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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Four Vintage Lawnmower Printing Blocks.


Bought 4 different Lawnmower Printing Blocks, - Atco, Suffolk Punch, Ransomes and my personal favorite the Suffolk Viceroy.                                                                                    It may be worth looking to see if I can find old adverts which these print blocks appear, there is also for sale a Webb Printing Block but I will not pay £80 for it as good as it is,  I will add to this post any adverts I find showing the above prints, if indeed there are any to be found. 

stonethemows Mon, 09/12/2019

An interesting addition to a collection; I'm sure you will find ads using these images though they may not be from your actual blocks.

Apart from the mowers, I have collected many adverts, mainly pre-war,  from various sources over the years. They form a useful archive from several points of view and are well worth keeping.

I'd like to know what you used to get the prints - ink, press etc. I have a number of blocks including a couple of Barnard Bishop and Barnards, must be 140 odd years old, kindly on loan from The Budding Foundation.  I've been trying to work out how to get some prints without the proper equipment, in advance of asking the chap in the Print Shop at Milton Keynes Museum next May during the course of the Annual rally.

Clive1997 Mon, 09/12/2019

Very interesting & I'm sure I can turn up some advertisements that your printing blocks were used for, the Atco looks to be the battery powered machine, all look to be late 1960's? There appear to be many different images in the ad's I have looked at so far, & assume there may have been numerous printing blocks.

Colin has beaten me to it mentioning the Barnard, Bishop & Barnard blocks he has on loan from me, but heres possibly an older one, Thomas Green & Sons Silens Messor with the print block having been used for a brochure printed in 1872. Images of both attached. Could well have been the actual block used as I would assume they didn't print much in those early years.

Lee Smallwood Mon, 09/12/2019

As the misses still can't get her head around the obsession I have with these old machines, I was only allowed to grab one of these printing blocks, another little mower trinket I have for the shelf in the kitchen, I'll be interested in how these were used, I don't think it would stand up to a sharp blow without shattering so maybe pressed on, I'll be looking forward to more replies on this subject. 

John.Sutherland Mon, 09/12/2019

Nothing technical, I used a basic method.

After attaching the plates to blocks of pine timber with double sided tape, I pressed the images onto a standard ink pad (the sort used for rubber date stamping) and transferred the blocks onto paper pressing down with a secondary piece of wood equal in width but slightly longer in length, this allowed me to distribute the weight when pressing down.

First attempt failed to get a full image, the reason for this was because I was pressing onto a hard surface with a single piece of paper, I repeated the process onto a pad of paper, it reduced the hardness and offered better results. 

You can of course use a similar method on a bigger scale by making a wooden frame to hold your type casts, then use an ink roller for wider coverage followed by cartridge paper and screwing down a heavy lid / top plate in order to capture the print.I recall using this method many years ago during Art Class. 

I too looked into a basic letter press but proved expensive for just these four images, so back to basics worked out.   

John.Sutherland Mon, 09/12/2019

Just Brilliant and good to see other examples.  I have not gotten around to looking for adverts, I have been renovating a rusty Grass collector bucket, its from a different model but fits another whichworks well for me. 

Lee Smallwood Tue, 10/12/2019

Brilliant, had a go with my son with the Falcon block, as said previously, to hard a surface and it doesn't print, but a thicker softer area allows the ink to penetrate the surfaces better. Brilliant, detail is amazing.

hdtrust Wed, 11/12/2019

It's good to see lawn mower printing blocks,especially the early ones,nice one Clive,a copper plate!

In general most printing blocks after use were re melted down to produce new,but it appears some got away! The lead used is printing block lead which has antinomy added for hardness, and is quiet expensive to buy.

I remember years ago producing our first book in the 1980's,we actually used an Original Hydleberg printing press,where all the blocks and writing had to be placed on the pages,the blocks were made from a machine called an interset,the lead was melted by the machine to make the blocks,both machines were from the 1920's from the old Star offices in Sheffield,We'd stripped them out and carted them across the city behind a Ransomes traction engine,then re-built them in a friends shed,then found we needed 3 phase to get the things working!

One thing is for sure since the invention of the Caxton printing press,printing throughout the ages was prolific to include early lawn mowers,it just means looking harder Clive

We have all the printing blocks for Automower which include all their products but the weight is immense!

Warpa Wed, 11/12/2019

These look wonderful, would be nice to have one or two as an ornament. I wouldn't know where to start looking for something like that though.

RansomesRob Wed, 11/12/2019

Hi Warpa. Go on E Bay. Type in Vintage Mower Print Block. There are a few available, overseas though. Cheers. Rob