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Reel Mower Working Basics

Think lawn mowing, and what comes to your mind is the smoke, the noise and pebbles flying all over the place. Rewind to the days gone by when mowing used to be clean and quiet, all thanks to the reel mower. Here's more on this wonder machine.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
As a responsible earthling, your obvious motive is implementing measures that reduce your carbon footprint. While there are several things that we can do which contribute to the betterment of our planet, we hardly ever get down to actually doing it. Wondering how to get started? Why don't we begin by mowing our lawn using a contraption that is light, zippy, extremely safe and virtually pollution free? It's time to get retro and mow your lawn with a reel mower, just like they used to, in the good ol' days.
How Do Reel Mowers Work
Most of us today are so taken in by devices that are powered by batteries or fuel cells, that it is hard to imagine a machine without a motor which is simple and effective. Simplicity, in fact, was the basic principle used in manufacturing reel lawn mowers, way back in 1827, when Edwin Budding invented it in Gloucestershire, England. This humble invention later replaced the scythe, and was a huge relief to workers who used them extensively on playgrounds and large gardens. The present day gas mower was preceded by the steam-powered version, before which came the animal-driven mower.
The mechanism of a reel mower is pretty plain. There is a cylinder that has several curved blades, commonly known as helix blades. The sides of this cylinder are joined to the two wheels present on either sides. A vertical frame with handles at the opposite end is attached to these wheels. As the person pushes the handle, the wheels move, rotating the blades as well. There is a sharp bedknife which forms the base. Now, as the curved blades move, the grass gets caught between the blades and the bedknife, shearing the grass just like a scythe would. To put it in easier terms, the working of a reel lawn mower is akin to a pair of paper scissors. The reel mowers, these days, come along with an attached grass collector at the back, making it a mess-free job.
Reel Mowers Vs. Gas-powered Mowers
Our lives have been inundated with gadgets that provide convenience at our fingertips. It sure is hard to believe that in today's world, there exists an appliance which is environmentally friendly and rates high on the utility scale. Here are some points of distinction between the reel mower and the motorized version that will help you decide the one that covers your needs.

Features Reel Mower Gas-powered Mower
Runs on Human effort Gasoline/Electricity
Engine None Mostly four-stroke
Blades Vertical blades Horizontal blades
Weight 17 to 40 pounds Around 75 pounds
Efforts involved Human powered, is a good form of exercise Negligible efforts required
Pollution None Air and noise pollution in tremendous amounts
Risks in usage Sharp blades can be dangerous Fly-away pebbles may cause serious accidents
Effective on Short grass and weeds Tall grass, weeds and vines
Style of cutting Snips the tip, makes clean cuts Tears grass, leaves ragged ends
Suitable for Home lawns, smaller areas Large lawns, playing fields

Reel Mowers and the Environment
All technicalities apart, a reel mower is a gem of a device that will help you reduce your carbon footprint. As the world seems to have developed a collective penchant for all things green, these reel mower fundamentals focus on its environmental impact.
♦No motor equals no noise, so while you get to boast about your contribution towards reducing noise pollution, your neighbors are sure to appreciate your mower's silence.
♦You can now forget inhaling all the stomach-churning fumes that are spewed by a fuel-powered mower. Yes, lawn mowing can indeed be a pleasure.
♦Reel mowers do away with three of the most annoying things about motorized mowers: batteries that need frequent changing, dirty spark plugs, and starter cords that yank your arm off.
♦Although it is true that modern motorized mowers do not consume as much fuel, what's the harm in using a mower that relies entirely on human effort? Plus, it's a sin to ignore the benefits of exercise it gives you.
Lawn mowing is a chore that can dull the spirits of most garden enthusiasts. The noise and the fumes associated with it make it an extremely appalling task, to say the least. These are the obvious reasons why the good old reel mower has made its 'silent' comeback. All you would need to do is follow a few lawn mower maintenance tips and get started. After all, isn't it a pleasure when you don't wake up to the dreadful din made by your neighbor's mower on a weekend?