An African American inventor from Maryland named John Albert Burr filed a patent application in May 1899 for a cutting-edge invention that is being utilized in lawn mowers today. Although he did not create the first lawn mower, he did build one with traction wheels and rotary blades that were resistant to weeds and grass clogging. Additionally, he significantly enhanced the lawn mower’s design, enabling closer mowing to building and wall margins.
John Albert Burr had a total of more than 30 agricultural and lawn care patents in the United States. His legacy can even be seen in the mulching power lawn mowers of today.
He was born in 1848 while his parents were slaves; nevertheless, they were eventually freed at the emancipation. John spent his teenage years as a slave laboring in the fields. His mechanical prowess was eventually discovered after independence by rich Black campaigners, who gave him the chance to enroll in engineering courses at a private university.
Burr began to recognize the chance to put his mechanical abilities to use while he was still in school, and he began to earn a career by fixing and maintaining farm machinery and other machines.
Later, he relocated to Chicago, where he also worked as a steelworker. In 1898, he applied for his first invention for the rotary mower. His patent was authorized by the US Patent and Trademark Office just a year later, in 1899.
John Albert Burr was able to witness the commercial success of his innovations in the early 1920s and also collected many royalties for them. He loved to travel and give lectures until passing away from the flu in 1926 at the age of 78.