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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
Likes: 278
Forum Historian
Hello ODK history lovers
This topic is a tribute to an extraordinary New Zealander.
He shares the same gifted qualities as Australia’s Arthur Bishop,
although maybe not as prolific [see Related Reading].

Charles Vivian Crowe was born in 1916 at Hawke’s Bay,
New Zealand. He had an inquiring mind to say the least!

[Linked Image]

There are two points of interest for me: the first is thematic;
Crowe seems to have made an important contribution through
his inventions on land, air, and sea!

In the air, it is claimed he invented New Zealand’s first low-winged
monoplane in the 1930s. Much of his aviation story is told in his
book, “As the Crow Flies” first publish in 1949 [I have a 1992 reprint].

On the sea, Crowe developed his own range of outboard motors
and also his “Hydrodrive”, a hybrid design using a conventional
propeller forcing water through a venturi to create a controlled
jet-like thrust.

On the land, Crowe is credited with designing New Zealand’s
first rotary lawnmower, the Rotamoa, in about the mid-1950s.
Importantly, this was a rear catcher machine. Amazing!

My second area of interest lays within the commonality between
his inventions. His approach to his sea and land inventions seems
to have been informed by his understanding of aeronautics –
how airflow creates lift is just a variation of how water acting
through a venturi creates thrust [Hydrodrive], and how air
[and grass] acting through a venturi creates lift and thrust
[chuted lawnmower].

TO BE CONTINUED …

Attached Images
1953_crowe_rideon.jpg (67.25 KB, 52 downloads)
crowe_advert.jpg (193.92 KB, 41 downloads)
1 member likes this: Scottb3
Membership information
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
Likes: 278
Forum Historian
PART TWO – Kiwi Ingenuity
Charlie Crowe deserves greater recognition for his achievements.

Some important recognition has been given by Bob Riley
in his excellent book, Kiwi Ingenuity, a book paying tribute
to New Zealand inventions.

Though short in detail, the book extract gives important information,
including an image of ride-on mower the author dates to 1953!

That is historically significant. I mean, who was making a purpose-built
ride-on mower in Australia at that time …?

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Attached Images
riley_kiwi_inventions.pdf (821.78 KB, 3 downloads)
BOB RILEY KIWI INVENTIONS
Joined: Nov 2013
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Forum Historian
PART THREE – 1954 Patent
Crowe’s patent from early 1954 is a significant one; in that
it covers a sophisticated design for a rear discharge, catchered
rotary mower, and it appears to predate Australia’s
Clyde rotary by a couple of years. Maybe.

The design of a skirted chassis and chute system seems
uncontroversial today. However, of interest is the ‘draught
creating means’ – a bar blade holder with vanes and flat
blades (a less elegant solution to the fluted blades we use today).

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Attached Images
1954_200137.pdf (367.07 KB, 3 downloads)
CV CROWE PATENT 200137 of 1954
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
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Forum Historian
PART FOUR – A Complication
So, the important question is: Did this 1954 patent mower
go into production? The best answer is YES, but …

In researching another important NZ garden equipment company
Ivory Brothers Limited [IBL] – I found evidence that Crowe’s “rights,
patents and designs” were bought by IBL some time in 1954!

[Linked Image]

My best guess is that some of the Crowe designs were
developed and became the IBL branded Rotomoas of the
1950s and 1960s.

These Rotomoa branded mowers varied between domestic
mowers and commercial slasher mowers.

THE Ivory Brothers story will have to wait.

TO BE CONTINUED …

Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
Likes: 278
Forum Historian


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