The first lawnmowers were intended for use on country estates and pleasure gardens, where grass was kept trim either by grazing animals or by gangs of labourers (mowers) who used long-bladed scythes.
Edwin Beard Budding of Stroud, Gloucestershire, invented the mechanical lawnmower after seeing a carding machine in operation at a local cloth mill. This employed a bladed cylinder that trimmed the nap (fuzz) on woollen cloth. He simply applied the same principle to trimming grass.
Budding’s lawnmower consisted of a large roller that, through gear wheels, pushed a cutting cylinder that cuts the grass. With John Ferrabe, who owned the Phoenix Iron Works, he patented it in 1830 and built several wrought-iron and cast-iron prototypes. In 1832, J R and A Ransomes of Ipswich made a viable version under licence from Budding. By 1840, they had sold 1,000 mowers.