In the 1830s, Cyrus Newhall opened a machine shop in Hinsdale. Some 20 years later, the firm became known as Newhall & Stebbins when Lorenzo Stebbins became part owner.

Shortly thereafter, in 1860, the company began to manufacture Granite State Mowing Machines. The firm was incorporated as the Granite State Mowing Machine Co. These horse-drawn mowers soon became very popular and Granite State Mowers were produced in Hinsdale for the next 100 years.

Newhall and Stebbins advertised that their field mowers were designed for the rocky, sloping fields of New England and would thus prove useful on any field in the country. Four models of mowers ranged from a one-horse, 3½-foot cut to a two-horse, five-foot cut. The company employed 18 men in 1870 and produced 525 mowing machines. These mowers were sold for a total of $45,000, or about $86 each.

In 1881 the firm began to manufacture hand-pushed lawn mowers as well. Nine models of lawn mowers ranged in size from a 10-inch cut to a 20-inch cut. The company produced several thousand mowers annually. Granite State also made a popular lawn edging machine.

The company was purchased by William S. Howe in 1911. Under his management, Granite State Mowers gained national prominence. By the 1950s, the firm was making hand and power lawn mowers that were shipped to all parts of the world.

The company last appeared in business directories in the 1960s, thus ending more than a century of manufacture for Hinsdale’s Granite State Mowers.

Alan F. Rumrill is executive director of the Historical Society of Cheshire County, which has been collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the region since 1927. It’s on Main Street. To learn more about its public programs and collections, visit