100 Years of Building the Reel Tradition
In 1995 American Lawn Mower Company marked "100 years of building the reel tradition". To celebrate 100 years of manufacturing push reel lawn mowers, the company went on a search for the oldest person still using a reel. The search found Grace Rockwell, who was then ninety-five years old and from Mercersburg, PA.
The Push Reel Mower of Today
The mowers of today are essentially the same as were produced 100 years ago, but they are much easier to care for and much easier to use. The mower of yesteryear weighed from 40 to 60 pounds. Today's models range from 16 to 32 pounds. The wooden handles have been replaced with painted or plated tubular steel handles. The heavy cast wheels have been replaced with much lighter plastics in some models. Today's push reel mower has many advantages. They start every time. They don't need gas or spark plugs. They don't pollute the environment with fumes or noise. They are great exercise. They are the mower of choice for young and old alike.
A reel mower works on different principles than a standard rotary mower. It only cuts what gets between the reel and the cutter bar. Therefore, it is important to cut your lawn regularly and not allow the grass to reach a height of much over 3-4" in order to insure a proper cut. Mow no more than one-third of the grass blade, so that a deeper root system is encouraged. A lawn with an extensive network of roots needs less help finding food and water and can better crowd out weeds. If the lawn gets exceptionally tall, 4" or over, it may be necessary to increase the amount of overlap between passes, mow the same path once up and once back, or actually mow in a checkerboard pattern to obtain the desired results. Another symptom of grass that's too tall is a strip of uncut or taller grass towards the center of the reel even though your mower is set properly and you appear to be cutting grass along the entire width of the reel. This usually means you are attempting to cut too tall or too much grass in one pass for the reel to cut it properly. First increase the cutting height or, if already in the highest setting, increase the amount of overlap between passes. Ideal cutting performance is achieved at approximately 1-3/4" to 2-1/2" depending on the mower you choose.
No engine pays off with such low maintenance. -No gas, no oil, no spark plugs, no oily rags, no running to the gas station or hardware store to get supplies or parts. American Reel Mowers are simple, American made mowers. Brush them off occasionally, sprits the blades with WD-40, and sharpen them every other season.