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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Another new member!

Hello all!

A new member, so I'll start with a back story, which may be somewhat familiar to some!  Always had an interest in machines and engines, so lawnmowers were a natural attraction.  I acquired my first lawnmower engine at the age of about 10, a non running Suffolk 75G 14, possibly a model 1A as it had a rope start and the square tank.  It had been left abandoned in an old shed at the Manse, and when the new Reverend moved in a brand new Suffolk Super Colt, still using the 75cc engine was bought as its successor, and I was given the duty of cutting the Manse lawn with it every week for the princely sum of £3. Got the old engine up and running with the help of the local lawn mower repair man. As usual it did not require much more than a clean of the points to get it going, although the fuel tank had rusted out.  And so my love for Suffolk mowers and their engines in particular began.

Over the years I had acquired a number of Suffolk mowers and engines, most of them giving up their engines for one project or another.  Forty years on and I am now somewhat reluctant to see a mower go for scrap, even if they are not worth much.  Sobering to think that they are now older than the 1920's Atcos that would have been considered collectable back then!

So now I seem to have caught the bug for collecting 60 year old plus mowers.  The first mower I bought specifically as a collectable was a Qualcast Commodore as it was the model of mower that my Grandfather had, and had a Suffolk Engine.  Was kind of disappointed that my Uncle inherited that one rather than me, especially as I had used it myself almost every time I visited, right up until my Grandmother moved out in the 1990's and it was a very well looked after machine.

The two latest I have added is an early Hayterette with the Villiers Torque-Master 2 stroke, and a very early 1950's Suffolk Punch.

The Villiers engine needs a coil and an air filter, but otherwise seems OK.  The Suffolk is a runner and in very original/complete/straight condition, albeit with quite a lot of surface rust, particularly on the grass box. Kind of looks like what I would expect a cared for machine to look like after mowing lawns every year for 70 years without fuss!


wristpin Thu, 15/07/2021

Welcome to the forum. I too  have always had a soft spot for the Qualcast Commodore. Mine has been built up from the best parts of three that were in various states of abandonment. If you are looking for a coil for the Villiers it may be worth a word with George at Villiers Parts.


Ian H Fri, 16/07/2021

Yes, my Commodore is also somewhat of a "Bitsa"  The original engine had a bad big end knock, which I did not worry about too much as there was no big end bearing to spin or oil pressure to lose, but when the coil failed on top of that I decided it was the end of the road for that engine.  It is quite an early version of the mower, the original engine had a split pin dipstick in sump instead of block yet a full cowling.  However it just so happened that I had a spare engine that I had found at school at the back of a cupboard in the technology department, and was allowed to take home and keep.  This was the very earliest type of Suffolk Engine fitted to the Commodore, with the wrap around two piece cowling type of design, and spent a short while powering my 5 inch gauge petrol locomotive.  It has now been requisitioned and fitted to the Commodore and the old engine used as a source of spares. I am also in the somewhat slow process of upgrading the locomotive to a 98cc Super Punch based engine, as in this application the 75cc unit was a bit underpowered and Suffolk engines get rather hot if subjected to continuous use at 3,000rpm WOT...

Lee Smallwood Sun, 18/07/2021

Hello Ian, welcome to the Club, my obsession with old mowers also started with a Suffolk, a very unloved Colt, now my collection of Suffolks has grown along with around 40 other old push and motor mowers dating from 1880 to 1980, my Suffolks are, Colt, Swift, Super Swift, Galaxy, Corporation, Eden, Viceroy mk 1 and Pony, there are plenty more of this marque that I'd like to acquire, the search never ends.