Budding, Edwin Beard

Budding, Edwin Beard
b. c.1796 Bisley (?), Gloucestershire, England
d. 1846 Dursley, Gloucestershire, England
English inventor of the lawn mower.
Budding was an engineer who described himself as a mechanic on his first patent papers and as a manager in later applications.
A rotary machine had been developed at Brimscombe Mill in Stroud for cutting the pile on certain clothes and Budding saw the potential of this principle for a machine for cutting grass on lawns. It is not clear whether Budding worked for the Lewis family, who owned the mill, or whether he saw the machines during their manufacture at the Phoenix Foundry. At the age of 35 Budding entered into partnership with John Ferrabee, who had taken out a lease on Thrupp Mill. They reached an agreement in which Ferrabee would pay to obtain letter patent on the mower and would cover all the development costs, after which they would have an equal share in the profits. The agreement also allowed Ferrabee to license the manufacture of the machine and in 1832 he negotiated with the agricultural manufacturer Ransomes, allowing them to manufacture the mower.
Budding invented a screw-shifting spanner at a time when he might have been working as a mechanic at Thrupp Mill. He later rented a workshop in which he produced Pepperbox pistols. In the late 1830s he moved to Dursley, where he became Manager for Mr G.Lister, who made clothing machinery. Together they patented an improved method of making cylinders for carding engines, but Budding required police protection from those who saw their jobs threatened by the device. He made no fortune from his inventions and died at the age of 50.
Further Reading
H.A.Randall, 1965–6 "Some mid-Gloucestershire engineers and inventors", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 38:89–96 (looks at the careers of both Budding and Ferrabee).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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