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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

ATCO Battery

Hi all

Well I finally managed a closer look at the mower and below are a few images for info.

I would welcome any comment positive or negative, (pun intended) on what I have.

Details on the plate as far as I can tell are BE1267 and below A11. From info elsewhere on here would suggest a 12 inch built in 1967, E denoting 'electric', not sure what the rest denotes. Any way enjoy.




hortimech Tue, 20/10/2015

Well, it has been a very long time since I last saw one of those, but there appears to be a few bits missing ;-)

Two pieces of wood that the battery sat on, the battery itself (was an exide 101) and the red battery cover. It also wouldn't have those battery clips, they would have been little brass terminals that were bolted to the battery terminals.



anthill Tue, 20/10/2015

Hi hortimech,

Thanks for the quick response, as I couldn't readily find an image of a complete example I'm hoping you guys here can provide some expert opinions.

There were always going to be missing bits, not least a grass box, but as I'm planning on it being a regular user I'm looking for final functionality really. As things come to light I'll probably post in the technical area.

Electrically I'm content due to profession, it's more the basic ATCO mower knowledge I'm short on.



Edit. Just realised on a mower forum you may be more interested in the damn grass than the mower. I'll remember to use a neutral background next time.

gtc Wed, 21/10/2015

you may be more interested in the damn grass than the mower. I'll remember to use a neutral background next time.

I reckon grass is the perfect backgound.

Interesting mower.


anthill Thu, 22/10/2015

Many thanks wristpin, that'll be invaluable.

I had assumed there would have been a battery cover, something that can easily be reproduced if I can source a suitable image/pattern.

Crock clips were obviously not original but if I can find a current lead acid of the right size then post clamps should be readily available.

Wooden boards I should have known about to put under the battery, thanks for the prompt.

The handbook indicates the a built in charger, if that is the case then I'll need to check that and if functioning source a female connector for the charging socket.

Also spotted was one of the wing nuts for the height adjuster had lost it's wings.

I have tried it connected to a one of those yellow box jump starters, sadly it didn't want to move, just clicked and stopped, something stuck somewhere so need to make sure everything is actually free running.

Really looking forward to getting it back into action.


hortimech Thu, 22/10/2015

The battery was an exide 101, doubt if this is still available, but I am fairly sure that the current number is an 895, go to a good auto-electrical supplier, they should be able sort one for you.

The top cover was made from red plastic and had groove down the middle for the retaining strap.

The battery charger is the green plastic thing that is shown in one of your pictures, behind the motor and up against the rear cover.

I seem to remember that the switch was the same as an old style mini starter switch, probably before your time, but to start an original mini, you pressed a button on the floor with your foot. 


wristpin Thu, 22/10/2015


" I seem to remember that the switch was the same as an old style mini starter switch, probably before your time, but to start an original mini, you pressed a button on the floor with your foot. "

Know the one you mean, not dissimilar to the old floor mounted dip switches,  but the one shown on the parts list consists of two springy blades brought together by the cable from the handlebars.

gtc Fri, 23/10/2015

to start an original mini, you pressed a button on the floor with your foot. 

In my early-1960s Mini 850 (sliding windows) the starter button was beside the tunnel and you pressed it with your thumb.

anthill Fri, 23/10/2015

Yep it's the springy blades, very agricultural, but very reliable. The operating cable seems original and all functions as intended.

I took my test in a mini. yes

I had a guess the battery cover would have been plastic to avoid accidentally shorting the battery when removing/replacing, unsure how to overcome that but maybe fabricate a simple wooden one. Although I do know someone who fabricates fiberglass car body parts, but suspect that would probably cost more than I paid for the mower. frown

A leather(?) strap possibly original, or I could always buy a suitable nylon luggage strap and cut to size.

The motor cover comes away quite easily, not even a screw, and with the help of the handbook the charger was readily identifiable. Electrical checks should be very straight forward, finger crossed the motor windings haven't failed, a couple of simple checks idc will verify that.

Next job maybe to have a peek under the side cover and see what's lurking in there.


gtc Fri, 23/10/2015

I do know someone who fabricates fiberglass car body parts

Working with fibreglass is not all that hard. Getting/making a mould is usually the tricky bit.


anthill Fri, 23/10/2015

You wouldn't happen to have an original by any chance. wink

Built canoes at school, our moulds was made at school from canoes we had built from moulds borrowed (hired) from local authority. (Early 70's)

Borrow an original and create your own mould, not sure there's a huge demand in this case to be honest. laugh

hortimech Fri, 23/10/2015

Ah, the good old brass strips for a switch, now you might think these would be reliable, but, boy when they failed, they failed big time ;-) Usually the first thing you knew, was when the wiring very quickly burnt away So, if you take the switch apart, take very good note of where everything comes from and if any of the insulating washers look suspect, find something to replace them, doubt very much whether you will be able to buy the originals.

