My Son's Eclipse Riding Ranger

Michael J. Muich, Jr.
February/March 1993
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195 Zion Road Newburg, Pennsylvania 17240

I have been taking my son, Matthew, to tractor and engine meets ever since he was three. He is now seven. Until a year and a half ago, he was happy riding his John Deere pedal tractor pulling the wagon behind him.

When he decided he did not want to ride his 'baby' pedal tractor, as he called it, anymore, I didn't want him to lose interest, so I told him I would set aside some money to purchase an old riding lawn mower. He is too young to operate a tractor.

Well, this summer we got lucky. While driving by the home of a friend, I saw the man working on an old riding mower. I asked him if it was for sale, and he said yes. After some haggling, I was able to purchase the riding mower for close to the amount my son and I had set aside.

My friend told me that the mower had been in his family since new. It was purchased in the Hummelstown, Pennsylvania area, and came with the owner and operators manuals. The riding mower is a 1959 Eclipse Riding Rotary Ranger Model #14. It has a 5.25 HP cast iron Briggs and Stratton engine. The paint is original, although not perfect. The mower is manufactured by the Eclipse Lawn Mower Company of Prophetstown, Illinois.

The Riding Ranger runs fine, but the rear steering, with the smaller rear wheels and the bicycle type handle bar steering, leaves much to be desired. In fact, if your lawn is a little hilly in places and has a few ruts here and there, the rear wheels will not follow the larger front wheels at all. I conclude that this was the eventual downfall of the machine, reducing the Eclipse to a car-pulling-only tractor. This is why, I believe, the Rotary rider is in its original condition.

My son now takes his Eclipse mower to all shows in the northern Maryland and south central Pennsylvania region. Matthew is very proud of his Eclipse, as he calls it, and frequently parks it close to the Frick Eclipse steam engines. My son enters his mower in all the parades and the pride shows.

Enough for now. My son and I hope to see all of our friends at the tractor and engine shows in 1993. God Bless!

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