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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Identification of recently acquired ATCO 2 stroke, kick start

Hi ...I am completely new to the oldlawnmower club, but have recently taken up an interest in Atco 2-strokes. I currently possess a lightweight 14" and a lightweight 17", but I also have just acquired a 17" 'very heavy' kick-start that I have not yet reliably identified. The machine tag is missing from the side plate, but the villiers engine resembles a Mk8c unit, 147cc. I say, I'm not sure about this but maybe someone can help me here. It was not running, but I stripped the magneto, cleaned everything up, reset points etc. and now it runs quite when when started, although the carb is flooding quite a bit. Any info, links to mower/engine spec, spares etc would be very helpful.I have posted a few pics for clarity of these images on the base of the aluminium casing shows the number '47' this an indication of date??

Many thanks



Adrian Thu, 24/09/2020

For some reason I can't see your photos, which I could earlier today at w**k, so please excuse me if I start talking spheroids, it's because I can't see the thing!

The letter/letters stamped on the flywheel should identify the engine fitted - MkVIc serial numbers start with a H, I think, and the MkVIIIc should have numbers beginning with a W. I'm guessing it's a very early kickstart model - I've only ever seen ones with the engine with the sloping fins, so this one is new to me. Frankly, it looks a brute!

Ah - is this the one?…

The carb is the exact same model as  my Atco Standard - I got new fibre washers for it from a company called Evotek who sell spares for Seagull outboards. If you possibly can, a clean in an ultrasonic bath will work wonders for the carb and, if you can get it in, for the inside of the fuel tank - mine no longer sounds like a rainmaker when I tip it -  but it will royally screw your paintwork so don't do it if you want to preserve it.



johnRN Thu, 24/09/2020

Thanks for that Adrian ...there are striking similarities with features from the Middle weight range, but the handles on my machine have bracing members to give a stiffer handle arrangement - they form a triangular bracing.But the large diameter front steel rollers are also present on the Middle weight machine, and I suspect most everything else is very similar.

I think the engine is Mk VIIIc, but I need to check for identification marks on the flywheel. The carb is a Villiers DRGP 422478 ...I had a sticking float needle valve, and had to strip/clean the carb to stop it flooding ...seems OK now, but an ultrasonic clean would do a better job than my manual attempts.

Next job is to clean the inside of the petrol tank ...thought I had, but there was still some crap in the carb.

johnRN Thu, 24/09/2020

Thanks hortimech ....I agree there is a good similarity to the machine that the woman is pushing. I wonder if the 17" model has additional triangular bracing members, which brace the top of the handles to the frame?? ...I have completely scoured the web to find identical photos of the mower, and have come across 3 other machines which look identical ...completely ....unfortunately, none of these are dated or given any precise ID.

Its not hugely important, but it will remain unanswered in my own mind

hortimech Fri, 25/09/2020

For all intents & purposes, what you have there is a shrunk Atco 28" fitted with a two stroke engine, something I have never seen, but heard about. I would date it to the late 1940s to early 1950s.

olcadmin Fri, 25/09/2020

I've just checked the original post and for some reason the photos have been deleted from the poster's online folder. If John could send them to me by email I can upload them and sort it out.

johnRN Fri, 25/09/2020

My best guess to date is 1947, based on the '47' numerals punched into the rim of the casing, as shown on the photo ....nothing is straightforward!

olcadmin Fri, 25/09/2020

The "missing" images have now been restored.

I agree that it's a late 1940s or early 50s model. It has some similarities with the pre-1940 models but more in common with those from the early 1950s. The presence of the aluminium kick start also places into the post-1945 era I believe.

I had a quick look through some of my Atco archive photos and found these. The first is a conventional shot but the second and third are of "celebrities". The second is an actress called Jean Kent who became well known during WW2 but was particularly famous in the immediate post-war era although she appeared on TV right through to the early 1990s. I'm not sure who the third one is but if anyone recognises her, let us know.

Incidentally, some of our Atco archive can be found online.


johnRN Fri, 25/09/2020

These machines look as close as you can get to my own ...braced handles...large dia. front rollers ...catcher attachment via. 'dowel' pin and flanged bearing surface, and small cut-out in the side plate ...large dia. clutch ...Villiers (Mk VIIIc I think).

Yes ...I'm pretty sure these are identical machines to mine ...still not sure what model/variant/year they are, but I can judge the year'ish from a guessed age of Jean Kent !!!

johnRN Fri, 25/09/2020

I did have a waistcoat once ..I think.

Can't really see why Jean Kent would be promoting lawnmowers ..pretty famous actress in the day ...which I suppose is why Atco might have used her to promote mowers!

olcadmin Fri, 25/09/2020

Look closely in that archive I posted the link to and you'll spot a few more "celebrities". I'll leave it to you to see if you can see who they are. I don't know if Atco deliberately approached famous people for endorsements but I think it's likely given the number we have found.

Then there is this old favourite too...

Adrian Sat, 26/09/2020

Well, how wrong can I get? Consider me educated! I'm surprised that the MkVIIIc carried on being used by Atco so long, having been introduced in 1926 - I guess it  did the job, and there was enough demand to keep production ticking over. Maybe the floating gudgeon pin it introduced (what's one of those when it's at home, I wonder?) was like the elixir of youth? The pics also explain where my standard got its slightly too-large for the stub carb and fuel line from.

I'm assuming you don't have a grass box - pity, it's rather handsome, certainly more attractive than the lightweight versions.

johnRN Sat, 26/09/2020

cheers Adrian ...not sure when floating gudgeon pins replaced fixed ones, but possibly early '20s ..must check. Not had the piston out yet, but maybe at a future time!

Don't have a grass box yet ...although I know where to find one, so watch this space!

MkVIIIc is quite a beast, and I am not completely sure that my engine fits that I.D ...although I do think it is.


Adrian Sat, 26/09/2020

According to my book (The Villiers Engine by B E Browning) the floating gudgeon pin (Hortimech can have a badump-tish from me on that one, BTW) was intoriduced with the MkVIIIc in 1926.

Alec Sun, 27/09/2020

Hi John, 

Your mower looks very much like my 1948 Atco 17" which I purchased at the club's auction at Milton Keynes Museum in 2014. Here are a few photos.




Alec Sun, 27/09/2020

Thanks Keith, I totally missed the insert button. That is a great video, very helpful. Trying again with another photo of the same machine. 



johnRN Sun, 27/09/2020

Thanks Alec - extremely useful photos for me in confirming dates!  your machine number (594 6307) is very close to my own ...594 6181 seen on the casing....a difference of only 126 machines!

Your's is very clean!! ...and probably complete.

I have yet to acquire a grass box, but not an immediate priority. I need to fit a 'correct' kick-start spring, and kick start bump rubber for the lever ...possibly a period fuel supply line (if I can ding one that's not leaking! ....anyway, thanks for your photos ...and a date of 1948!

DJD Wed, 31/03/2021

The term "floating gudgeon pin" as I understand it refers the pin holding the connecting rod and the piston together for a start, to "float" generally meant no internal locking circlips at each end, but a brass or other metal 'button' made of soft metal that would not score the barrel or bore. A looser fit also between the gudgeon pin and the connecting rod too possibly, some motorcycle pistons need to be heated quite a lot before gudgeon pin will even begin to move inside it, once engine is at it's working temperature though, it all becomes rather similar in both systems I'd guess.