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
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
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
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.