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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Another new meber

Salutations to you all, after 43 yrs of kicking about in this planet I have finally bought a cylinder mower and for-filled a lifelong ambition of owning one thought the question is... IS 1 enough :) though I think the answer to that would depend on who you ask... me or the mrs.

the mower in question is a Ransomes Auto Certes 18" with a 10 blade cylinder and a F12 engine  which was purchased for the princely sum of £50 weather or not that is a bargain price remains to be seen. It has a black and brass I'd plate with a DD prefix it's far from perfect or in indeed complete as I have no grass box or rear scraper also the operating arm for the cylinder spring clutch is missing so they have flipped the cog she starts and runs always first or 2nd pull and it's a little lumpy/vibey when increasing the throttle when tho I do plan on overhauling the engine as part of the restoration as my plan is to bring her back to factory condition if not better then use her for what she was intended as I've a couple of customers have requested I service there lawn with a cyl mower...


wristpin Sat, 15/04/2017

Welcome, but just pause and take stock before committing time and money to the Auto Cortes .  That machine was designed for professional use on cricket squares, bowling greens and grass courts etc that all have a couple of things in common; short high quality grass, mown several times a week and very little taken off each time.  Now your average lawn in predominantly Rye grass mown once a week if it's lucky , and the Auto Certes won't like it. Further more you will need a grass box which is shared with its domestic cousin the Marquis. Boxes in good condition are hard to find and tend to command a bit more than you paid for the mower.

Not wishing to throw a dampener on your project but I suggest that you look for a decent Marquis or even a cast iron Suffolk 17" Super Punch - both of which can be found with grass boxes for less than £100 on a good day and certainly got for £150. If you go for a similar aged Marquis it will probably have the same engine as your Certes and also some common chassis parts so you will have a useful source of spares.

Just a thought! 

DanAcre Sat, 15/04/2017

Hi Wristpin thank you for your reply, I did consider a marquis and might still get one my reasoning was that I've bid for a bowling green contract and I've not got the money for a new machine also the customers that have asked fescue rye mix lawn  so I can only see how I get on if not I'll sell it :) and get a marquis 

hortimech Sun, 16/04/2017

Have you ever maintained a bowling green before ? I ask because it is a lot more work than just mowing a normal lawn. As Wristpin says, it will need to be mowed very regularly when the grass is growing well, perhaps every day. You will need to feed it regularly as well and then there is the top dressing in spring and autumn, along with regular aeration. You will also need to vary the mowing direction every time you mow. 

DanAcre Sun, 16/04/2017

I've done fine lawns and tennis courts, the council currently look after it at the moment and I always vary direction no matter grass or lawn except when using a hover mower of course I hate ruts/tramlines poor work quality it even bugs me leaving foot prints behind my Hayter 

hortimech Sun, 16/04/2017

What I was trying to get across was that a multiblade cylinder mower is only the start of the machinery you will require, You will need a good scarifier, a machine that will do solid and hollow tining, a top dresser amongst others.

You will have to cut the grass down to 3mm and do this regularly, or get used to the moans from the bowlers. Mowing a bowling green is very different from mowing a lawn or indeed a tennis court, but if you get it right, it is very rewarding.

Of course, if you really want to prove how good you are, try mowing a golf green every morning at 6:00am, if you get that wrong, you really are in trouble ;-) Golfers don't moan, they get you sacked LOL


DanAcre Sun, 16/04/2017

Thank you :) don't get me started on golfers there a few public rights of way on the course near me  heaven forbid if you talk more that whisper you'd think they where at Augusta (spelling I'm dyslectic ) instead of a half council run course its rarely  the old boys tho. Thankfully I do have access to a few other bits of equipment... advice always welcome I'm hard to offend :)

gtc Mon, 17/04/2017

Tangential comment: When I was a boy of 7, there was a bowling green across from where our family spent summer holidays and I used to watch it being mowed and rolled. The rolling seemed to be endless. They used an electric mower and electric roller. The guy doing it told me that was to avoid oil and petrol spills.



wristpin Mon, 17/04/2017

Nothing new in this world - they say. The latest thing in course maintenance equipment is battery powered greens mowers and even battery ride-ons got the tees. Reduced noise, no fumes and no hydraulic oil spills.