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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Allen and Crown?

A former member contacted me over the weekend to ask if there is any connection between Allen of Oxford and a company called Crown.

Does anyone have any information that might help?

 

hortimech Mon, 07/12/2020

Crown, now that is a blast from the past. Didn't they start out as a Templar product when Flymo's patent ran out, became Crown, then bought by Allen, who then became part of Hayter and are now presumably part of Toro ?

wristpin Mon, 07/12/2020

Seem to think that there were also Templar Tillers and that their hovers had blue decks.. Missed out on Allen power Equipment being absorbed by Hayter - were they ?

hortimech Mon, 07/12/2020

Towards the end, Allen was basically just the hovermowers, Hayter purchased the hovermower section (at least) and they became Hayter Allen hovermowers. I now believe they are Toro hovermowers.

wristpin Mon, 07/12/2020

Towards the end, Allen was basically just the hovermowers, Hayter purchased the hovermower section (at least) and they became Hayter Allen hovermowers. I now believe they are Toro hovermowers.

Now you mention it I do recollect.  Just before I sold up and retired in 2012. Vague recollection reading in a trade mag of Toro branded hovers working on a US golf course and of a Toro red Harrier; but perhaps that was a bad dream

 

Clive1962 Thu, 10/12/2020

I remember the blue Templar Turbos...and also think I once worked on a Crown with yellow deck.

C.

Clive1962 Fri, 11/12/2020

There was also the Allen Sherpa powered barrow.....which I suspect was what later went under its own makers name; Muck Truck  www.mucktruck.com/about-us/ ..certainly by 2001 when one came our way.  A very useful machine in a garden of narrow paths and gateways where mini tractors are a no go :)

Didn't Allen also bring in the USA Merry Tiller for some time.?

C.

Clive1997 Fri, 11/12/2020

Vague recollection reading in a trade mag of Toro branded hovers working on a US golf course

Wristpin, perhaps a dream from your early years, Toro made Flymo's in the USA in 1965, just after their invention, don't think they caught on in those days with our American friends.

wristpin Fri, 11/12/2020

 

Vague recollection reading in a trade mag of Toro branded hovers working on a US golf course

Wristpin, perhaps a dream from your early years,

No, the hover bit ties in with Toro’s relatively recent acquisition of the Allen  machines.  The dream bit turns out to be a “non dream “ - Toro red Harriers do exist.  That  Flymo in your post must be one of the very early ones, fibreglass hood and a metal impeller ?

hortimech Fri, 11/12/2020

No, it wasn't made in America, it was made in Newton Aycliffe, by Flymo who were a part of the Husqvarna group and they were the UK's Toro importer at the time.

 

wristpin Fri, 11/12/2020

 

Didn't Allen also bring in the USA Merry Tiller for some time.?

I had only ever associated Merry Tillers with Wolseley Webb but  one year was surprised to see yellow tillers from the American Merry company at the Windsor IOG show. I used to keep all my show guides, Motspur Park, Kempton Park, Peterborough, Windsor etc. When I retired I had a “chuck out” so unfortunately  no longer have that source of reference - knew it was a mistake! Possibly they were exhibited by Allen.

While  OLC members may only associate Allen with Horticultural Machinery , the company goes right back to traction engines and steam ploughing equipment and in the early seventies built mobile cranes under licence from the US Grove Company, and I visited their factory when my then employers purchased several of their lorry mounted cranes.

 

Clive1962 Sat, 12/12/2020

I think the Allen MT link, if I haven't dreamt it, was relatively recent before going to Tylers would it be.?

 And ref the Shows I have never got to establish who made the Suffolk Super Punch lookalike/copies that were on the Wolf Garten stand at GLEE one year, maybe late 1980s...don't recall them ever appearing in the actual range in UK.?