The battery strap was a two piece metal one, at the rear was a short piece with the lower end formed into a small U that was located into the slot you will find there. The main piece had a similar end that located into another slot at the front, the strap then went up the front of the battery, was then bent at 90 degrees across the top of the battery cover, then bent down, again at 90 degrees down the battery, The parts of the strap where connected by a little over centre clip that secured the battery etc i.e. a small amount of force has to be used.

After a bit more pondering (they can't touch you for it) I think I was wrong about the mini switch, not that it wasn't used on a battery mower, it just wasn't an Atco, I am fairly sure it Webb one.  This is all so long ago since I last touched a battery mower, never mind worked on one.



anthill Fri, 23/10/2015

I'm quickly getting the impression I'm a bit of an interloper in a bunch of petrol heads.

I was pre warned that 1967 may not be considered 'old' for you guys.

wristpin Fri, 23/10/2015

I think that you will find that the quantity of responses is about in proportion to the popularity of battery electric machines sold when they were current!


gtc Sat, 24/10/2015

I agree with wristpin. There appears to be precious little information available on such models and you're fortunate that he had the Atco service documentation.

An original Atco sales brochure would be a great aid but, although I have seen numerous Atco sales brochures on eBay, I have never yet seen one relating to battery models.

hillsider Sat, 24/10/2015
'I'm quickly getting the impression I'm a bit of an interloper in a bunch of petrol heads.

I was pre warned that 1967 may not be considered 'old' for you guys.'

As has been said already the mower that you have formed an attachment to was possibly not one of the most common machines to be found cutting lawns and as a result not too many have survived into preservation as you are finding with the lack of information available. 

This actually makes it more important that you have found this mower and taken it under your wing and I am sure that you will give it your best shot at restoration/preservation. Re your concern over its age, your mower is knocking on for 50 years old and as far as I am concerned that to me is an old lawnmower, the fact that it is battery powered just makes it a bit unique. I have often stated to other members that we are not all in the happy position of owning mowers that date from the early years.

If you look back over previous postings for this forum you will see that the chaps that are helping you feature very frequently in threads where folk are seeking help. Although the Old Lawnmower Club is a very good club to be a member of and has a reasonably large membership for what ever reason we do not seem to be able to encourage many of the membership to take an active part in the forum. 

Good luck with the project 

anthill Sat, 24/10/2015

Apologies if my quick post came across as negative, smiley options from the mobile version of the forum are limited, as with other forums I'm a member of. Know only too well how easily it is to get the wrong end of the stick.

Also appreciate that frequent forum posters are only a fraction of members with most either lurking or have only niche interest, bit like myself in this instance.

Having known absolutely zero about what I had aquired the very generous members here have in a few short days given me more than I could have hoped for and probably changed what I had originally intended, and may indeed put more effort into long term restoration rather than a basic user, for which I thank everyone here for.

As a bit more info which I will expand on later, post probably long enough already, was to replace for home use an 'old' Qualcast Concorde electric, 30 years old at least which will probably end it's days on the allotment, driven by a cheap Aldi 2 stroke generator.

Now what's the number for my fiberglass mate.

arnk Sat, 31/10/2015

I have a number of Atco battery mowers waiting restoration, but here are some pics of similar models (not mine).  I have always wanted to track down the spec of the original battery with the 9V tap, but I have never seen one or a part / model number reference to one.  The GEC motors are often burnt out by driving into an obstacle so a MCB would be a useful upgrade.


This picture shows a different model with the battery cover

Webb made a similar battery mower, probably using the same motor.






wristpin Sun, 01/11/2015

A MCB would probably be the ultimate motor protector but a simple fusible link might be more "period" and easy to achieve..

hortimech Mon, 02/11/2015

No, Webb used a different motor, in fact they used three different motors that I can remember. there were 14 inch and 18 inch machines fitted with a single speed motor, an 18 inch with a two speed motor and the good old battery wizard machine.


Superexcellent Mon, 09/11/2015

My Grandmother had one of these and I occasionally used it when I visited her. The only problem I recall is that there was no speed control so you mowed at a fast walking pace with a fully charged battery. It became more civilised after the battery partially discharged.

The grey switch isolated the battery from the motor when it uncovered the charging socket.