Letter to the editor: Swedish lawnmower has a familiar component

At the start of summer, my ancient and rusty Briggs & Stratton lawnmower bit a jagged piece of Vermont granite outcropping and I was told it was no longer repairable. Fine. I certainly could not complain after so many years of service. That’s when I made a startling discovery. There was a new brand in town I’d never heard of. Husqvarna! Excuse me? Yes, Husqvarna.

“Where is it made?” I asked the salesman.

“They have factories all over the world,” he said.

“Where’s their really big factory?” I persisted.

“I think they have a large manufacturing plant in Georgia,” he said.

This was getting me nowhere.

“Husqvarna is kind of a strange name,” I said. “Do you know where it comes from?”

“Well, that would be Huskvarna, Sweden,” he said. “Spelled a little differently.”

“So, Husqvarna is Swedish!” I declared.

“Oh, yes,” he nodded. “Along with Volvo cars, Ericsson phones, Electrolux vacuum cleaners and Ikea furniture. The Swedes also started making remote-controlled demolition robots. Can’t remember the name of that company,” he paused. “But, I do know Swedish industry is really big time into lawn mowers and chain saws.”

“Chainsaws? I thought McCulloch was the big name in chainsaws.”

“Husqvarna owns them,” he smiled.

“Good grief! I thought McCulloch was an old-line family company from Wisconsin.”

“Yes, it was,” he said. “Then, Husqvarna took them over. What do you think of this self-propelled model over here?” he pointed.

“I have to think this over,” I said, backing away.

Back at the house, I Googled the name and discovered Husqvarna was founded in 1689 to produce some of the finest muskets in the world.

Who knew? Back at the store I purchased a Husqvarna lawnmower and was delighted with it the whole summer.

At the end of the mowing season, I took it in to Taylor Rental of Middlebury to have the blades sharpened. When the mechanic lifted it out of the back of my SUV, I saw a small sticker attached just beneath the bright Husqvarna logo. It read: Engine by Briggs & Stratton. Apparently, I’d come full-circle after all.

Burgess Needle

Ripton

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