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    February 2023
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    Surprising Scottish Inventions

    Would you be surprised if I told you that the lawn mower was a Scotttish invention?

    I was! Even though I knew that Scottish ingenuity is source of numerous inventions.

    Lawns were first kept clean and tidy by having animals graze on the grass, or by the use of scythe, sickle, or shears to hand-cut the grass lawns. But that changed when Alexander Shanks, born in 1801 in Arbroath (Angus) created a machine that was to become the predecessor of the modern mower; its particularity was that it also rolled the grass. 🙂

    Lawn Mower Scottish Inventions

    Alexander Shanks Industrial Plant

    He died at the young age of 44. Fortunately, his son, James, presented the mower at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and this event leaded to a successful business that continued for decades.

    Their mowers went on to cut the tennis courts at Wimbledon, the cricket grounds at Lords and the Old Course at St Andrews. [Wikipedia]

    As it happens quite frequently with inventions, they are credited to more than one inventors.

    In this case you may see credit given to the Englishman Edwin Budding (1795-1846) but nevertheless, on the website of the Australian Museum of Applied Arts & Science‘s we can admire one of Alexander Shanks & Sons Ltd’s ‘Ivanhoe’ roller push lawn mower in timber-steel.

    I was curious to see if any postal administrations would have issued postage stamps to commemorate lawn mowers. Scotland does not produce their own stamps, and since 1958 they have regional stamp issues, but they are part of the Great Britain Royal Mail program. Did not find any on the topic, so  I decided to investigate other countries of the world.

    Here’s what I found. 🙂

    Lawn Mowers on Stamps

    lawn mowers on postage stamps

    Bophutatswana (1985)

    Industries issue

    lawn mowers on postage stamps finlands_finland

    Finland (2016)

    Finland’s postal service will be doing more than just delivering letters and parcels this summer – its workers will be mowing lawns, too.


    lawn mowers on postage stamps new zealand

    New Zealand (1999)

    Nostalgia – The Millennium Series


    lawn mower kiwi postage stamps new zealand 2009

    New Zealand (2009)

    The Kiwi stamps issue.

    The push lawn mower, now mostly replaced with motorised lawn mowers, but some are still kept for use at the holiday batch. No petrol needed, just take it out and push.


    Lawn mowers on postage stamps australia

    Australia Post (2009)

    Inventive Australia Issue


    Lawn mowers on postage stamps Australia V Stamp Fair

    Australia Post (2016)

    Fair Dinkum Aussie Alphabet stamp series

    This series depicts some home-grown words, icons and locations for each letter of the alphabet. According to the Stamp Bulletin no. 339 : the V on the stamp for Victoria, Victa, vegemite, vegetables, violin.

    Well, well well…who would have expected postage stamps depicting lawn mowers? I am happy to contribute to this topical stamps checklist!

    I you know of other postage stamps or related philatelic material on lawn mowers, kindly share in the comments below. I will update this article for the benefit of all readers. 🙂

    stampy stamp collecting mascotUntil next, all the very best.



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