Skip to main content
Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Unknown toy mower

Does anyone have one similar or know the maker ?

I bought this from a senior gent fairly locally ( Mid Suffolk ) but he did not know much about it. It was bought for his daughter I'm guessing in the '60's and was played with regularly; mind your fingers !. I have found no trace of a transfer, badge, plate or stamping which gives any clue as to it's manufacture.

It has a 7" cutting width, the wooden rear roller is also 7" wide and 7" in diameter. The width overall is 12", the height to the top of the handles 26"

The design of the cutting cylinder and the ' outrigger ' front rolls suggest to me that it's origin could be the US. I'm also thinking that it's possibly a one off home made machine, 

The wooden rear roller and chain drive must be unusual for a toy ?

I have not yet had the opportunity of trying it but have no doubt that it is perfectly capable of cutting grass.

Here's the comparison with a Webb Miniature

Would be very interested to have any information.


gtc Wed, 24/01/2018

Looks more than a toy to me (and it would be a dangerous one at that). Probably intended for mowing narrow spaces.

wristpin Fri, 26/01/2018

Perhaps it's a one-off and the work of a talented man in a shed; possibly someone used to working with metal  - and wood?  With the Suffolk connection perhaps they worked for a mower manufacturer in either  Ipswich or Stowmarket?

Clive1997 Fri, 26/01/2018

Hi Colin

Any ideas on type of wood used for rear roller? May eliminate the US connection?

stonethemows Sat, 27/01/2018

. Many thanks for the response. So far I'm rather going with Wristpin's view. However bearing in mind that during WW2 there were thousands of US air force personnel stationed all over Suffolk, some of whom probably stayed on and settled here, I'm not yet ruling out a US origin.  

Here is a more detailed view of the rear roller - 

I've no idea what the wood is Clive; it's probably also had too many coats of preservative to give a reliable impression. The appearance at either end is even less help.

hillsider Sat, 27/01/2018

It does not explain the very low handles but is it possible that your mystery machine was built as a Bent Cutter?  I remember seeing some Bent Cutters displayed at the OLC annual rally a few years ago and if I remember correctly they had cylinders very like the one on your machine.


Supergrass Sun, 28/01/2018

Bent cutter is a good call,that would explain why the front rollers are set to the side.Nowadays we just run a rotary over the plot.

hillsider Sun, 28/01/2018

Hopefully someone will find a photo of one for us but as I remember it a bent cutter looks much like a side wheel mower but the blades of the cutting cylinder are spaced far apart in order to catch the long spindly stems (Bents) that often grow out of lawns. Most cylinder mowers will roll these stems flat and they just spring up again after the mower has passed over them. 

As suggested though the problem is solved if you use a rotary mower - nothing escapes then.

wristpin Sun, 28/01/2018

Hillsider’s explanation re bents reminds me that when at school in the 1950s the master in charge of cricket had us all on hands and knees progressing across the square picking bents. The one who picked the most got a Mars Bar. May not sound much but sweets had only just come off WW2 rationing.

stonethemows Mon, 29/01/2018

The bents cutter idea is quite plausible, however the handle height of 26" would make it very uncomfortable for adult use.

Bearing in mind the design, construction and materials would anyone care to pin down a date ?  It may not have been new when it was given as a present of course. 

Harvey Fri, 09/02/2018

I am by no means an expert but pose three possible explanations for discussion, if you like:-

1) The handles have been shortened for a child to use.  A bit unlikely given the narrow width and small size overall of the machine.

2) It is an 'apprentice exercise' model.

3) It is a 1/2 or 3/4 size salesman's demonstrator made for easy transportation.  In that case though one would assume that some of the more experienced club members may have come across a full size identical one, although it could have been made just to demonstrate how a bent cutter works and not be an exact miniature of a real one



hdtrust Sat, 10/02/2018

Well,well,well,so that's where it went.It is infact a Childs mower, a prototype made in the early 1960's by HC Webb Birmingham, I happen to know the designer! There has been changes, the rear roller was made of tin when I last saw it in the 70's and it should have a full front roller.The rear roller you have is made from ash (Know your wood grain)

When the national Trust was setting up their lawn mower Museum at Trerice Cornwall,they also had prototype machines from Qualcast,Webb and Suffolk and for a time all the machines destined for Cornwall were stored at the Suffolk factory,

So I should quiz the chap you got it off again,his sandwich box must have been on the large side! or was it a Webb,1961,62,63,64, model!

A note for the younger members look up Johnny Cash