LAWN CARE: Mowing with The Reel Thing

Mowing with The Reel Thing

For Dagwood Bumstead types, the old-fashioned manual lawn mower was a suburban symbol of dread. Among modern-day gentry who want to get a little exercise and avoid fouling the neighborhood with noise and exhaust pollution, however, the motorless mower is making a quiet comeback. Sales of reel mowers by the American Lawn Mower Co. of Shelbyville, Ind., reached 100,000 last year, a 47% increase over 1986. Average price: less than $100, in contrast to $250 or more for motorized models.

Today's manual mowers typically weigh about 20 lbs., less than half their clunky progenitors, thanks to lightweight alloy blades and polymer...

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