Packard Powered: 1950s Dunlap Electric Mower

Umm, you’re showing a vintage lawn mower? A vintage push lawn mower?! A vintage electric push lawn mower?!! Are you guys cray-cray, as the kids say?! (said, in 2014). No, we aren’t all crazy, just me. Well, apparently the ever-vigilant Fred H. is also a bit off because he sent in this very cool tip. Thanks, Fred, you have great taste, my friend! This is a 1950s Dunlap electric mower and believe it or not, it’s Packard-powered! This rare winter restoration project can be found here on eBay with a current (cough) bid of $20. The shipping will end up being more than the sale price I’m pretty sure. It’s located in Wakefield, Kansas and no, you can’t drive it home.

This is a bit of a stretch for Barn Finds but we’ve shown mowers in the past, usually of the riding variety. For any doubters out there, there is a wicked huge following for vintage lawn mowers, there are clubs and individuals who collect and restore them. Some folks even use them for actually mowing their lawns, what a concept. I bet a lot of you have cars and motorcycles that you don’t even drive on public roads.

This one appears to be missing the chute on the side. I would also highly recommend rewiring in a grounded plug so you don’t get shocked. As if cutting off fingers or toes wasn’t enough excitement with a regular gas-powered mower! As you can see, this is basically a mower frame with an electric motor on top of it instead of a gas engine. No gas or oil, no fuss no muss. Just make sure that you have a long cord and you don’t mow over it. Speaking of cord, here is where you’ll wind the extension cord so it’ll be ready for use. There aren’t really any controls, just plug it in and watch out.

There isn’t much info out there on Dunlap mowers but the seller says that they were most likely sold by Sears. For anyone under 40, Sears Roebuck & Co. was once a gigantic retailer with thousands of actual stores, the likes of which we will never, ever, ever see again, unfortunately. There is a nicely-restored Dunlap gas mower that I ran across, and even a YouTube video of it running, but I couldn’t find anything on an electric Dunlap. I did find another electric mower with a Packard motor on it in a YouTube video, and it’s not as quiet as I thought it would be. There were dozens of electric mower companies at one time and it isn’t as weird as some of you may think to collect and restore things like this. I may end up with this one if I don’t watch myself.

Is this a Packard? Is it a General Motors? Is it Packard by General Motors? Yes to all of the above. Saying that it’s Packard-powered seems like a misnomer, but not really. The Packard Electric Company was founded by the same folks who brought us the fine Packard automobiles. In fact, in 1890 they had a company dealing in electric light bulbs before they made cars under the name Packard Motor Car Company starting in 1902. In 1932, the Packard Electric Company became a part of GM and it evolved into Delphi which is still here today. Cool, huh? Even this Dunlap mower likes that story, look at that smile! So, there you have it. I absolutely love small restoration projects like this electric mower. They are also great for kids to teach them the restoration process and they aren’t so overwhelming that they lose interest halfway through like most of us have done with a car or motorcycle restoration. Are any of you into vintage lawn mowers? Don’t be shy, I freely admit that I am a huge fan, but you knew that already.

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Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Another great find! We never had an electric mower, but Dad had an electric hedge trimmer. That extention cord had more cuts in it than an old eucher deck.

    Like 9
    • Bob_in_TN Bob in TN Member

      My dad was pretty handy with metal working, and he built an electric hedge trimmer. This would have been in the 50’s. I don’t remember the details, but I assume he took a frame and blade from a small mower, added a small electric mower, and mounted a steel pole to it. It worked. He had a fairly long hedge row, and I’m sure it beat trimming it by hand. But that thing sure was heavy and cumbersome and unwieldy. He wisely never let me use it. One day he came home with one of those newfangled cross-shear style lightweight electric trimmers, and never looked back.

      Great write-up, by the way.

      Like 7
    • Al

      What is eucher?
      A verandah of some sort?

      Like 1
  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    Wow! Great find and writeup!

    By the way, it is quite possible that the mower didn’t have a discharge deflector when it was new; that’s a “relatively” recent development. Now all mower manufacturers tend to comply with OPEI (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute) *suggested* guidelines. Don’t ask how I know this…

    Like 8
    • Dean

      Typing with 9 fingers, perhaps?

