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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Tryng to find date of old Qualcast mower

I am new to looking at old mowers but I have been able to get an old Suffolk Punch back on its rollers and under its own power.

I have obtained an old electric Qualcast (possibly a Panther) and would like to know if anyone can help with the date of manufacture. I have not been able to find any reference to an electric Qualcast which makes me wonder if the motor was added later although the chain casings look original.

Any further info would be welcome.

To give as much help as I can I attach a few images.

Sorry about orientation of images but I cannot get them to turn round. Advice on this for the future would be helpful.


hortimech Sun, 13/11/2016

Yes, it is original and went by the very original name of 'EP Panther', there was also a 12v battery version. As for age, 1960's

Jubby Sun, 13/11/2016

Many thanks hortimech, It's nice to know it was originally an electric and not an added motor.

wristpin Sun, 13/11/2016

You certainly have a mains electric Qualcast Panther, more correctly if a 12" machine, a Model ESP - 12" Super Panther or if a 14" machine, a 14" De-Luxe Electric Super Panther. I believe that the EP suffix was not used until some time later.

Before you are tempted to plug it in and try it out, be aware that it was built before the days of double insulated machines and it requires a a three core cable with an earth . We were still seeing the odd one or two in the workshop in the 1980s and a good few were written off as they would not pass an insulation test . If you are tempted to try it out, at the very least plug it in via a quality residual current device  - RCD.…

hortimech Mon, 14/11/2016

We always referred to them as the EP panther, probably so we didn't get mixed up with the Super Panther push mower. Yes, a lot did get condemned as unsafe, usually by people who didn't understand the tester they were using i.e. they tried to 'flash' test them. A lot were probably also condemned when all they really required was the motor stripping and cleaning.

Thinking about the 'EP' reminds me of the small electric rotary that Qualcast used to make, they were good for business. At the beginning of the grass cutting season, they would be got out when the grass was too long and then shortly after brought in for repair. Anybody know what they were called and why they needed repairing ?

wristpin Mon, 14/11/2016

Could it be the Rota Mini with the plastic blade adaptor ( mounting flange) ?

Seem to remember that there were two versions of the flange , one in clear plastic and one white - not interchangeable.

Insulation tester . The Clare in a wooden case? 

hortimech Mon, 14/11/2016

Yes, that's it ;-) and a bonus point for saying there was two versions of the flange, but what you didn't say was the actual problem. The drive 'pegs' would shear on the flange and if you were really unlucky, similar 'pegs' on the gear above would also shear, meaning you had to totally strip the machine down.

Talking of 'shearing', what machine made a horrible screaming noise when something sheared ??

I think the Clare tester was the only one available at the time and you had to have one if you wanted to be Flymo dealer. The only problem, Flymo only did double insulated machines, so only trained people to 'flash' test.



wristpin Mon, 14/11/2016

Screaming noise. Got me there unless you are referring to a Briggs starter clutch but they could do it without shearing anything.

When our Clare tester gave up we purchased a Seaward Super Nova which talked one through the procedure and could print out a log of the test which was stapled to the service invoice . From memory the machine cost nearly £1000 and the annual calibration was £90 so the test was a chargeable item.

hillsider Mon, 14/11/2016

As we are talking about electric mowers remind me, what was the little Qualcast electric machine called that resembled a carpet cleaner in size and had a three bladed cylinder running against a spring tensioned bottom blade? I remember our neighbour shredding the gogged drive belt in just the situation that hortimech describes.

wristpin Mon, 14/11/2016

Concorde. The first ones were pale blue with a front mounted grass box and the later ones were green with a rear mounted box.


hillsider Tue, 15/11/2016

That's the one, I had forgotten about your restored machine. I wonder how many more have made it into preservation?

Clive1997 Wed, 16/11/2016

An advertisement for the Super Panther Electric, from one of my brochures, as often is the case its not dated, but as the brochure also includes the Commodore & Rotacut  MkV I assume it to be mid 1960's, also includes the 14" Super Panther Electric model.

hortimech Wed, 16/11/2016

So, you never worked on the original 15" electric Flymo ? It had a nylon ring gear in the impeller and when this sheared all its teeth, the machine made a very loud screaming noise when the motor was started. It was probably the only machine problem you could positively diagnose by ear laugh

wristpin Wed, 16/11/2016

Actually worked on quite a few but by the time that they got to us they had gone quiet! Only recently chucked away the remains of a tin of the " special grease" - Shell Alvarnia, I think.