C. 

hdtrust Sun, 13/12/2020

Dear Wristpin,

Yes your memory serves you well Merry tiller from the USA was on show at Windsor in 1982,I can tell you from memory where the stand was,which was to the right of the main track,I should know the stand but for the life of me I cannot remember his name,I think Peter --,but the back drop was an old coach,known as a bit of a shark at the time,they use to have a large warehouse in Princes Risborough selling end of line catalogue units.

He had a later business called Mowercity,inwhich he bought all the unwanted stock of Mountfield.

The most funny part is I actually purchased a top handle chainsaw off them in 1989 which was a Poulan but badge engineered for climbing in trees,I still have it,and actually still use it,its never failed to start!

 

wristpin Sun, 13/12/2020

for the life of me I cannot remember his name

Peter Elliott, at that time, aka P&E Garden Machinery

Adrian Mon, 14/12/2020

Do I remember an Allen mowers in Didcot, visible from the railway line a few hundred yards out of the station towards Reading? This would be circa 1998, when I was jobhunting from about halfway between Newbury and Didcot, and used to take the train from Didcot because you saw much more interesting scenery there...

hdtrust Mon, 14/12/2020

Yes passing it by road many times,the road actually goes to Wallingford,Oxen,where you then pick the road up South for Reading.

We use to criss-cross the whole of that area hunting for old lawn mowers,2 of us.Michael Hardy would be driving,with a finger on an ordinance survey map! I would be scanning peoples garages!

Unfortunately Michael is not with us,and is sadly missed,that was in 1979 -80.

Thinking about it we use to go up that way to a collector of old lawn mowers to a place called Ipsden,his name was Les Wear,He'd started collecting in 1965,his collection eventually got sold to Michael Hardy,in later years the nucleus of the collection became part of The Hall & Duck Trust.

Regards

Andrew

Adrian Tue, 15/12/2020

That's the one, alright, glad I didn't imagine it.

You actually *found* Ipsden? Blimey! The locals (both of them) say that people have wandered the Chilterns for years trying to find it. Probably the second most village pitch I've ever played on - nearly got my block knocked off by dodgy bounce - but on a hillside, tree inside the boundary at one end and telegraph pole at the other...

(You may have noticed that I also collect "village" cricket pitches)

 

wristpin Tue, 15/12/2020

What was that story about the village cricket match which had a bit something like

” the blacksmith took the ball, took another notch in his belt and took such a long run up to bowl that he disappeared out of sight over the brow “

?

Adrian Wed, 16/12/2020

Oh gods, I'm sure I've read it - I can only think it might be a De Selincourt, but can't get any closer than that...

wristpin Thu, 17/12/2020

Try this - Google to the rescue.

https://phdessay.com/a-village-cricket-match-a-g-macdonnels-humorous-no…

The bowling end of the ground was so steep that at the end stood a fielder who saw nothing saw nothing of the game but the blacksmith walking back or running to bowl. It was only during the last few yards of his run when the blacksmith was visible to the batsman. The blacksmith ran up to bowl climbing the slope superbly like a ‘mettlesome combination of Venus and Vulcan Anadyomene’.

Clive1997 Thu, 17/12/2020

No, it wasn't made in America, it was made in Newton Aycliffe, by Flymo who were a part of the Husqvarna group and they were the UK's Toro importer at the time

Hotimech, are you saying they exported them to the USA in 1965?

The notes I have indicate the Flymo was offered under licence in 1964/65 to half a dozen American mower manufacturers, with Toro the only one to take it up, so the question 'being sold under license' or 'manufactured under licence'?

Certainly the adverts, operating instructions & brochures I have from the USA have no mention of Husqvarna.

 

hortimech Thu, 17/12/2020

Could be my memory playing me up here, lol

Flymo was the UK Toro importer in the mid 60s - mid 70s and at some point, Husqvarna bought Flymo.

