Who was the first commercial walk-behind?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rnbinmemphis, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. rnbinmemphis

    rnbinmemphis LawnSite Member
    from Memphis
    Posts: 4

    I currently have an Exmark Lazer but due to some commercial property with fairly steep slopes that I am taking over July 1, I am on a quest for a walk-behind. I went to visit the Scag dealer who said that Scag was the first walk-behind made and everyone copied him. Im not sure if I should believe him or not just because I had a gut feeling on how the sales guy was overall and not just because of his statement. Also, if wondering I am looking at Exmark too but am searching around simply because the service from my current dealer is less than desireable.
     
  2. chuckers

    chuckers LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 657

    my grandpa has a 1986 scag so i would say scag is the first
     
  3. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    The Gravely walk-behind tractor was way before that. Many sizes of decks out there, and with steering brakes, it was as close to zero turn as you could get for many years. Put the dual wheel kit on it, and it'll eat up hills.
    I have a couple of 30 " decks, a 36, a 52, a 4 and a 5 foot sickle bar...snow plow...I could go on.
    Crawdad
     
  4. mkwl

    mkwl LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,701

    My father in law has a 1980 Ransomes/ Bob-Cat commercial mower so I would say they are the first.
     
  5. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    Commercial w/b (36/larger) = Bunton.
     
  6. JPLAWNSERVICE

    JPLAWNSERVICE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 101

    I agree with crawdad on this one. It is definitely gravely. I think those things have been around since the 50's or 60's. It was pretty much like a walkbehind but with a lot of other attachments. They weren't a true zero turn like a hydro, but they did turn like a belt drive.
     
  7. rnbinmemphis

    rnbinmemphis LawnSite Member
    from Memphis
    Posts: 4

    Ok, this has been bothering me so I made a few calls to a couple of people that would know. I was told that the first commercial walk-behind as we know the style today, regardless of hydro of not, was Bunton in 1954 who went to market with a 24" belt-drive walkbehind. As far as gravely, they didn't get into the ones mentioned with the different attachments until early-mid 60's. Until then, they mostly focused on tractors and motorized plows. Based on Scags website (which I don't know why I didn't look earlier) they started in 1983. Exmark's website says they started in 1982.
     
  8. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,177

    Locke reel mowers. Started in 1925, first year of production 1928. The worlds first zero turn, self propelled walk behind. I have several of them, Mostly 1960's models. Seems like almost every estate or school had one at some point. I find them every where.

    Then bunton.

    Here is a picture of a 1929 model 70" wide triplex.
     
  9. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,177

    Ok I am going to try this again.

    1929-triplexresize.gif
     
  10. Martino

    Martino LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,772

    Scag had the first hydro walk. Gravely has been around a long time, but were always marketed as two wheel tractors, not commercial walk mowers.

    If memory serves, F.D. Kees developed the first commercial, wide area mower in the mid 1970's in Beatrice, Nebraska.
     

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