Second Wind:

| February 2001

A 60-year-old county mower is getting its second wind, thanks to a Tennessee couple. But the mower's manufacturer remains a bit of a mystery.

Rose and Randolph Kelley, Hartsville, Tenn., are restoring a 1938 Model EH Topeka Hi Way Mower. The piece was made in Topeka, Kan., but the Kelleys have been unable to find information about the manufacturer. The mower's history, though, has been easier to come by.

The mower was purchased new in 1938 by the Trousdale (Tenn.) County Highway Department. It was used to mow roadsides until the early 1960s. Everything on it is original except the shock behind the driver's seat.

'When you step on the gas pedal, the seat springs backward, and when you let up, it springs forward,' Rose says. 'It was very touchy.'

After he purchased the mower, Randolph installed a shock on the seat for safety reasons.

The mowing system is mounted on a 1938 Ford 3/4 ton truck chassis. The wheel base was shortened, making the mower more compact. The mowing component is basically a cable-and-belt system, which lowers and raises the mower blade (for mowing vertically or horizontally). The original motor was a 1938 flat-head Ford. That motor was replaced in the early 1950s by a later model flat-head motor.