This machine was acquired by a former OLC member in the late 1960's. At the time he worked for Relf and Kendall, a garden machinery firm in South Croydon, Surrey. The Automaton was taken in part exchange for a new machine, so presumably had been in fairly recent use. It was restored and put on display in the showroom. On occasion, for some amusement, it was offered to customers looking for a small, cheap, secondhand mower.
I acquired it ten or twelve years ago and Club member Richard Jones skilfully welded a break on one of the handles, so dispensing with a couple of riveted plates, although that repair was quite neatly done. I have spent a lot of time removing inappropriate paint from the rear rolls and wooden hand grips - ' restorers ' please note.
Believed to date to 1875 or so and still cuts grass. See Clive Gravetts forum posting for more history. I have more close-up photos of the machine, available by request, for anyone wishing to make a more detailed study.