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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've managed to collect four Jacobsen push lawn mowers, which somewhat tell a tale of their rise and fall as an independent company. If anyone would like to fill in the details, decipher serial #'s, provide dates, and add more pics, please feel free.

First one is the oldest, a model#318 (18") that's been in my family for ~50 years. It made it through 3 engines before being very recently retired. As you can see, it got USED for 50 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Next up is a model #319 (19") which I recently got just the pictured shell for free. I think it's a little later build-date, a little different design, but still has the "Place foot here when starting engine" imprint in the casting. The serial# is now a sticker than a riveted tag. As you can see it's got a couple cracks for me to practice my AL welding and the wheels will need to be replaced (obviously), but the four adjusters are all there, so there's hope.

I'm not sure if the lower half of the push handle is original or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Next up is a model T-20, manufactured in the late 80's I believe, well after Textron's acquisition of Jacobsen in 1975. Still sporting the Jacobsen orange colors and lightweight alloy shell, but Jacobsen is now just a brand of the Homelite Textron company. I got this one for $15 as a non-runner with one broken spring adjuster. The adjuster was easily replaced, the engine I'm still trying to figure out. In the mean time I tossed an old B&S 3.5 on it and just made it a side-shooter rather than mulcher which requires more power.

4th pic shows the original motor, currently removed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
By the early 90's (?) the consumer branding of Jacobsen was all but dead. Homelite's red color wins out over Jacobsen orange, and the Jacobsen brand gets second billing to Homelite in smaller letters. This didn't last long though, as Textron sold off the Homelite brand to John Deere, which I believe brought an end to Jacobsen-branded consumer lawn mowers. Somewhere along the line, the Jacobsen brand turned it's focus solely to commercial applications, primarily golf course equipment.

When I came upon this mower at the lawn mower junkyard, I had to add it to my collection, if only to document out the history of the brand. It's interesting that it's a "mulching only" mower - no provision to side-shoot at all. It's a two blade mower - a 20" full pass and a small (12") one, hence the unique blade attachment. But the Aluminum deck is now highlighted as a feature.

Not sure what my plans are for this one. Paint it like a turtle perhaps???
 

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Models 318 & 319 were 2 cycles. The rectangular hole in the deck was where the engine exhausted. Also you could replace the rubber tires without replacing the wheels. They were thick aluminium decks, steel wheels, and very heavy and very powerful. They could knock down 2'-3' high grass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cool stuff! I like the earlier ones. Are you in the midst of restoring them?
The 318 has way outlived it's service life. It's been cracked up, patched up and used up. I'll probably use it as a fixture for engines I'm working on. The 319 I plan to restore.

Thanks for the link.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Models 318 & 319 were 2 cycles. The rectangular hole in the deck was where the engine exhausted. Also you could replace the rubber tires without replacing the wheels. They were thick aluminium decks, steel wheels, and very heavy and very powerful. They could knock down 2'-3' high grass.
Interesting. I think when we got the 318 it was already on it's second motor as I'm pretty sure it's always had a 4-cycle since we've had it. I'll double-check with my Dad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Adding this one to the history, currently listed for sale on eBay. It appears to be pretty much identical to the later red Homelite-branded one above. So I guess there wasn't actually R&D put into that one, it was use a re-use of an older design.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Stumbled across this on eBay so I thought it was worth adding. I knew that Jacobsen made some of Ford's tractors, but I had never realized that there were Ford branded push lawn mowers, also manufactured by Jacobsen. It's easy to tell it's a Jacobsen - Ford branded this one their LM19 model...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Three years later, I finally got around to doing a "resto-mod" build using the Homelite-Jacobsen 20" mulching mower deck & original blades. The engine is a somewhat modern B&S that came from a Toro. The handle came from a Honda HRA214. It came together pretty nice. I used it about 10 minutes after I got finished building it. Works well.

The only oddity is that the pull start faces the wrong direction, so I need to start it from the front and then hang the cord on the little hook. I haven't really studied yet whether there might be an easy way to rotate the pull direction 180 degrees. I'm thinking "not".
 

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Nice save. I like the use of all the different wheels. Is there a reason the motor can't be rotated 180 degrees??
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Is there a reason the motor can't be rotated 180 degrees??
The mounting holes won't align.

Dismantling the Honda engine, the one nice feature they use is 4 mounting holes, symmetrically located. At a minimum you can turn it 180 degrees, but maybe even 90 (I didn't even check that).
 

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If the deck surface is flat where the engine mounts, maybe drill new mounting holes. If the deck has raised pads for mounting, then the engine can't be moved easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The casting is much thicker around the mounting areas. There's no easy way to rotate the whole engine 180 degrees.
 

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The only oddity is that the pull start faces the wrong direction, so I need to start it from the front and then hang the cord on the little hook. I haven't really studied yet whether there might be an easy way to rotate the pull direction 180 degrees. I'm thinking "not".
This might be more trouble than it's worth, but you could theoretically drill out the rivets that are holding the recoil starter housing to the flywheel cover, and then rotate the recoil starter 180 degrees so that it would be facing the correct way.

Repairclinic has a suitable video here:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This might be more trouble than it's worth, but you could theoretically drill out the rivets that are holding the recoil starter housing to the flywheel cover, and then rotate the recoil starter 180 degrees so that it would be facing the correct way.
Thanks for the idea w/ video. Looks easy enough to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Four years later, I got the 319 back cutting grass again. Sometime over the past couple years I picked up an original Jacobsen blade for it. And then when a neighbor was throwing away a cheap Murray mower with a new style 300e engine, I knew I had to get going on this project.

The handle from the Murray was close enough to be able to make it work.
I need to grind down the blade ends a bit to shorten it due to the repair panels bolted/bonded to the inside.

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