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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Ransomes Patent Garden Roller

Just finished my stint in the packing shop,so now reading Christopher's Garden Roller article.

Some years ago when I use to live in London,I had a collection to do of gardening equipment from an old Nursery in a place called Finden  in the South Downs,as I remember the drive way up to the Nursery was on a steep incline,in which I quite happily parked my van,all as I recall was picking up garden hand tools of which there were many going back to the Victorian age,they were all laid out,looking down the lines of tools they were all priced the same and very expensive at a £1 each!

I asked if he had anything else,oh yes was the answer,I have a garden roller,but it will be £20,having looked at it,it was a 2 cwt roller with fantastic castings on it Ransomes Patent Roller which roughly dates it to the 1890's.The roller was in very good order and moved quite easily,that is until loading!

I put the ramps up to the back of the van,the angle of them making them horizontal to the drive (no problem, a piece of cake!) well at 2 cwt the roller gained momentum on the drive,slowed on the ramps,then bloody hell,speeded up down the van! leaving an ornate crease in the metal bulk head behind the seats,ups!

These days when we transport rollers,I have learnt we always carry them in a special wooden cradle,so they do not move!

Kind regards


olcadmin Tue, 10/11/2020


That's good advice and a lesson well learned. I think many of us will have been caught by similar "issues". Some members I have seen coming to rallies have built cradles for their mowers to sit in the back of the car or in the trailer. Putting sidewheel mowers and similar into wooden crates or boxes would also be a good idea perhaps.

Your story reminded me of this: last year I bought a Greens motor mower in an auction and went to pick it up. No problem getting it in the back of my car despite its size and weight, but only with help from the porter at the auctioneer's. On the way back down the M1 I was suddenly struck by the thought of how to get it out again on my own. I had ramps but suspected that the weight of the mower might damage the lip on the boot or the bumper where the ramps would rest. 

The solution? I married up my trailer to the rear of the car and used the ramps to do a level(ish) transfer that avoided putting too much weight on the vulnerable parts of the car. After that it was an easy job to get the mower from the trailer onto the ground using the same ramps. Moving the mower across the gravel and lawn to the shed was another problem - until I took one of the gears from the drive out to make the roller free-wheel.

mikehpw1 Tue, 10/11/2020


I upset the seller of my first mower, I turned up in Bristol to collect this Atco in my coupe, he took one look and asked how I thought I was going to get it in. No problem I said, until he showed me to the shed. Turned out to be a 28 inch monster with box and trailing seat, attention to the detail would have helped!!!  After 2 hours of dismantling it on his lawn he was getting a tad tetchy. Any it all went in eventually as you can see

olcadmin Tue, 10/11/2020

Impressive loading! Here's my pitch, many years ago (that's me on the left) disassembling an Automower to put in the boot of my MG!

olcadmin Wed, 18/11/2020

John, it was time well spent. For anyone who's interested, here's the restored mower...

...minus the starting handle (which I have).

Alec Mon, 23/11/2020

Have made many purchases over the years of mowers, mopeds and car spares, some on impulse and with no real thought of how to get them home. I collect almost anything with an engine. At the current time I have ended up with 8 cars but not one of them is a practical hatchback or estate - 7 are saloons and 1 is a convertible Triumph Herald. 

About 14 years ago I had a Mercedes e-Class saloon and bought a couple of old rotary mowers at the club rally in MK. Managed to get them in the car, one on the back seat, the other in the boot. One leaked petrol and oil on the way home and the car stank - for a few weeks had to park it with the windows, boot and sunroof open for the smell to go. The next weekend I bought a rusty BSA Bantam frame and forks at an autojumble for just £2 but fortunately that fitted in the boot.

Bought a British Anzani Lawnrider at the auction several years ago and managed to dismantle it into 3 units and transport it home in the boot of a Nissan Primera and with the seats up. 

Have also transported Mobylette mopeds in France in the boots of an e32 and an e38 BMW 7-series - they just fit without having to dismantle anything, albeit with the boot slightly open and part of the front wheel overhanging. Also many years ago I fitted an NSU Quickly in the boot of a series 3 Jaguar XJ6.

Got stopped by the police moving a Britax-Ducati Cucciolo in the back of a Vauxhall Carlton saloon years ago late at night - they just wanted to check the bike wasn't stolen.

Took a Suffolk Punch to France in the boot of a BMW too. That fitted easily, just disconnected the handlebars.

Was once defeated by an engine and gearbox for a Vauxhall VX4/90 (the car in my avatar) in the same Jaguar. Bought it from a guy living in a new-build house with a nice block-paved driveway. He tried to load it into the boot for me, as one unit, with an engine crane but had forgotten to drain the gearbox oil which spilled all over the new driveway. It just wouldn't fit into the boot of the Jag so eventually had to ask a favour from a friend with a van.  

Only car I have actually damaged loading it, has been my wife's Lexus IS last year - but that wasn't mower or bike related. I was bringing back cheap wine and our luggage from France - managed to break and unhook the boot stay mechanism but luckily not the wine bottles :-)



Adrian Tue, 24/11/2020

The OP  reminds me very much of a friend's dad who was telling me that in his youth he was loading staddle stones he'd bought into the back of a Mk1 Ford Escort, when he realised that the last one had gone in a lot more easily than the rest...

I'm sure you've all guessed - the front wheels were just about off the ground!

I have a Berlingo - I've only been embarrassed by something not fitting  once, and that was a bookcase...