Lawn Mowers and Weed Eaters


Lawn mowers and weed eaters work to create a well-maintained landscape. Available in many different forms, the lawn mower and a perfect lawn are symbolic of suburban America. While the mower cuts large areas of grass, it is unable to closely manicure along edges. The Weed Eater and other trimmers allow for the cutting of grass in small and hard-to-maneuver areas.

History of Lawn Mowers

Until the invention of mechanical mowing, lawns were cut manually using scythes or grazed by sheep and cattle. This changed in the early 19th century when English engineer Edwin Budding created the first cylindrical, reel-type mower. In 1870, Elwood McGuire of Indiana improved upon Budding's design, creating a lighter and simpler version. By 1855, America was shipping 50,000 lawn mowers a year around the world. Although the first gas-powered mowers were manufactured in 1919, they didn't take off until after World War II. In 2010, new mowers on the market feature technology to reduce emissions, increase comfort and save energy costs.

History of Weed Eater

In the early 1970s, George Ballas of Texas invented the first string trimmer, consisting of heavy-duty fishing line attached to an empty can bolted to the bottom of a gas-powered edger. He named the invention a "weed eater" because of the way it chewed up weeds and grass. According to Husqvarna Outdoor Products, the current manufacturer of Weed Eater products, the popularity of the trimmer was so great that eventually the brand name "Weed Eater" became the generic term for any style of grass trimmer. Weed eaters are also known as line trimmers, weed whackers, weed whips, string trimmers, garden trimmers and whipper snippers.

Purchasing Considerations for Lawn Mowers

The options for lawn mowers and weed eaters seem endless. American Lawns, an informative lawn website, recommends deciding what you need and want prior to shopping for a lawn mower. Options include motor-driven or reel mowers, riding or walk-behind, gas or electric, plug in or battery-powered and various features, including the size of the motor and comfort features. When purchasing a lawn mower, consider the size of the lawn, how many trees or obstacles it contains and how often mowing is required. Some homeowners enjoy the physical activity and other benefits of using a reel mower, but a reel mower requires increased use because it cannot cut more than 1/4 inch.

Purchase Considerations for Weed Eaters

Weed eaters are available in both gas-powered and electric models. Electric models are either rechargeable or plug into a power supply, eliminating emissions and offering reduced noise levels. Gas models operate anywhere and are often more powerful than electric models. Many larger trimmers come with straps that help hold the trimmer during operation. Consumer Reports recommends handling the various trimmers available in the store before choosing one in order to gauge the weight and balance of the trimmer. The smaller the gap between the trimmer and the grass-debris guard, the better the trimmer operates in tall grass.


When working with lawn mowers and weed eaters, always wear protective clothing, including gloves and safety goggles. Consumer Reports recommends ear protection with all weed eaters except cordless electric styles. Inspect the equipment to ensure it is in proper working condition prior to operation. If a problem occurs or a foreign object is struck by the equipment, turn off the equipment and inspect for damage.

Keywords: lawn mower information, weed eater information, mowers and trimmers

About this Author

Lillian Teague is a professional writer and editor with more than 10 years' experience in taking hard-to-understand subjects and making them easily understood. She's written thousands of articles for newspaper, periodicals and the Internet. Published work includes VA publications, MMS publications, USAF's The Mobility Forum,,, and many others.