It's hard to believe that the first lawn mowers were designed in the 1830s in England. The mower, patented by Edwin Board Budding, had curved blades in a cutting cylinder that is still the basic idea of a mower.
The earliest mowers were made of wrought iron and were either pushed with a long handle or pulled from the front by a horse. Even then, as now, it was best to cut the grass when it was dry to avoid ruts or footprints from the horse. Although later inventors tried making lawn mowers with three wheels or rollers and different types of blades, almost every one can be easily identified today as a mower.
Lawn mowers that date back to the 1800s are rare today and sell for thousands of dollars if in good condition. Mowers from the first quarter of the 20th century are usually worth hundreds of dollars. Motorized mowers were first made in the 1890s, and smaller, lightweight mowers became common by the 1920s. Electric motors were first used in the 1920s. Mowers with plastic parts were made after the 1960s and have little value.
A Bleeding Heart vase
Q: My aunt gave me a 6-inch Roseville cornucopia vase she had received as a wedding present more than 55 years ago. I haven't been able to identify the pattern. There are large, three-pointed leaves near the top of the vase, with tiny, pink, heart-shaped flowers drooping down below the leaves. The vase's rim is sculpted into six points. The raised mark on the bottom reads, "Roseville U.S.A. 141-6." Can you help?
A: The pattern of your Roseville vase is called "Bleeding Heart." The pattern is named after the flower on the vase. It was introduced by Roseville in 1940 and was made in many shapes. The "141" in the mark is the shape number, and "6" is the size. Your vase would sell for $125 to $150.
A carpeting lesson
Q: I recently toured a house built in the 1850s. It is a museum now. I was surprised to see patterned wall-to-wall carpeting in the parlor, dining room and largest bedroom.
A: Wall-to-wall carpeting was used in some of the finest American homes as early as the late 1700s. Until the mid-1800s, most of these carpets were imported from England. They were either Brussels carpets, with a loop pile, or Wilton carpets, with a more expensive cut pile.