Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Fangled Lawn Mowers

C.B. Perkins Hardware & Company 1950 -- Three men and a lady are standing outside a house, each with a lawn mower.  There is also some lawn equipment called the Tornado 700.  No note on who these people are, but they may be employees of C.B. Perkins Hardware, and they may be doing some kind of ad. The date is 2/21/1950. -- LLF Library caption.

At first, I was puzzling over the faces, trying to figure out who these people may be, then I noticed the lawn equipment and found myself giggling at the designs. 

What the Tornado 700 intended purpose was is anyone's guess. 

A check of the history shows that up until the 1950s, reel mowers were the standard, but with the advent of new grass seeds and pride of homeownership growing in the prosperous, let's move-to-the-suburbs, post-WWII years, power mowers hit the market and were received with great enthusiasm.  

Their overall safety, however, was lacking, and many people lost fingers, toes or suffered any number of injuries walking behind these early contraptions.  

I can recall my father's best friend, Curtis Smith, showing us his "war wound" caused by a finger-sized piece of metal hidden in the grass in the late 1950s.  Without warning, the piece of iron was hurled backwards at bullet speed, lodging next to his shin.  A trip to the emergency room was in order, and he was hobbled for weeks.

The dangers did little to curtail demand for these conveniences.  According to a report by CBS, in 1946, 140,000 lawnmowers were sold in the United States.  But just five years later, that number rose to 1.2 million.  By 1958, 4.2 million mowers could be found in garages and storage sheds across the U.S.

C.B. Perkins Hardware was obviously all over the next big thing.

As always, if anyone recognizes these folks, please leave a comment here or on my FB page. 

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