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!