My Evinrude Lawn-Boy

Evinrude Lawn-Boy mower

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7574 S. 74 St. Franklin, Wisconsin 53132

I was so elated to add an Evinrude Lawn-Boy mower to my collection. Research found that my mower had been built in 1937, which was the first year that the 4-cycle Iron Horse engine was used on these mowers. But let's backtrack to the story of Ole Evinrude's mower.

In 1908, Ole Evinrude invented the first (Evinrude) outboard motor, which would revolutionize the world of fishing and water recreation. Evinrude sold his company, then traveled for five years, while his wife recovered her health. In 1920 he was back in business after starting the Elto Outboard Motor Co. (for the first letters in Evinrude Light Twin

Outboard). In 1929, Elto combined with the original Evinrude Company and another firm from Michigan. The new company was called Outboard Motors Corp. and eventually became Outboard Marine Corp. This company survived the Depression.

Ole Evinrude had always looked for new products. In 1932 the company started producing powered lawn mowers. The name Lawn-Boy was given to the mower. From 1932 until 1936, these mowers were powered by a two-cycle engine, which drove the wheels and blade with a chain. There was a rope pulley for starting. The mower was unique in that it had only one handle, which had the ability to fold in half. 'One hand control' was advertised. At the end of the handle was a twist grip to engage the clutch.

In 1937, a much improved 4-cycle engine was used for the mower, called an Iron Horse. Now the mower had several improvements, one of which was a lever for starting the engine. There were now two models available. The basic Model 'S' cost $79.50; the deluxe Model 'D' cost $110.00. The Model 'D' had additional features. The reel clutch was operated by a lever that touched the ground when the mower was set down and stopped the reel from turning. On this model the cutting height could be adjusted by raising and lowering the wheels. This model did not need a roller as did the 'S.'

Options could be purchased for both mowers. A 'one-hand' grass catcher that could be unloaded out the back without stopping cost $8.50. A trimming roller was available for the 'D,' at a cost of $3.00. An auxiliary handle (T shaped) could be added to a socket in the swivel joint for pulling the mower back during trimming and cost $3.00. For large acreage, two regular style push mowers could be attached to the rear of the Lawn-Boy to increase the cutting width to 38 inches, turning the mower into a gang mower.

In 1939 the competition for Lawn-Boy must have become tougher. Jacobson introduced their Lawn Queen, which had the first engine created exclusively for a mower. Sears sold a lot of mowers, as did Moto-Mower and Eclipse.

Most of the Lawn-Boy sales were to estate owners and cemeteries. Factory letters from 1940 and 1941 to prospective dealers tell of their 30 percent discount to dealers. The list price had stayed the same. A 1940 purchase agreement form allowed the buyer to pay for his mower in six equal payments. These mowers were made until the start of World War II.

When I got my Model 'D' mower, I wanted to do a decent restoration before I exhibited it at the shows. The decal on the gas tank was all there, but was about to flake into pieces. I had a new three color water release decal made, exactly like the original. The mower, which was still in some of its original paint, was disassembled and the parts washed with a hot power wash. The wheels were sandblasted. The mower was then painted the original green color. The raised lettering on the wheels were painted orange, as original. A large orange dot was painted on each of the two grease cups and the top of the oil fill plug on the engine was painted orange. The engine was painted black, with a silver flywheel screen and exhaust pipe guard. The decal on the engine flywheel shroud had to be recreated also. This decal says 'Lawn-Boy' and tells the starting information and gas/oil requirements.

The results of the restoration can be seen in the photographs. Now my Evinrude Lawn-Boy can be seen at about 10 shows this season, in its original splendor.