Rainbow of Antique Mowers

Michigan couple’s antique mower collection paints a rainbow.

| April 2014

When it comes to antique mowers and garden tractors, Dennis Merlau knows what he likes. Red ones. Green ones. White ones. Orange. Blue. You get the picture.

“We like color,” he says, describing one aspect of the hobby he and his wife, Deb, share. “We would not want a line-up of just one color. We very much appreciate those who do that, as they are the ones to go to if you need answers on their line of equipment.”

The couple’s rainbow philosophy supports the other hallmark of their collection. “I love color and I love stuff that’s different,” Dennis says. “If it looks old and mechanical, I’m interested. I like funky.”

An early enthusiast

Collector interest in lawn and garden tractors is at an all-time high today. Small units are easy to store and haul, they’re affordable and they’re family friendly. “Little kids love this stuff,” Dennis says. “Going to a show with Grandpa is not something to be dreaded.”

Dennis got an early start in the hobby. While mowing his grandmother’s lawn when he was about 10, he decided her mower needed some work. “I remember her coming out of the house after it got quiet, when there should have been mower noise, to find me with her mower all apart, ‘fixing it.’ I’m sure as she walked back in the house, in her mind she knew she would have to get it repaired or buy a new one,” he says. “But in a short matter of time I was back to mowing with it. She was surprised and pleased, and I was just pleased.”

After that there was no looking back. Dennis took a job right out of high school working on lawn and garden equipment at a John Deere dealership. “I learned about the large tractors and equipment as well,” he says, “but my favorite equipment was and is the small things.”

Jay Jetz
2/19/2018 9:21:10 PM

Hello Dennis and Deb -- So glad I stumbled upon your X`llent website. I too, suffer the same illness...a love for, an addiction to, the old timer gas powered machines. I have amassed quite the stable of vintage compact tractors; a slew of Sears Suburbans (SS12, SS14, ST16, SS16), `60's Jacobsen Chief 1000 [2 of], a 1964 Cub Cadet 100, and a beautiful Ford LGT14. All are complete original, some are turn-key and GO, as I have revived them back to youth, front bumper to rear bumper. I also have a few additional ancient pieces of equip., (reel mowers) made before the evolution of recoil pull-start. mine have the old knotted rope--pull, flywheel cone. Thank You and Best Regards, Jay Jetz, Reno NV


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