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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Pre 1946 Atco

Greetings All,

I have just acquired a pre 1946 14" Atco. Whilst they are reasonably common in the UK I live in Australia where they are fairly few and far between these days. Whilst having a quick look over it on arrival I noted that there is a brass tag atached to the left hand side of the machine under the chain cover. Is this a unique ID (serial number) for the machine and if it is does anyone know whether it is just a sequential number or whether it is coded in some way? The number is 30142. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,

Sir Chook



sir_chook Wed, 13/03/2013

Hi Clive,

Thank you for your reply and well wishes from the UK. It is sunny here in Australia at present. Yesterday was 39 degrees celcius - so just a bit warm - it is 25 degrees today thankfully.

I have had a read through the article that you provided the link for. I was aware that working out dates for Atco mowers pre 1946 is difficult as there are few records remaining.However what is interesting is that the article states that "The company does not appear to have numbered its mowers or used any systematic dating process". Does this mean that this brass plate is not a serial number and something else or is this a unique find? It would be interesting to know if other collectors with Atco mowers from this period have found such a tag and if they have whether there is any correlation between the number and the approximate date of manufacture.     


Sir Chook

Widow Maker Tue, 26/03/2013

Hi there,

There is very little known during the wars year as the Atco factory lost all of it's records due to fire & bombing.

Any details are only the ones past one with a mower or what has been found since by collectors.

This is the best place to find details on older mowers there are many members here who can help you more than me tho.

The some later atco's had a brass plate on mower body that was a 4 or 5 number code.

The first 2 numbers was the cut size  the next 2 was the year not all had the fith number this i thougt to be a month code (5 = may). But in the 1950's the brass plate was changed again to a number code.

The atco standard had no number codes on it at all the only number to be found on one is the engine number code but in 1929 the engines was made in batch's, this could be used to date a batch to a near year as some batch's was stored before use. but if you find an engine number you might be able to date the engine batch to a near year date. This could help you sort the frame number to a near date with engine number, giving you a near year mower date to work on.

good luck

widow maker



arnk Thu, 07/11/2013

This is my 20" 1936 Atco medium weight de luxe? with a 147cc Villiers 1.5 hp 2-stroke engine getting careful treatment from OLMC experts at the 2012 rally.  It has steel frame sides (introduced 1935), a kick start made from 2 plates bolted together (not cast like later ones) and an aluminium cowling over the flywheel and cylinder.  The engine cowling and front steel rollers look different to yours - your front rollers look missing?


PS No its still not running.


Widow Maker Mon, 11/11/2013

In reply to by Clive1997

If the brass plate does not tie up with the dating code you may have to go by the engine number, how ever the engine number is not a true date for the age of the mower as engines was made in batch's.

My atco standard i had to use the engine code to get a rough date to the age of my mower it worked out at about 1929 for the batch of engines used, On the older atco mower sometimes this is the only way to date them.


I would look on engine crank case for a serial number and look on here to date the engine code this will help you sort out what the brass plate is telling you and give you a good starting point..



sir_chook Sun, 09/02/2014

In reply to by arnk

Hi Arnk and OLC Members,

My Atco is indeed missing the front rollers - it has had a hard life. They appear to have been wooden rollers rather than the steel one in your photo. The engine on mine appears to be the 98cc Villiers rather than the 147cc one and the engine is marked 213 274. Can anyone advise how to identify which batch numbers belong to which year?

I am interested to know how to identify the differences between the light weight, middleweight and deluxe mowers from the 1932 - 1946 period. I have read the profile on the web site and note that there are quite a few variations across the series . Can anyone advise which variations indicate the differences between years and also between the three models mentioned above.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Sir Chook


Clive1997 Sun, 09/02/2014

In reply to by sir_chook

Hello Again


Good to see you are still researching your Atco, you share my feelings about getting to the answers etc. I will add a bit of what I know, but as others have said its difficult to get a precise answer.

Since my last message I have obtained another Atco which we know is early 1930's & a De-luxe as it has the fuel tank within the tool box, & crank handle start. No picture with me but the one here is similar

I also have this one shown clearly in Atco ads from the early 1930's.

What type of kick start does yours have as the KS was introduced in 1935, I think at first a more crude cranked arm, then it became more pedal shaped.

Keep on asking & posting and more info will come to light.

Added later, just seen this one on ebay, clearly shows the early style kick start…


Cheers for now


arnk Tue, 11/02/2014

In reply to by Clive1997

The kickstart on the eBay Atco is similar to my 1936 Atco except that mine has the remains of the original rubber on the pedal...despite repeated start attempts.


sir_chook Tue, 25/11/2014

Hi All,

Since my last post I have done some more searching and have found some more numbers. A similar mower to the one I displayed in my original post has a tag of 25446.

A mower the same as the one below had a tag showing 9148 

I have also seen a mower with the tag R1325 however I cannot find my photo of it presently.

I have also obtained the mower below which has a tag of D493 and an engine number of CXF 360 - the engine is a 247cc 2 1/2 hp Villiers 

It would appear that the numbers may be sequential build numbers but the letter code is not clear - in the case of the last mower the D could stand for deluxe but it could have a different meaning too given that one of the earlier numbers has an R prefix. Any thoughts, additional numbers/leters? Al and Clive - do your Atco mowers still have their tags and if so can you advise the details? 

Kind regards,

Sir Chook