How Did They Mow The Lawn In 1800s?

Last Updated on June 16th, 2023

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Machines, we’ve been told for decades, will take away our employment, leaving us all unemployed and hopeless.

However, the lawnmower shows what can happen when technology makes something that was once reserved for the privileged more accessible to the masses.

In just a few decades, elaborate lawns moved from being a status symbol of the wealthy to being expected of everyone in the suburbs. So naturally, lawnmowers are to blame for this phenomenon.

People have preferred lawns with short grass in the last few hundred years or so. However, getting the grass to a proper length initially required a lot of work, making it too expensive for most people to bother with.

Person mowing a lawn with tall grass - How Did They Mow The Lawn In 1800s?

What Tools Were Used?

The upkeep of a sizable lawn used to be somewhat expensive before the widespread availability of motorized lawn mowers. Lawns were often mown with a scythe or a pair of shears.

Do you have any idea how long it would take to mow your grass by hand? Hours of backbreaking labor would need to be put in instead of riding around on your sit-on mower. So it is not surprising that the popularity of residential lawns waned throughout this era.


How Long Did it Take to Mow Lawns?

Before the first push mower was invented in the 19th century, people had three major options for keeping their lawns looking tidy: sickles and scythes, grazing animals, or simply not caring about their lawns at all.

Cutting grass before lawn mowers were, to put it mildly, a laborious task, and that was only for those who were fortunate enough to have a garden, to begin with.

As mentioned before, it took hours to cut the lawn back in the 1800s as there were multiple hand tools to use and a fair amount of land to cover.


How Many People Did it?

Back in the 1800s, only the rich would have been able to afford land with the space for a lawn. But, of course, the rich wouldn’t get their hands dirty and spend all that time cutting the grass by hand. Instead, they would have slaves or servants to do all that for them.


How Often Was it Mowed?

During this time period, people would mow the grass whenever it became necessary to do so. It had to be trimmed since it had grown to be too long.

They did not want their lawns to appear messy because the majority of those who could afford to have lawns also had the means to maintain them.


How did the Ordinary People Do it?

Since the common people couldn’t afford to hire workers to take care of their lawns for them, they had no choice but to get their hands dirty and tend to the grass themselves.

They performed everything by hand and did it all by themselves; it took them the better part of the day. The instruments they used included shears and scythes.


Final Thoughts on Mowing Lawns in 1800s

Before the invention of the lawn mower, keeping up the appearance of a well-kept garden necessitated a large number of servants because of the amount of physical labor required.

Shears and scythes were crucial for lawn caretakers in maintaining a manageable grass length.

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