Edwin Beard Budding

Edwin Beard Budding was the son of a yeoman farmer born in Stroud, Gloucester in 1795. In his early days he worked in the local iron foundries and began making patterns.

He quickly displayed a talent for engineering, overcoming problems with the machinery and creating his own inventions. Improvements he made to the carding machine, a machine used for trimming the fibres in the nap of fabric, remain the most advanced for this type of machine to this day. And it was to be this machine that would provide the inspiration for Buddings most famous invention, the lawn mower.

In 1830 he created an adjustable frame that could be pushed along, cut varying lengths of grass and had a box to collect the clippings. The commercial value of the simple yet inspired concept must have apparent and so he went into partnership with John Ferrabee. Ferrabee owned the Phoenix Iron Works in Thrupp, Stroud, and he supplied the financial weight necessary to attain the patents and begin producing en masse the now commonplace lawnmower.

Some also credit budding with the invention of the adjustable spanner, though this is debated. Certainly he created a very successful solution to a common problem of the day. Budding himself had encountered difficulties with spanners that pre-dated his invention, in which the spanner was adjusted and then wedged into place, creating problems when the wedge came loose.

Once again he displayed an innate capacity for inspired simplicity with the unfussy addition of a screw which was used to hold the wedge in place. It is said that necessity is the mother of all invention, an inventors creed that Edwin Beard Budding personified. He died in Stroud in 1846 at the age of 51.



People at the cutting edge: lawnmower designers – Parks and Gardens UK

Edwin Beard Budding