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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

ATCO Battery mower MP036 advice appreciated

Hello to all

This is my first post and it relates to my late father's old battery ATCO. It looks exactly the same as the one pictured here on this site. I am now 50 but used this mower as a child with my father about 35 years ago and from memory the lawn was like a bowling green. A few house moves saw the old girl confined to the corner of the garage. I pulled it out last week and fitted a battery and as expected she runs perfectly , granted the cylinder could do with oiling and a sharpen.

Now....what I'd like advice on is whether these are common or perhaps even collectable. I'm tempted to try to restore some of the paint work and maybe bring the old girl back into active service.

I have never seen another one of these and would appreciate any advice either pleasant or devastating re. this mower.



Aled Fri, 15/04/2011

I'd have thought somebody interested in post-war mowers (myself included) would consider this fairly uncommon, it's rare they appear on eBay as opposed to thier petrol engined equivelents. Some may disagree but I think the ATCO battery mowers are highly usable and well worth keeping and using if you have a fairly small lawn.

If I were you I'd restore it, and if you can I'd reccomend using an air compressor (you'd want a smooth finish where brush marks wouldn't be noticable) with paint colours S5040G30Y for the main body and 1085Y85R for the cutting cylinder (these colours are reccomended by the club on older ATCO mowers), you're local paint specialist should be able to understand those codes and mix you some.

Of course, that's up to you, they're not the rarest of mowers but they are unusual to see and as I say not as many appear compared to the amount of petrol engined equivilents.

hillsider Fri, 15/04/2011

Hi, you have a personal connecttion with the history of this mower so on those grounds alone it is worthy of restoration. if the mower is still capable of use this is a bonus and being battery operated you are also doing your bit to reduce carbon emissions.

Re painting the mower it would be wise to do some reseach into the correct paint coulours before buying the paint. and I think it is fair to say that there are not too many battery mowers surviving in a usable condition. I agree with the comments made by Aled there are some of us enthusiasts who also take an interest in mowers that some collectors consider to be too modern to be of real interest. 

Good luck with the project and perhaps we shall see some photos as work progresses.



Aled Thu, 28/04/2011

Might possibly be coming into aquisition of one of these, though it has handlebars like on an ATCO Deluxe so it's unlike the one featured in the picture.

Anyway I'm skeptical if I'd be able to use a car battery as the main source of power, at the moment it's got a ride-on lawnmower battery but when i was repairing it it didn't seem to deliver the same power my neighbors equivelent battery mower produced.

hillsider Tue, 03/05/2011

Hi, you may find that your Atco when you get it has been fitted with a battery that fits ok but does not have the same capacity as the original. However I am sure that there will be a vehicle battery stockist near you that should be able to help identify a suitable replacement,  assuming that the size of battery needed is still available.!  I don't know where you are located but an internet search for battery stockists should give you some leads.


arnk Sun, 22/01/2012

Hello Rob

I have just found one of these mowers to restore. Its in a fairly bad way and doesn't have the charging lead and the innards are a bit rusty. The machine ref is BE1465 if that means anything to anybody.

The battery on mine is a type 037 which is a 40Ah square terminal car battery 245mm long x 135mm wide x 200mm high. Thats roughly 1hp for 20 mins.

Have you made any progress and do you have any more information? I would be interested to see some photos of yours. 



rob_barton Sat, 03/11/2012

Hi Alastair
Still no progress with the old girl since last post. Gradually reaching conclusion that its time to test the water on eBay. Dilemma is not knowing what it's worth. Knowing my luck I'd end up giving it away.
From memory we used to cut quite a large lawn with the MP036 ...just can't imagine it cutting my current lawn without having 5or6 batteries at the ready.
Are these worth anything really??


wristpin Sun, 04/11/2012

Some thoughts about old style battery mowers with lead/acid "car type" batteries.

I believe that the 037 battery mentioned in another post is the size fitted to the original Mini so bsically is a battery designed to relese its energy in short sharp bursts with longer periods of recovery in between. Ideally an electric mower needs a "traction" battery which reeases its energy gradually . Having said that I have had a number of old battey mowers, both Atco and Webb that performed satisfactorily on car batteries of various ages and descriptions.

At one time Atco made a two speed battery mower which used a 12 voly battery with three terminals, the usual negative and positive but with an additional positive tapped into the cells to give a 9volt output for the slow speed. The change of speed was controlled by a handlebar mouted "throttle" lever that contolled the speed change switches.

Back to the problem in hand; the most that you can do to get the best out of your battery is to make sure that the mechanical side of the machine is as good as possible.

Make sure that there are no binding bearings and that everything moves freely. A sharp cylinder and bottom blade that will shear the grass without the need to set them hard together absorbing energy unneccessarily. Drive chains properly adjusted  - just a little slack and no tight spots.

Some battery chargers do a better job of getting a full (deep) charge into the battery than others and can also  sometimes "recover" batteries that are past their best and may have started to sulphate. These generally go under the heading of "Intelligent" chargers and may be left permanently  connected to a battery without any danger of damaging them by overcharging. If your battery has individual removable cell filler plugs a good old fashioned hydrometer is a better indicator of condition than any fancy gadget - it only takes one iffy cell to prevent a battery giving of its best.

Some modern battery rotary mowers use Lithium Ion units that will give an hour of mowing on a 16" mower and can be recharged in an hour. This is an enormous advance and makes cordess electric mowing a practical reality - at a price. The price of the new mower may look ok in relation to the convenience offered but enquire about the price of a replacement battery pack and you are in for a big shock!!