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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After following a lead from Mr. BW, I found this neat little Sunbeam mower about an hour from my house. It's a fairly simple design with a few simple yet effective safety features.

Here is a few pictures when I first brought it home. BTW, one of the few things that I brought home and everything worked! :ThumbUp:

The 1956 Sunbeam RE18B 18" electric mower


She was a little dirty upon arrival


A small design issue was the discharge shoots pointed right at the wheel's backside.




You can lock the handle up 90° for storage or back at a 45° angle for regular mowing or leave it unlocked so you can flip the handle back and forth while mowing a straight path back and forth to keep the extension cord on one side of the mower to prevent crossing over it and cutting it.


Replaceable motor brushes


The obvious OSHA warnings . . .


These aluminum wire inserts in the wheels will ground out the unit while mowing in wet conditions. The early units (the one pictured) utilized a simple two wire 110v power supply. The later models had a service bulletin that provided information on a replacement three wire (grounded) plug which also had details about an additional draw on the power supply which was nominal.


The protected power switch for the unit.

Ironically, a member gave me a bunch of original Sunbeam manuals and service bulletins for these units at which time, I thought I would never see one of these around here in Central FL.

The next post will be after a clean up. I'll have to decide whether or not to leave as is or go for a restore???
 

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What a unique lawnmower!! I haven't seen one like it before. I really like that twin blade design. It has such a cool and unique look to every part of it. Thanks for walking us through the features and explaining everything. I like the bit about the extension cord and the metal inserts in the wheels are really interesting too. I wouldn't have ever guessed the function about the inserts.

It looks to be a very nice and honest original. I'd be tempted to keep it un-restored. The paint, nameplates and everything appear in be in excellent original condition.

Looking forward to seeing more and hearing your impressions of what it's like to operate.

Glad ya got it! :)
 

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:ThumbUp: :cool Replaceable brushes, there's blast from the past right there. :D I still have a saw and hand vacuum of that design. Trick though could be finding them. Last set I bought at a local motor rewinding shop that is no longer in business. Once upon a time we had a couple local guys rewinding motors and couple more doing starters and alternators. I remember having the fan motor hand rewound a couple times on the old gas Colman furnace in my parents home. Amazing given the labor involved it was still cheaper then a new motor and they would run just as long, sometimes longer then new. I think only one starter alternator guy is still holding on. My employer was a Hoover and Eureka repair center 20+ years ago when anything you sucked up went over the fan on the uprights. We'd replace broken fans, burned out motors, outer bags, beater bars and belts and send them on their way again. IIRC we charged $20 labor. People would drop off mixers, blenders, small kitchen appliances and once a week we'd take them up to a shop in Columbus for rebuilding and bring back the repaired ones. The shop in Columbus closed up a number of years ago now too.

Times have changed. :rolleyes:
 

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That is neat machine Bruce!! I'm with Austen, if it cleans up well leave it alone!
 
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That's a beauty alright. It looks like the colors would really come out with a good cleaning. Maybe a little ACV treatment on the steel bits?

I always wondered how those electrics worked in anything other than the most arid conditions. Sort of figured Arizona would be about the only place you could use them without the fear of giving yourself one heck of a jolt.

Bruce, are the blades a break away design?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's a beauty alright. It looks like the colors would really come out with a good cleaning. Maybe a little ACV treatment on the steel bits?

Bruce, are the blades a break away design?
ACV, yep, thinking the same thing and yes, the blades will fold back. I have found the drive belts are still available. The blades and brushes were available up until recent but I think with a little hunting, I could probably find them. The thing is, is that it all works and I really don't plan on using it. There is one bushing on one blade shaft that is a little sloppy. Those were also available until recent. They are solid brass bushings and could be fabricated if need be.

One other note is; the blade path does overlap and you do need to set up the timing to keep them 90° from each other or it makes a bunch of noise :p
 

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That is a cool looking mower. Only wish they wouldn't have aimed the discharge at the wheels. Seems if you were cutting a lawn it'd make a mess of your shoes and pant legs.
 
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By golly, that could be why it's in such good shape! When you look at some of the ads from the period, and see how they show the folks dressed while using the mowers of the day, the owner probably got tired of cleaning his loafers and getting grass in the cuff of his trousers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, for those of you who didn't see the ad from the initial thread, I'll repost it here.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That is a cool looking mower. Only wish they wouldn't have aimed the discharge at the wheels. Seems if you were cutting a lawn it'd make a mess of your shoes and pant legs.
By the looks of it, I think the majority of it packed onto the wheels... :(

By golly, that could be why it's in such good shape! When you look at some of the ads from the period, and see how they show the folks dressed while using the mowers of the day, the owner probably got tired of cleaning his loafers and getting grass in the cuff of his trousers.
Surprised it wasn't a lady wearing a ball dress. :ROFL
 

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Yep, that's got to be it. Nobody likes grass in your cuffs!:ROFL A couple of passes across the yard and the missus probably told him to get rid of that thing because it was clogging up the Maytag.

fifties-housewife-dryer-02-16-1957-620x636.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Got her cleaned up and I think I'm going to leave her as is, for now :ThumbUp:


Not too bad overall.


Handles and cord cleaned up nice.


Wheels and deck show more of its original color.


The back side of the wheels near the discharge suffered the most from the constant blast of grass and dirt.


The underside cleaned up nicely. The blades appeared to have minimal wear.

So for now, she'll find a nice cozy spot in the shop.
 

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:ThumbUp: Think I would just leave that as is with the signs of normal use on it.

I can still recall mom giving dad and I as a kid grief coming in the house with our cuffs full of grass after pushing the 18" Jacobsen around. Side discharge but no chute on it so your right cuff would fill to the brim. She also was no fan of the two cycle smell that lingered on our clothes. At the time we burned 10w30 motor oil with the gas so there was plenty of stink that collected on us. :2th:
 

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Yes sir, that cleaned up nicely! Sunbeam used some real pretty colors on their mowers.

Out of curiosity, what is the height setting where it's set right now. Seems we cut the lawns way shorter back then than we do now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes sir, that cleaned up nicely! Sunbeam used some real pretty colors on their mowers.

Out of curiosity, what is the height setting where it's set right now. Seems we cut the lawns way shorter back then than we do now.
Reminds me of the industrial hammered green of the day.

The cutting height is set at 2" right now and can be as low as 1". The increments are @ 1/2" and you can go as high as @ 3".
 

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Looks great!! She cleaned up really nicely. :cool Thanks for posting the pics!
 
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