then, I’ve used this type of mower a lot; the images and text following show an example from this morning.

The images above show my manual reel mower; plus before and after shots of the lawn I mowed with it this morning.

The mower cost only about $100, consumes no gas (obviously), and is very quiet. It cuts a 16″ swath, there are models available that cut 20″.

This lawn is our fenced-in dog run, it’s approximately 46′ by 35′, so about 1600 square feet. Mowing it today took just 15 minutes using the 16″ manual mower. Rough calculation estimated that it required 400 steps, and my wrist monitor credited me with 140 calories burned (certainly a low estimate).

So, the manual reel mower has many advantages. It is cheap, so quiet that you can mow anytime without disturbing neighbors, and good exercise. To my eye it does just as good of a job as power mowers. You do have to keep up with the mowing though, it does not do well with tall grass.

Published by jimr77

Recently retired, loving life in northern Minnesota

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1 Comment

  1. I love the “old” mowers! That soft “click click click” as you walk along is so distinctive and even soothing takes me back to my grandparents’ yard and the days when my brother and I would take turns mowing it. Great memories!


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