      Like 8
      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Fortunately, no. But it has a lot to do with my day job…

        Like 3
    • Al

      Just ask the man that “Steers a Packard”

      Like 3
    • Barbara

      I have this mower that is in better condition. Wondering what I should do with it. I haven’t used in 25 years and don’t have a grass yard. It was my dads ❤️ Live in Arizona.

      Like 1
  3. Howard A Member

    I never understood why electric lawn mowers weren’t more popular. I suppose, with odd sized and shaped yards, a gas job just makes more sense. And you can’t have a cord a mile long. I read, gas mowers are some of the biggest polluters on the planet. A gas mower running full speed for an hour, puts out more emissions than 10 modern cars going 60 mph for the same time. I’m not sure I’d use this, as there are more efficient electric motors today. This thing will trip the breaker, for sure.

    Like 6
  4. Chebby Staff

    This needs to be painted like a WWII bomber with a big shark mouth and those teeth shiny white. Right now you could make a horror movie about it.

    Like 21
    • George

      My thoughts exactly!

      Like 1
  5. Rodney - GSM

    Ok, I’ll say it, “Mowed when parked”…

    Like 19
    • TimS Member

      Comment of the month.

      Could we also say since it has the Packard motor, “numbers matching?”

      Like 11
  6. Coventrycat

    Sure beats seeing another Grand National.

    Like 10
  7. jw454

    This looks eerily like one my grandmother had. I remember the “Teeth” along the front. Hers was pastel blue/green but, I don’t recall the maker. I do remember she got it by saving “S&H Green Stamps”. from the local “Big Bear” grocery store.

    Like 9
    • Roger

      Sounds like the Huffy electric mower that we had for awhile,it was originally a greenish blue and used a Delco electric motor but instead of a blade it used a round metal disc with four small cutters attached to it,Dad found it at the landfill when someone threw it out and it worked great until the motor broke the shaft, I remember the Big Bear stores as well.

      Like 4
  8. Kenneth Carney

    @classic steel: Bought one used at a
    pawn shop in ’91. Mine too was a
    Black & Decker electric too, but it was
    a corded model. Spent $15 and got
    10 years use out of it before the motor
    quit. Other than cutting 2 extension cords, it gave me no real trouble to speak
    of other than getting the blade sharpened
    every spring. Would’ve bought another one but electric mowers are hard to find
    here in Florida. The only other type mower that could beat an electric was the old reel type units that you walked behind and pushed. Hey! How ’bout
    running a feature on one of those beasts?!! I’m really amped up about
    this post and got a charge out of Chebby’s idea to paint a menacing face
    on the front of this thing! And could you
    imagine the face of the Caddyshack gopher when he sees this thing coming
    at him?!!! …”I’m alright , don’t nobody
    worry ’bout me!”

    Like 9
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      If you like old powered reel mowers, Google “Locke” mowers. Really cool looking and still made.

      Like 1
      • DNC

        I used to use a Locke when I worked for a lawn maintenance company a zillion years ago. Cut much cleaner than whats being used today

        Like 1
  9. Fred H

    I had 30 vintage mowers. But moved to Florida and sold them all to another collector .I kept one 1952 Craftsman mower. I also have a cordless Sun Joe mower.

    Like 3
  10. LAB3

    I’d figure out a way to put an on-off switch on it for safeties sake.

    Like 5
  11. Tom Henderson

    Please don’t start reviewing garbage like this. A lawn mower is not a vehicle.

    Like 1
    • Ian C

      I disagree. Riding mowers can be vehicles. George Jones could have told you that!!

      I love this pusher by the way. I would rather have the gas powered one in the video though.

      Like 14
    • LAB3

      If it gets a man out of his chair and doing something in the garage I’m all for it! Same with youngsters.

      Like 14
    • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

      If you don’t like it, slide your finger to the next one. Don’t cost nuthin. I usually really enjoy the unusual stuff, like them a lot more than imported cars, but understand a lot of people enjoy reading about/seeing them too. Nobody has told me yet that I have to read those articles.

