For the ancients, the summer solstice was a day of mystery and contemplation.
For homeowners, it’s a day where you have the one thing you want most in the world: a little extra time to finish mowing the lawn.
Maybe I wouldn’t need the extra mower time if I had a super-fast lawn mower.
And that’s actually a thing!
Earlier this month a prototype mower in Germany set a new world record by going from zero to 100 miles an hour in 6.29 seconds, while still cutting grass!
Not bad for an invention that’s not even quite 200 years old yet.
Before then, lawns were a luxury, available only to people wealthy enough to hire someone to chip away at the grass with a scythe. A hard job.
Edwin Budding, a textile mill mechanic in the UK, developed a lawn mowing device in 1830 that worked the same way as carpet cutting machines.
The invention meant anyone with land could have a lawn.
And, as Americans moved more and more toward houses in suburbs, especially in the years after World War II, the lawn became more and more a part of our concept of what home means.
Sales of lawn mowers took off.
But as ubiquitous as the lawn has become in the era of the lawn mower, it hasn’t fully shaken off its aristocratic roots.
Visit the British Lawnmower Museum in the English town of Southport, and you can see the exhibit called “Lawnmowers of the Rich and Famous,” including mowers and garden implements belonging to all sorts of notables, from Princess Diana to Queen guitarist Brian May.
Or, instead of heading outside to cut the grass, head to New York City.
Tomorrow it’s hosting the grand finale of this year’s Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest.
Yes, there is an annual contest in which participants try to create the best wedding dress and headpiece with nothing more than needle and thread, tape, glue and bathroom tissue.
There’s a $10,000 prize for the winner; here’s hoping nobody tears down the runway in their toilet paper dresses.
The History Of The American Lawnmower (CBS News)
A Brief History of the Lawnmower (Popular Mechanics)