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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Cylinder paint?

Evening all,

I've looked on t'internet with regards to cylinder paint colour (for red cylinders) and the consensus seems to be signal red or post office red.

so I bought some post office red and sprayed up the cylinder from a mk5 Ajax. It's a very 'modern' looking colour, bright red, almost a bit orangey. Like you would see on a new mower.

can anyone recommend a red more suited to a vintage mower? I've got an ajax mk2 to do and want something a bit more subtle.

does anyone know what the original colour was?




wristpin Sat, 27/02/2021

In no particular order -

Central Spares sell “ Bright Cylinder Red”. At one time we used to buy Pillar Box Red and Ransomes used to use an orangey red. 

Early Suffolks had green painted cylinders ,  Honda and maybe Masport cylinder mowers , black .


Will Sat, 27/02/2021

Thanks Angus, maybe I'll stick with what I have then, perhaps will dull down with a bit of time and use 


DJD Sun, 28/02/2021

I bought a gallon each of John Deere green and a red I forget the name of from Pearl paints many decades ago, both lasted me many years, I used to perch the drying cylinders atop my pillar drill, which left many green and red marks, until I got broken into and drill was taken.

Clive1997 Sun, 28/02/2021

Regarding Ajax cutting cylinders, having had many pass through not all had red cylinders, certainly I have seen several mk3's with green, also the Atlas I think was often green, and possibly Cubs & Lioness?. Would be an interesting exercise to pull in info from members with machines in 'original' condition to establish if there was a period or mk's when green was used? (how about a member volunteering to do this?) Only have 2 mk5's around at present both red, weighed in half a dozen Ajax's last week, with hindsight should have noted the colour! Several Ajax boxes saved as I know always in demand.

Will Sun, 28/02/2021

Thanks for responses.

my mk5 Ajax is in very original condition and the cylinder was red same as yours Clive.

my mk2 has had paint at some point so I don't know on that one...


wristpin Mon, 01/03/2021

my mk5 Ajax is in very original condition and the cylinder was red same as yours Clive.

I cant help wondering how many Ajax have never been re- ground%? I would suggest very few; in which case,  it was standard practice to repaint the cylinder - with whatever shade of red that business used. Original paint may be more imagined than fact.

Rogerdodge1 Tue, 18/01/2022

I've been pondering this too. I have two Ajax Mark 3's, one I'm restoring and one for spares. They are both the earlier model with parallel arms and show little signs of any tinkering in their lives. Both of mine have green cylinders, with no sign of any red paint underneath. Most photos I've seen of Mark 3's in unrestored condition also seem to have green cylinders, but the majority of restored ones I've seen are painted red. I've concluded that the early Mark 3's were green, and possibly late Mark 3's and onwards were red. I completely understand why restorers would paint early Mark 3's red to match later models as a shiny red cylinder shouts "look at me, I'm restored and shiny" and really makes the mower pop, in the same way a painted grass box with a new transfer does. I'm certainly tempted to go red. Having said that, I should probably get out a bit more :-)

Will Tue, 18/01/2022

I actually prefer non-red cylinders but, as you say, people generally seem to expect a red cylinder now, so it's important to try and get it right when you've got one eye on selling the mower on... I chose this in the end (from Amazon - and also used the same brand grey primer), I'm extremely pleased with it, it's not quite as bright as some other reds I've tried