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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-07-2013, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Practical Vintage mower?

Hey all, I got my old Gemco running today... I must ask, why ever do seemingly all older mowers cut extremely low!? I think the Gemco may cut up to 1 1/4" at the blade, otherwise saying I am glad I didn't tear up the whole front yard. Same goes for most old reel mowers. Besides Lawn-Boys, are there any older mowers, that were of a decent build, that actually cut higher then, say, 2"? If I could I would modify the Gemco, slightly, to at least be able to mow with it. I've had thoughts of mounting the Clinton on a newer deck, but then everything would be off, since the Clinton is an under mount exhaust, and a really narrow frame set up. Also, newer decks seem to be much heavier then the Gemco, I think it weighs somewhere around 10-15 pounds!...- Well, enough of my gallivanting, :bag:



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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-07-2013, 11:55 PM
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I've always wondered that too and don't really know for sure, however, by going back into original advertisement history you may be able to get an idea.

I can't speak so much for vintage rotary mowers, but I think that some of it has to do with the fact that mowers back then were designed to be used on golf courses and other places such as cemeteries where they needed a very low, fine cut.

I have brochures for my Jacobsen mowers that date back to the 1940's and a lot of the descriptions, photos and captions all revolve around them mowing those types of areas. In fact, if you research original ads for antique mowers, say pre 1950, most of them are shown in golf courses and cemeteries. I think these types of mowers were used for these more commercially based uses in the beginning and before the rotary mower was introduced, there weren't many other options or designs out there for the homeowner.

Some manufactures offered a special sub model, attachment or even a totally separate model for cutting taller grass. Take the "highwheel" Lawn King that came equipped with taller wheels and tires which allowed for a taller cutting height over 3". There were other attachments for some reel mowers such as a second reel type looking extension mounted on the front which was intended to cut down taller grass before the main reel hit it. Models such as motor scythes were other options for cutting taller lawn.

"We donít look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." - 2 Corinthians 4:18 1958 Eclipse 32" Speedway l Restored Eclipse Sulky l 1947 Jacobsen 26" Lawn King Jacobsen 36-A Sulky Restored 1949 Jacobsen 20" Lawn Queen l Honda HRB215 l 1977 Economy Tractor l 1971 Bolens 1886-01

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 06:03 AM
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Can you fit taller tires ?

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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Not on my mower, it has almost, 'fenders' I guess you could say... How high do the older Brick top Lawn-Boys cut?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 03:31 PM
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They have pretty much the same set up as current ones ... 4 or 5 inches.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 05:22 PM
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Pick up a steel deck Snapper HiVac 21401P with a 4hp Briggs & Stratton. You will not regret it. I have had and worked on so many mowers, and I must say that they are up there in the top 5 best rotary mowers ever made. They have a 21" cut, about 75lbs, and can cut 3.5" high. They have a 5 speed disc type transmission, and are very simple and inexpensive to maintain mowers. They were very expensive new. Most were in the $625-750 range, depending on engine (Briggs 3.5, 4, or 5hp, Tecumseh 4 or 5hp, and or Wisconsin Robin 4 or 5hp in both 2 cycle and 4 cycle models) They came with Snapperizers, Thatcherizers, Mulcherizers, and Pac N Sac options. I own a small landscaping business which utilizes vintage machinery. I primarily use my Whirlwind powered by a Wisconsin AKN, alternate between any of my 8 Snapper 21401P/PS's, 2 Yazoo Big Wheel mowers, 3 International cub cadets and a 25" Eclipse Rolloway gasoline reel mower. Fuel usage is far higher than what it would be with a modern machine, but using the oldies are so much more fun!

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 08:26 PM
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Yeah, what's a bit of gas for a lot more fun! Of course, who knows what'll happen next in the Empire State; we've already got bans on Big Gulps; maybe next everybody'll have to use cordless mowers!:ROFL Stick with what's tough, gets the job done, and gets the job done well; that's what I say.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I've heard good things of those Snappers. But the idea with this mower was to be more of a 'fun' mower then use, otherwise said, not for regular use. Figure I'll keep my eyes out for an older Lawn-Boy at this rate.


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 09:45 PM
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Want a fun mower, how about an old Whirlwind GrassKing, Eclipse Rolloway, Locke Triplex, Jaques Power Saw, or a Flymo?
I had a Flymo with a JLO 2 cycle engine years ago, I wish I never sold it. What a machine, it was so much fun to use!

I have been looking for a 1901 Coldwell steam powered mower and a 1915 Ideal Lawn Mower for some time. I found one Ideal for sale, but I cannot shell out $2500 for a 0.75hp hit and miss powered reel mower! I am sure both would be a blast to operate! The older the machine you look for, the wackier they come!

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 11:24 PM
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Ktron, I've always wondered what it would be like to have my own lawn care business and use nothing but vintage machinery. Kudos to you. What's your opinion on the old snappers with the aluminum decks? I've been told they weren't really a "hi-vac". I picked up a 1978 bagger ( model # V212P) that needed a few odds and ends, but haven't had a chance to use it yet. Feels like its built like a tank though
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