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We’ve come a long way since the earliest days of mowing with scythes.

In 1830, Edwin Budding developed the first mowing machine. Budding got the idea of the lawnmower after seeing a machine in a local cloth mill, which used a cutting cylinder (or bladed reel) mounted on a bench to trim the irregular nap from the surface of woolen cloth and give a smooth finish. By 1858, more than 7,000 machines had been sold.

Since then, we’ve seen the push lawnmower transform into larger, ride-on lawn tractors that can cut much more grass at greater speeds, and mowers driven by everything from solar and electric power to robotic mowers. And, many don’t realize that mowers are regulated consumer products and are, in fact, 90 percent cleaner than just 20 years ago.

OPEI’s members have a long history of innovating to meet the lifestyle needs of consumers. Today’s outdoor power equipment have become quieter, lighter, cleaner and more feature rich, adapting to evolving consumer preferences and demographic changes.

The mower is just one example of member innovation.

Here are just some of the other innovations that our industry is proud of:

Chain Saw: Andreas Stihl designed and hand built the first chain saw back in 1926. The saw was electric powered, and weighed in at 140 pounds.

Agriculture:  In 1837 John Deere fashioned a polished-steel plow in his Grand Detour, Illinois, blacksmith shop that let pioneer farmers cut clean furrows through sticky Midwest prairie soil.  This invention led to great advances in food production with farm tractors and other equipment.

Snow Throwers: Since the first patent was issued in 1884, snow throwers have evolved into machines that rescue many a homeowner blanketed with heavy, deep snow.  Our members have designed single stage, two stage and now electric snow throwers that meet the needs of those needing lighter weight machines, or machines that can clear snow more quickly.

Our members are innovating all the time.   The best place to see what new lawn, landscape and agriculture products are coming on the market is at the industry’s largest trade show, GIE+EXPO.