I was told that Toro sold Flymo's in America, but they were actually made in the UK, now whether that meant totally assembled in the UK or supplied as parts for assembly in the USA, I am unsure. I went on several service courses to Newton Aycliffe and every course included a factory tour, you would not believe the size of the injection moulding machine for the decks. I cannot believe that the Flymo factory was duplicated in the USA, just to produce a niche product. The only other sort of proof I know of is, the Flymo warehouse got flooded and the company I was working for at the time, bought the entire contents of said warehouse, amongst which were components from the Flymo's sold in the USA. 

Clive1962 Thu, 17/12/2020

There was a year when I was on YTS at my first garden machinery employer when they sold some USA spec Flymos....maybe 1981/82?. Not sure of the story but think I was told then it was that there was no UK production hence USA ones were sold in UK..maybe it tallies with the flood time you mention.  They had USA true Tecumseh engines with a operating knob and plastic gov vane   rather than a side lever and  metal vane Aspera/Tecnamotor/Dellorto.   I think they had metal rod up stops to centre rear of deck..if my memory is on track.?! and USA gold? compliance labels.

I'm talking of time much more recent than days of original Flymo...and when Toro was with Autoturfcare, was it.?  pre Lely.

C.

hortimech Thu, 17/12/2020

I remember those, the first of the brown engines, but the company I worked for was one of the largest UK Flymo dealers at the time and they were selling UK spec and USA spec machines at the same time, perhaps over production of USA machines ? The flood was earlier than that though. I can remember the stores manager telling the boss that he had bought the entire contents  of the flooded warehouse. After the boss calmed down, he explained that most of the contents were engines and he had already sold most of them (before they arrived) and already quadrupled what they had cost. We stripped all the other engines (that didn't sell) for spares.

Now I think about, didn't Lely take over importing Toro when Husqvarna bought Flymo ? I know I can remember going to St Neots for Toro Service courses, but this was after 1987

wristpin Thu, 17/12/2020

When I first dealt with Flymo in around 1975 their address was Flymo Ltd, Greycain Road , Watford, WD2 4PT; and all warranty claims etc had to go there. Presumably this was the sales and administration department, no mention of Newton Aycliffe or Husqvarna .

I remember the US spec machines. My understanding at the time was that they were reimported to meet supply shortages in the UK - around 1985.  There were two versions, the GL47(T) and the GL(T), both with Tecumseh engines , one with the side lever throttle and one with the rotary control mentioned by Clive. There was also a choice of a handle bar mounted snorkle air cleaner or a UK spec Turbo cleaner. Both had the handle bar restraining Upstop going from a bracket on the deck to the over centre clamp between the lower and upper sections of the handle bar.  

hdtrust Thu, 17/12/2020

Toro did sell Flymos in the USA,we have the living proof right here,as we have one that we use on the banks every other week.I got it from Jim in MA,it was sat in his garage collecting dust,still new un used.They were shipped whole,come to think of it.I shipped it back whole as well,10 years ago this year!

Like allot of things British out there,not popular,but still allot of them.Thinking about it I also shipped back an American Merrytiller which was all red.

Andrew

hdtrust Fri, 18/12/2020

While in the stores this afternoon,Mr Wallingfield passed me these,the brochure is from 1981,looking closely at the operators dungarees,there is a label on his chest,which says Carrhartt.That is a picture from USA, as Carrhartt never exported those dungarees (Bib & Brace)

Adrian Tue, 22/12/2020

The Broadway, Didcot, makes sense - runs parallel to the railway, if a bit away from it.

Dad had a Flymo rotovator which always seemed a bit of odd branding, given the unlikeliness of a flying rotovator! Did the job for years, though, until his hips got too tottery to lug it round the garden.

Your starter for 10 - what was the prototype Flymo allegedly built from?

wristpin Tue, 22/12/2020

Dad had a Flymo rotovator which always seemed a bit of odd branding, given the unlikeliness of a flying rotovator! Did the job for years, though, until his hips got too tottery to lug it round the garden.

Your starter for 10 - what was the prototype Flymo allegedly built from?

Flymo had the nice little light weight DM and also mains electric cultivator;  then all the Norlets in Flymo colours.