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Thread: Old push-reel mowers

  1. #1

    Old push-reel mowers

    Ok so generally I'm a freak about snappers. We all know that. But recently I've been reminded of the neat old push-reel mower my grandparents had that was the first mower I ever used. I wish I still had it. So I've been looking for them lately and found a couple. The one leaning against the fence by the tree I got last summer for $25. The one on the driveway I just picked up for free from a guy down the street today. I'm going to keep my eye out for these from now on...along with the snappers of course.



  2. #2

    Re: Old push-reel mowers

    Nice looking mowers you have there. Love the wooden handles. What brand are they? The old push reels are really neat. Like you, I remember there being one out in the garage, but as I kid I just didn't have the grunt to make it work. Still, I thought it was cool even then. I've gotten the bug to collect them too, and managed to find what I think are some really nice ones. Three Eclipse, a Jacobsen, a Toro, a Blair and an REO. One thing I really like about them...there's no carb to gum up.

  3. #3
    I'm not sure of their brand but I will take a closer look at them this weekend and see what I can find on them. I've heard of the REOs and seen some of their powered reel mowers. Given more room I'd like to pick up some of those too. Actually, the room can wait. If I see a good deal I'll pick it up and find room later.

  4. #4

    Re: Old push-reel mowers

    I'd only seen and heard of the motorized REOs before I saw this one at an auction. I bid a dollar and was the only person to bid! It's called a Michigan Noiseless, and they even mention them on the R.E.Olds transportation museum website. Lansing & Lawnmowers | R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

    I'd like to see more pictures that show off the details. They used to get pretty elaborate with them back in the day. Eclipse had three full time employees who did the pin stripping at one time. Unfortunately, this is all that's you'll find at the site of the original Eclipse factory. Some of the other buildings are still standing, but are used for other things now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snapperfreak View Post
    Actually, the room can wait. If I see a good deal I'll pick it up and find room later.

    That's pretty much what I tell the wife when I bring another mower of any kind home.

  5. #5

    Re: Old push-reel mowers

    Back in the day we had a machine that sharpened reel mowers. You removed the cutter bar and the wheels and put an edge acroos the reel blades first then put an edge across the cutter bar. We also used a wood lathe to make the wooden rollers. I still have a cast iron Great States reel mower that belonged to my Grandmother.

  6. #6
    Sure thing, I'll clean them up and get better pics up either tomorrow or the weekend.

    I wondered how these blades would be sharpened. There's a flea market and auction near me that's always open Friday Saturday and Sundays. Mostly crappy vendors but also lots of yard sales go on there, which is where the neat stuff always is. We like wandering around there sometimes and we need to go back soon and I will be on the lookout for more reels, powered or not.

  7. #7
    We'll neither of these have any identifying info that I can see on them. The only writing is on the handle of the bigger one, the one with the red lower brackets. It just says NEW FAVORITE on the handle. The cutting width on that one measures 15.5 inches. The smaller one has nothing on it. Its blades are 13.5 inches wide.





  8. #8

    Re: Old push-reel mowers

    They look to be in fantastic shape! Are there any patent numbers anywhere on them? Maybe you could do a google patent search and see if you could learn who made them.

  9. #9

    Re: Old push-reel mowers

    You guys got some good looking reel mowers! This is a Great States 17 inch 5 blade from the mid 1960's. It belonged to my Grandmother and was a basic homeowner model. It was greased and sharpened years ago then laid aside. I need to take it apart and clean and lube everything again. Still cut's great. All the pawls and springs are free. You want that good clickity clack sound from both wheels when you roll them backwards.

    Had to keep your yard raked to use a push reel. They worked best by forward and backward motion. They would give you a real workout! The grass can't be tall either. If you had a good flat yard and good grass, they couldn't be beat for that manicured look.

    The old timers kept all the wood treated with kerosene or linseed oil. Kinda of a trick to sharpen one of these and get it right. All the blades need to be square at same diameter and the cutter bar needs a good straight level surface.
    You can adjust the angle of the cutter bar but everything needs to straight. You can test the cut with two plies of notebook paper noticing how it cuts all the way across the cutter bar. It should cut it with no sweat and cut straight all the way across. But watch your fingers! Thanks!!!

  10. #10

    Re: Old push-reel mowers

    They do have a pretty neat sound as you use them, don't they.

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