Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Summer Chore

There are several things to notice in this photograph. Remember those old push lawn mowers? Sometimes they pushed more easily than other times but they always took plenty of effort to get the job done. The look of determination on my sister's face suggests to me that someone may have told her she couldn't mow or wasn't strong enough to push the mower. With her Doyle stubbornness (inherent in all of us siblings) she proved them wrong (though she may have pushed the mower only a short distance). I'm surprised my extremely careful mother let her mow in bare feet. That was an accident waiting to happen!

Notice the building with two doors behind and to her right. Outhouses. My parents owned a duplex and at the time this photo was taken there were not yet indoor bathrooms. There was running water in the kitchens and in the basements for the laundry, but there were no bathrooms.

The buildings lean because the photo was taken at an angle but the buildings did, in fact, lean -- just not that much. Dad eventually tore them down after he installed bathrooms.

Remember deckle borders on paper photographs? They went into, out of, and back into fashion. They seem decorative, almost formal, to me and so present a contract with this very work-a-day image.

As I was writing about the photo above I remembered another photo with a lawnmower -- the one to the right. It's not the clearest photo but if you look at the man standing on the far left you can see that his hand is on a mower. It seems unusual for him to have a mower out during a family gathering. I don't notice anyone else prepared to work.

I was surprised to see a lawnmower in a photo taken in the early 1900s. I had no idea when they were invented by I guessed it was in the early-mid 1900s. In fact, they weren't all that new in 1900. The Old Lawnmower Club tells me that they were invented in 1830! It took a few years for them to evolve into the form we see in these two photos. And aren't we glad they continued to evolve, with gasoline or electric power! I'm thankful for power mowers but with this summer's heat and dryness there hasn't been much need to mow the grass.

This is a post for Sepia Saturday. Work you way over and check the links for old photos others are sharing this week.


  1. I enjoyed your post and photos. Is that your family in the second photo? What a lovely house. It seems very extravagant for the early 1900s. Well by Australian standards anyway :)

  2. Oh, those push mowers could be hard work. I've just bought a petrol powered mower for our daughter, but this summer there have been too few dry days for cutting far.

  3. It's interesting that the mower is in the 2nd pic given that it appears so formal.

  4. Two great photos of lawn-mowers. I never pushed the old-style mower, and rarely push a modern one either, thank goodness. I really like the 2nd photo a lot because everyone is aware of being photographed, but indeed it is funny that the one guy has a lawn-mower. Except for that, it seems like a party.

  5. As a boy it was my job to cut the lawns with push mover just like that. We have had the wettest April-June ever in England this year. Neither a push mower nor any other kind was any use to me when I came back from holiday, I had to use a strimmer to clear 7 sacks of grass off the lawns before the mower could be used.
    There is so much detail in your second photo I could study it for ages.

  6. Maybe your Dad took the picture, lol, thinking that was the best way to get a kid to work ... tell them that the chore was too hard for them!

    Great pictures. My Mom used a pushmower for years; she just liked it better and enjoyed the extra bit of exercise.

    Kathy M.

  7. Welcome back Nancy and congratulations on the birth of new grandson. These are lovely photos and probably link to the photo prompt more than you thought, after all just think of all the mowing they have to do at Wimbledon

  8. I have a feeling your sister was just posing, not mowing. Your dad wouldn't have let her mow barefooted.

    That second photo is wonderful. Love the little girl sitting with the dog.

  9. You have a way of making the ordinary seem extraordinary! Great post!

  10. I think I must have tried to push one of those once, because I remember it was hard.

  11. Awesome photos! Yep, your sister really looks determined all right!

    I love the photo of the group too.

  12. So funny, when I was first married that is the mower I had! For a few years too! When I grew up we even had a better power mower...I loved to mow as a child and still am the mower in this family today! I should start a LawnMower club!

  13. Such intense concentration on her face.

    And a really good photo.

    Dee at Shakin' the Family Tree

  14. So funny to see this - my husband I were just talking about push mowers the other day. He was threatening to fire our lawn service and buy a push mower for me to use and get exercise. Well, I'll just leave it up to your imagination what my reply was!


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...