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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Mountfield Rotary Mower with Kirby Engine


Last summer, I bought a Mountfield M2 rotary mower with  a Kirby Techumesh engine mounted on it with a wind up handle on it. These are very similar to the the so called brick top Mowers seen in the USA and Australia. 

wristpin Thu, 03/03/2022

For the record, it’s Tecumseh but that engine on the M2 is an Australian built Kirby Lauson. In the 1950s our village Church had two M2s for maintaining the churchyard and I walked many a mile, earning some pocket money doing the mowing. To the best of my knowledge, Mountfields of that era wold have been a lighter shade of green, usually including the engine, but some engine blocks  were white, with green tanks.   Kirby, Tecumseh, Briggs and Victa  all tried those wind up “ coffee grinder” starters which, so long as the engine was in good order, worked reasonably well; however as time went on, weakening springs, and engines past their best, resulted in “no go” and the wind up starter would be replaced by a rope wrap pulley or a recoil unit.

Why were Mountfield fitting Australian built engines? It was once explained to me that the possible reason was that with Villiers vertical shaft engines ( and the Company) being somewhat past their sell by date and US made ones attracting high rates of import duty, the Kirby units from a Commonwealth country attracted less, or even nil import duty. True or not, it sounds plausible. Kirby Lauson engines, this time a two- stroke, put in a final appearance in the UK as the power for 18 and 21” Flymo Contractors.



Triumph66 Fri, 04/03/2022

Thanks Angus for the background information. Yes I agree the chassis should be a lighter green but this was done by the previous owner. I can imagine the mechanism would eventually fail but it's a novelty to use though.