I brought up a discussion topic in the Facebook group Antique Iron Mafia not long ago. We were debating smaller tractors. Are they deemed tractors or lawn and garden tractors?
Many different ideas were presented. Row crop tractors can be used to mow, but lawn tractors can’t necessarily be used in a row crop application. That’s a good point, so where is the line drawn?
Many manufacturing brands have built lessor horse power tractors in a smaller stature since the 40s. Older farms didn’t till as many acres as modern operations do now. 160 acres would seem pretty daunting to cover with a two or three bottom plow though. So why a 12 to 18 horse power one bottom capability?
Simply, lawn & garden tractors are two different types of tractors! There is lawn tractors and then there are garden tractors. Sure there are more modern units classified as both all in one. The garden tractor has been a part of our heritage far longer though.
Garden tractors came in demand during and after WW2. They were built to work BIG gardens. Their popularity made working the bigger plots far easier. Garden tractors tend to have a row crop capable stature. Farmall may have built a Cub, but it was a bear of a worker. There were many tillage tools available for the handy machine. Allis Chalmers built a rear engine model that had the implements right at the operator’s feet
Lawn tractors came in to popularity in the early 60s. This type of machine had a more urban focus as the yards grew bigger. There were late 50s model lawn tractors built by companies like Bolens, Wheel Horse, and Simplicity, but these companies were building garden tractors before then. Making a mowing attachment available was easy.
IH starting building their Cub Cadet in 1961. John Deere wasn’t to far behind making a lawn tractor available. Colt Manufacturing built a lawn tractor in the early 60s until Case bought the company in 1965. Its interesting to note how all the major tractor brands had lawn tractors built branded in their names. Many of the L&G models imitate the larger tractors looks.
Just like in the Blues Brothers movie. We have both kinds here… lawn and garden!