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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Stoic mowers, they did keep going!

Stowe school is less than ten miles away, the pupils of which are termed Stoics also.

The walk behind machines I doubt were a big success, they were a bit big and clumsy if I'm truthful, but they were often bought for really rough areas where rougher grass and shrubs, weeds  etc. were encountered, saving the nice cylinder machine for just the lawn. Hitting stumps, large dogs bones, metal objects etc. could never stop the crankshaft from getting bent, or if you were luckier, just the ally shear key on a Briggs engine go, but then still a bill to get fixed unless you could do it yourself.

The saving feature was the very crude, but effective front wheels height adjustment system, a simple plunger and hole system with a spring to keep it all in place completed the ensemble.

I looked after a few, you either heard nothing from owners for years, or some owners would never seem to understand that you can't 'mow' tree stumps, old rusty iron and foot long dog bones!

The last one I worked on I had to fit one of those Australian transistorised switch type things in places of the points and capacitor. It went well after and I imagine they still have it, I think I may have fitted a second hand crank and something else was wrong, maybe it was later type and the points opening area wasn't there, the device was cheaper than a new coil.

I still have new blades for them, finding them two weeks ago is what brought back the memories.

Adrian Wed, 13/01/2021

There's at least one Thomas Crapper manhole cover at Stowe school as well. Somewhere  I have a photo, though I only had a Voigtlander Brillant on me when I found it so the quality is... interesting.

hortimech Wed, 13/01/2021

Stoics were a great success, it even went into a type 2. Any rotary will bend the crankshaft if it hits something solid, the rotation point moves from the centre to the tip and if you are unlucky, the crank twists and bends. Hayter introduced a rotary with a crank support (sorry I cannot recall the model) and gave it a lifetime guarantee against the crank bending. They told us this on a service course, the following week I had to tell them I would be claiming for a new crank on one. A user employed by a local authority had found the 'immovable object'.


DJD Thu, 25/03/2021

I think most Stoics didn't have an ordinary single blade, they were like Hayterettes, it was either a blade carrier shaped like an ordinary blade, but two 'bladelets' one on each end, that could simply swing around upon hitting anything hard, on a waisted bolt with a very large head for the thread size involved. The Hayterette of course used a very large round blade carrier with four small swinging blades on it, these were copies of farm type hay making mowers I believe.

I too experienced the later expensive Hayter 48's and 56's with the so called friction drive 'effort' fitted, some had a Sturmey Archer chain ratchet sprocket set up too and also plastic split sheaves pulleys and what not, a big step backwards in my humble opinion, not forward!

wristpin Thu, 25/03/2021

The push Stoic was a good bit of kit - so long as someone was prepared to push it all day. The power propelled version was not as robust and *** proof ; the one way sprag  bearings in the rear wheels were prone to becoming “ no way”.

My memory of the blade set up is of a disc with three rigidly mounted blades bolted to it. 

The model started life as a Landmaster painted blue but later under the Webb brand were red.

I’ve used the term power propelled but once upon a time the usual term was self-propelled;  however, one day in conversation with a customer it transpired that he thought that meant that he would have to push it himself. From then on it was power propelled or power drive and latterly auto-drive; giving rise to the workshop groan joke - it oughta drive but it doesn’t .


hortimech Thu, 25/03/2021

there were mark 1 and mark 2 Landmaster Stoics, both blue and all had the cutter disc described by Wristpin. Local authorities bought a lot of them, they were reliable (if you discount the one way bearings used on the driven version) and cheap. I seem to remember that they were still available for sometime after Atco-Suffolk bought Webb.

There are still people out there prepared to push a mower all day, but most have been replaced by costlier ride-on mowers.


DJD Fri, 26/03/2021

Thanks for the interesting replies, I only dealt with the earlier blue Landmaster ones myself and yes, I can vaguely remember three rather than two moveable bladelets now, thanks for the reminder.

I do seem to remember a camshaft driven small pulley and a belt on one model, or was it a chain? Also a poor looking guard?My memory fails me now.

wristpin Fri, 26/03/2021

The cam driven shaft was what Briggs termed the Auxiliary Power Take Off shaft or APTO for short, and rotated in the opposite direction to a similar looking engine on, say, a Hayter Harrier: much to the disappointment to someone who thought that they had found a solution to a failed engine on either application.