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The Wonder Boy X-100


Hick

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Here is a lawn mower built ahead of its time. Developed by Simplicity Manufacturing, the Wonder Boy was an experimental mower designed to cut weed, feed, grass, and spray the yard. The distinguishable and futuristic mower is five feet in diameter.

On the inside are a cushioned seat, cooling systems for drinks, and air conditioning. We think mowing doesn’t get more luxurious than this. Sadly, the company never proceeded to produce the lawn mowers commercially as it was relegated to oddity.

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Seriously; is there any more info on this ? I find it very intriging

Has lights for nite running ?

Edited by 720nut
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here is some more info, per https://vocal.media/fyi/the-wonderboy-x-100

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The Wonderboy X-100

For several summers during my Junior and Senior High years, my younger brother and I mowed yards. We hauled a lawnmower and a weed eater in the trunk of my family's Oldsmobile Delta '88 and cut grass for about 15 different households in our community. After a couple of years with only a push mower Lawn Boy, we added a Snapper Riding Mower to our arsenal, and welcomed another 10 lawns. We didn't get rich, but we both added money to our bank accounts and wallets. Most days, the heat drove us to mow early in the morning and later in the evening. But, at least we weren't mowing in the 1830's or whacking weeds with a scythe.

History of the Lawn Mower

 

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Edwin Beard Budding invented the lawn mower in 1830. The primary purpose of the mower was to cut the grass on fields designated for sports and to trim the yards of estates with extensive gardens. Living in Gloucestershire, England, Budding was granted a British patent on August 31, 1830.

When the Budding lawn mowers hit the market, two of the earliest models sold to the Zoological Gardens in London and the Oxford Colleges. After a couple of years, developers enlarged the width of the original 19 inch model, making it even more ideal for modern-style sporting ovals, playing fields and grass courts. It took ten more years and further innovations to create a machine that could be drawn by animals; sixty years later, a steam powered mower was built. Seventy years after the first wrought iron framed mower was invented, the gasoline-powered lawn mower was introduced in 1902. These mowers were a huge improvement over chopping the grass with a scythe or relying on domesticated grazing animals. In 1957, a mower straight out of a sci-fi movie made the cover of a popular magazine.

The Wonderboy X-100

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One of my favorite cartoons as a kid was The Jetsons. I loved the flying bubble cars, the automated sidewalks, Rosie the Robot Maid, and of course the video calling screens in every home and business. It seems that we are living in an age that makes this classic cartoon appear prophetic. After stumbling across a Facebook post about the Wonderboy X-100, I think it's possible that The Jetson's found inspiration for their flying cars from this futuristic looking lawn mower.

6050d14bdc2d54001c663bf9.jpg The "Power Mower of the Future" as demonstrated in Port Washington, Wisconsin, October 14, 1957

The contraption that looks like it came right out of a Jetson's episode, was built by the Simplicity Manufacturing Company in 1957. (The Jetson's debuted in 1962.) Named the Wonderboy X-100, this mower was featured on the 1958 cover of Mechanix Illustrated.

Imagine riding around your yard, under an airconditioned dome...in 1957. Also, imagine the neighbors standing out in their yards gawking at this machine that looks like something purchased from another galaxy. The X-100 wasn't practical for the everyday lawn nor would it have been affordable for the average homeowner. However, it was Simplicity's first riding lawnmower produced and promoted to the general public. Simplicity's promotional advertisement described the X-100 this way:

The lawnmower has a five-foot diameter plastic sphere in which the rider sits on an air foam cushioned seat. It has its own electric generating system for operating running lights, a radio telephone, air conditioning and even a cooling system to provide a chilled drink on a hot day. It can be used for many purposes. It can mow the lawn, weed it, feed it, seed it, spray for insects, plow snow and haul equipment. It can even be used as a golf cart.

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Other promo materials from the past boast that the X-100 could go up to 10 mph. A machine with this many bells and whistles was definitely for the person accustomed to living in luxury.

It seems that The Wonder Boy-X-100 never made it past the first prototype. No one really knows why. Quite likely, not many people could afford the cost of a machine so ahead of its time. Others believe the mower was never meant for public use, but was a promotional gimmick to turn more people on to the Simplicity Brand. If companies manufactured a similar mower today, I find it likely that this type of lawn care machine would be welcomed. It's also likely that mowing companies would lose business to those people who want to cut grass in style. Heck, my teenaged sons might even get excited about the chore if they could ride around in one of these...and that just might be worth the price.

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Sorry for YouTube covering up half the screen part-way through the video. The A--H----s have been doing that lately!

 

 

Edited by Hick
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On 12/12/2021 at 6:53 PM, SmilinSam said:

reminds me of a Bell 47...

Can just see that thing coming into the MASH unit with wounded solders strapped to the mowing deck.

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  • 1 month later...

Have seen pictures of this unit many times but did not know it was a Simplicity unit. For a company known for simple equipment using the same tooling etc to make a variety of highly similar products on a line such as the model 700 being highly evolved from the walk behind tractors, something such as the X-100 is quite the departure and would not have been very practical to produce in the Simplicity factory. It was more fancy than most automobiles at the time. It sure got them some P.R. though. 

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On 12/19/2021 at 11:50 AM, PhanDad said:
On 12/19/2021 at 8:29 AM, AllisChalmers716 said:

What did this thing have as a power plant?

A Flux Capacitor 

I think it would need a flux capacitor just to keep that thing cool.  Can you imagine being in that bubble on a hot summer day with the sun just a blazin'?  You would need an AC system that could cool you house just to not cook!

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