With summer here, there is one sound I can count on hearing. That’s the sound of a lawn mower. Regardless if it’s a push mower or a riding lawn mower, there’s no mistaking the sound over anything else.
The current lawn mower at home is a used John Deere 316 riding lawn mower that replaced the used John Deere 318 sitting idle behind the shed. David, my step-dad, purchased it used several summers ago. With a $600 price tag, it is the most expensive item that he has ever purchased at a yard sale. It does its job, providing that you don’t have to jump start the battery or blow up a flat tire before you start mowing with it. It’s during those pre-mowing rituals that I’d just as well be using one of those rotary push mowers that are still being sold in the Lemans and Vermont Country Store catalogs.
The riding lawn mower that I dearly miss is the old orange Jacobsen. I’m guessing it was a 1960s or 1970s model. If I’m not mistaken, Jacobsen built lawn mowers for Ford as well, painted blue, but the one at home was a Jacobsen. It was a tough, rugged, reliable old machine that did its job better than most. It was a sad day when David sold it to a guy who wanted the rear end to put under a pulling tractor. The rest of the Jacobsen went to the junkyard. The only other one of its kind that I’ve seen was for sale with several attachments to go with it. Two of those attachments were a blade to push snow and a one bottom plow. Unemployed at the time, I didn’t have the money to buy it.
It’s amazing how many of the older lawn mowers are showing up at the antique tractor shows these days as exhibits. In a way, I can see the appeal to some exhibitors. Not only are they collectors’ items, they are much easier to haul and store than their full-size counterparts. You can see lawn mowers from a variety of manufacturers: John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Case, Allis Chalmers, IH, Panzer, Wards Bulldog, Wheel Horse, Simplicity and Bolens are just a few.
However, I’ve yet to see a Jacobsen at any of the shows that I attend. Oh well. That’s what I get for letting a good thing get away from me.
A Different Time and Place
More on my fascination with steam engines.