Tatum’s vintage E-Z Mow lawn mower still in use

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Windley Wade Tatom stands next to his 1964 Carter Brothers E-Z Mow lawn mower. (Submitted Photo)

Windley Wade Tatom stands next to his 1964 Carter Brothers E-Z Mow lawn mower. (Submitted Photo)

When Windley Wade Tatom moved into a new house in May 1964, he found that the one-acre yard was going to be a bit more than the average push-mower could handle.

“At that time, the two best heavy-duty mowers were the high wheel Yazoo and the Carter Brothers E-Z Mow that was made at Hamilton Crossroads just south of Brundidge,” Tatom said. “I managed to scrape up $125 and headed south.”

Tatom came home to Troy with one of the best purchases that he has ever made.

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“After a half century, we – the E-Z Mow and me – are still partners and going strong,” he said, laughing.

Tatom said the E-Z Mow was a real heavy duty, simply designed mower meant to provide service with the least amount of maintenance.

“Carter Brothers made other small farm and garden implements that were simple and easy to work with,” he said. “The E-Z Mow had one weak point in the design. It had self-propelled drive rollers resting on the knobby thread tire with pressure from a strong spring. This worked fine until the grass was wet and then you had to really push the mower to get it to go forward.”

The Carter Brothers realized the singular flaw in the design of the E-Z Mow and it didn’t take long before the company redesigned the propelling system with a splined roller and tire that operated like a gear.

“With this system in place, the mower was like a tank. It could climb over anything in its path, even Mount Everest,” Tatom said laughing. “I named my E-Z Mow ‘the Mountain Goat.’ It was as comfortable as an ol’ shoe and loved it.”

In 1981, Tatom bought a second E-Z Mow because he then had two locations to keep up.

“But now, since it’s the baby and only 33 years old, it only does the light work. Old ‘Mountain Goat still takes care of the rough stuff along the fence rows and out parcels,” he said.

In June, Tatom and Mountain Goat started their 50th year of eliminating anything in the way that is less than an inch in diameter.

“This year, we are celebrating the Golden Anniversary of a great partnership,” Tatom said. “I guess we are just two old relics that don’t know when to quit.”

Tatom said the story of his partnership with the Mountain Goat is about more than a man and his machine.

It’s the story about the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the Carter Brothers and the pride they took in their products.

“Back then, products were built to last,” Tatom said. “And, they were simple to fix. It didn’t take a computer and a team from MIT to fix a lawn mower. If you had a wrench and good eyes, you could fix them yourself. Products were designed to last.

“I appreciate people like the Carter Brothers who designed and made products for the long haul,” he said. “Every time I crank Old Mountain Goat, I think about them and the many others who were committed to producing products that they could stand behind and products people would come back for.”

“I don’t know when Carter Brothers quit making the E-Z Mow but it was a sad day.”