      Like 15
      • glen

        Exactly!, I’ve said this before, the guys who run this, can show us what ever they please, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be spending way too much time enjoying these postings! I don’t recall when I signed up with Barn Finds, it’s been a few years now, but I’ve never considered complaining about a posting.

        Like 13
  12. LUVHuntin

    I love seeing old electric equipment and being reminded of how long they’ve been around. So many people talk about electricity like it’s new and unproven technology.

    And I love the patina on this one. Although first thing I’d do is drop in a V-8 to get it really hummin.

    Like 5
  13. Gay Car Nut

    Why not? Man’s gotta have some way to mow his lawn. However old the lawn mower may be, if it works, why not use it? I hope someone purchases this, restores it, and uses it. :)

    Like 5
  14. chrlsful

    WoW:
    1) Packard; 2) early ele mower !
    Packard, Sears…dead, soon gone. All the ol stuff. RIP…

    Assist the lawn into a non-mow. We pull stuff outta the woods, into the sun. U should C how it flowers’n grows once there. Also no more mowin (or monoculture for that matter). Rather play wid plants than mow…

    Like 1
  15. Lemble

    We had an old GE electric push mower. The handle would flip over the mower so you did not have to go around the cord as much. It was not light but I was young when it still worked. It was a free mower dad got from someone. Never short on power it would cut any grass I pushed it over. Worked great until Mom pushed it over a Craftsman Long screwdriver someone left outside behind the barn.
    Now the Black and Decker a little lady around the corner had was nice but did not have 1/4 as much power

  16. Gordon

    Dunlap was a Sears brand for products cheaper and lower quality than Craftsman

    Like 2
  17. Lotsa Lawn Tomo

    Tom Henderson, it’s got wheels and a motor and it rolls along, what more do you want? Get a life pal, there’s more to life than just cars!

    Like 11
  18. Patty

    I have a couple of vintage mowers. One reel mower that the engine runs fine but two wooden rollers need to be replaced. Another has the teeth look alike on the front similar to this. That one I have not tried to get that one running,yet. My Uncle collected these type of things so I got the bug from him.

    • glen

      Reel mowers provide an excellent cut, if maintained.

      Like 3
  19. Hollywood Collier

    I have a real barn find Kinetic Moped built in India…..it has 12 miles on it …No Joke. Can I sell it on Barn Finds or do you just sell adds for cars?? I think some collector would love it. Thanks.

  20. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: Nov 18, 2018 , 10:58AM
    Winning bid:US $87.01
    [ 10 bids ]

    Like 2
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Mike, I was this close (doing the close-together-finger-pinch thing) to throwing down a decisive bid at the end but I have a couple of oddball minibikes half torn apart in the garage as it is, I should probably finish something first before hoarding some other “vehicle” If it has wheels and/or an engine and is at least relatively old it belongs on Barn Finds!

      Like 4
  21. Steve

    Resto Mod, Take the bits from a cordless mower and hide it inside a dummy motor so you cant tell by looking at it.

    Like 1
  22. Jeff F Member

    In case you’re wandering; Packard Electric had nothing to do with Packard Motor Cars.

  23. Tony

    I just purchased a mower today(4/12/2019) at a garage sale near Shenandoah , Iowa exactly like the one picture . Although mine hasn’t been restored . FYI , I paid $7.50 . I can be reached at dodgedemonsrt@gmail.com if you have any questions or are interested in this mower .

    Like 1
  24. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Folks: a gentleman named Jay Gaard has done many restorations in his life and he got in touch with a follow-up on this mower. He bought it! Not only that, he restored it to probably better than new condition, it’s really spectacular. He wanted to share a couple of photos of it so I have attached them here. Great work, Jay, thanks for sharing!

    Like 1
  25. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Another photo.
    If you click on the photos they open up to a little bigger size.

    Like 2
  26. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Last one. Beautiful work, Jay!

    Like 2
  27. jay gaard

    thanks scott for posting those. jay

    Like 5
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Great job Jay!

      Like 1
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        One more thing, this article prompted me to buy an E-GO rechargeable mower. It is really nice!

        Like 1
      • jay gaard

        Thank You! it was a fun project.

        Like 2

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