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Old 02-04-2009, 09:02 AM   post #1 of 24
Wizard99
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Default Snapping turtle mower

Not sure if attorney Barnabas Collins has ever brought this to the forum or not. but while I was over at his place he showed me a very old snapping turtle mower with an actual steel turtle head mounted in the deck. Anyone else seen these. Was that the beginning of the snapper company, maybe when he gets out of bed he will take some pictures, unless he has already done so and posted elswhere.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:18 AM   post #2 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

And for your info;I was told folks would place a rope around that head,walk out aways and drive a stake in the ground,fire that boy up and it would cut in a circle winding up on the stake(they were self-prop.)and you could sit back have a drink and watch it cut your grass!!
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:20 AM   post #3 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

Actually it is an aluminum head I think.

Someone posted one running on ebay now with a BIN of $350 and a Briggs 5s which he says may not be original. I'd say not since i doubt a 1.5hp engine could even move it.

Mine has a Wisconsin that I'm sure is original, It looks to have been weathered since the 50's right along with the mower. I'm just posting the photos of that much nicer mower to show onw complete and having the teeth I was telling you mine was missing.
I would love to get this one going with one of my other wisconsins and drive it around the fairgrounds with a sulky. (no blade of course)

I was glad to see this ebay one because I knew they were green, but never saw a color photo of the shade.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:30 AM   post #4 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

Here's a brief history somebody wrote:

Incorporated as Southern Saw Works on November 1, 1894, by then owner Isaac Boyd, the
company made circular saws for the growing Georgia lumber industry. For almost 60 years, as
lumber prospered, so did Southern Saw.
But by 1949, saw making was an industry in decline. William R. Smith, who then owned
Southern Saw, watched as green lawns replaced towering pines. Smith, seeing opportunity,
made an insightful decision to enter the lawn mower industry. He purchased the patents of
"Snappin' Turtle" mowers, one of the first rotary mowers, then being built in Florida. Actual
Georgia production began in East Point in January 1951, when 16 of the unique mowers were
shipped. By the end of 1951, a total of 3,975 mowers were manufactured and delivered
throughout the United States. Several of these first mowers are on display at the Smithsonian
Institute in Washington, DC, and the Atlanta History Museum.
In the early 1950s, lawn mowers were a "growing" business. Although the first mowers were
English-made push reel mowers, Americans took the design one step further adding newly
developed small engines to reel mowers. During the 1950s and 1960s, as lawn sizes grew from
the postage lots in the city to the half-acre or more lots of the suburbs, homeowners were
spending more of their recreation time mowing grass. Power reel mowers, though widely
available, were expensive, heavy and awkward to handle. Their open reel made safety a
continuing concern.
On January 16, 1951, Snapper introduced its "Snappin' Turtle," the first self-propelled rotary
mower. Its smaller, lighter engine and safe, covered blade revolutionized the industry. A lower,
more compact body made with new, less expensive yet stronger materials brought the price to a
reasonable level. The rotary mower became as common as a garden spade.
As the mower business grew, the saw business waned. Soon, lawnmower manufacturing
replaced saw production in the plant. Even so, by 1954 the East Point plant could grow no
further. The decision was made to merge Southern Saw Works and the McDonough Foundry
& Machine Works and move the entire operation to McDonough in Henry County.
McDonough Foundry & Machine Works, a supplier to Southern Saw, was organized in 1946
to produce iron castings and textile machinery. The merger of the two manufacturers created a
new company known as McDonough Power Equipment.
Snapper mowers were leading a new revolution in lawn care equipment, and McDonough
Power was growing with this revolution. Innovations in power mowers and accessories, many
designed by Snapper, fueled the growth of rotary mowers and McDonough Power's line of
consumer products. In fact, Snapper owns 44 patents for innovations in safety, deck design and
transmissions.
As lawns got bigger and leisure time got shorter, even self-propelled walk behind mowers
couldn't cut it fast enough. So Snapper engineers designed and produced one of its most lauded
innovations, the Snapper rear engine-riding mower.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:31 AM   post #5 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

speaking of green I think I am going to paint the old 990 Izard Hunter green and rename it Lizard. unless someone can tell me where to come up with the old Western Auto Decals. speaking of fairgrounds I think I am going to run an ad in our loacl paper mentioning MTF and try to get some people together to ride in our local / area parades this year. I always see the big antiques but never the small ones.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:52 AM   post #6 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

That is one of the most unusual mowers I have ever seen....
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:47 AM   post #7 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

I have two of them...
Number one...

Number two...
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:31 AM   post #8 of 24
attorney_barnabas_collins
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

Awww. Everybody ELSE has teeth.

Apparently they put about any engine they had handy on them. Wisconsin, Clinton, and Briggs.
I think Clintons may be the most common.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:44 PM   post #9 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

Thats neat, have you guys ever actually used them to mow?
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:49 PM   post #10 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

http://www.mytractorforum.com/showth...ht=ninga+mower
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:31 PM   post #11 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

That snapper is just too cool!
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:24 PM   post #12 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

Hello! I'm new subscriber and found this forum by googling "snapping turtle mowers". I was telling the guys at work about this horse of a mower we had when i was a teenager. Tried to describe the sort of upside down bathtub design, the skid in place of the front wheels, the drive wheels across the rear under the deck, turtle head on the nose etc. They were common in South Florida where I grew up. Back then the school custodians cut the grass at schools and these were what they used. Every one, including ours, I ever saw had a Wisconsin engine on it. Let me tell ya it was a cutting machine. It would cut 1" saplings and chew them up like nothing I ever saw for its size. Ours was probably a 24" cut. I don't remember. I cut an acre of grass once a week for probably ten years. It had a sulkey you could ride and was a lifesaver for me. If I had alot of grass to cut even today, I'd restore it and use it. It was quite the machine. There was another mower indignous to South Florida called a "Moz-All" I doubt they'd get past the Ralph Nader crowd these days. Ever heard of them?
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:41 PM   post #13 of 24
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Couple other things I remembered, by pulling up in the drive lever past its detent, it would go into reverse. You had to be careful and ease it back because if you just yanked back on the handle, it would change direction instantly and just about run over you. Also, they must have made a smaller version like the green one in the pictures. Ours was the larger one and had a double belt drive on the mowers blade (quill?). Also, a briggs engine like the one shown would NEVER have the guts to run that mower.
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:50 PM   post #14 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

My snapper heads are made of cast iron....
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:53 PM   post #15 of 24
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Default Re: Snapping turtle mower

Man Kevin what don't you have?
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