Edwin Budding was born late in 1795, the illegitimate son of a farmer. He began to work for a carpenter, but moved into the iron foundries, and became a freelance engineer because he was good at solving engineering problems. Between 1825 and 1830 he developed a pistol that was allegedly better than Sam Colt’s revolver of 1835. In 1843 he improved the carding machine, with the help of George Lister.
He designed new types of spanner and lathe. But his great triumph was the mowing machine, which he invented in 1830.
He was working at the time in Brimscombe Mill where a rotary cutter was used to trim the nap from woollen cloth. The idea came to him that a similar machine could be built to cut the nap off lawns. The first machine produced was 19 inches in width with a frame made of wrought iron. The mower was pushed from behind with motive power coming from the rear land roller which drove gears to transfer the drive to the knives on the cutting cylinder, the ratio was 16:1.
There was another roller placed in between the cutting cylinder and the land roller which was adjustable to alter the height of cut. On cutting, the grass clippings were hurled forward into a tray like box. It was soon realized, however, that an extra handle was needed in front of the machine which could be used to help pull it along. Two of the earliest Budding machines sold went to Regent’s Park Zoological Gardens in London and the Oxford Colleges.
In an agreement between John Ferrabee and Edwin Budding, dated 18 May 1830, Ferrabee paid the costs of development, obtained letters of patent on 31 August 1830 and acquired rights to manufacture, sell and license other manufacturers in the production of lawn mowers.
Examples of the early Budding type mowers can be seen in Stroud Museum, the London Science Museum and at Milton Keynes Museum.
According to en.wikipedia and Inventricity (Local Heroes)