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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Would shears or clippers constitute grass cutting 'machines'?

I've sharpened a few hundred pairs in my time, the different designs, makers, materials, sizes, including 'children's' versions weights and histories could all be discussed?

Clive1997 Thu, 18/02/2021

Interesting point DJD & whilst no doubt many members may also have a passion for & collect a whole range of horticultural tools/equipment as indeed I do, the focus of the club is 'Old Lawn Mowers', that said we often discuss edgers, trimmers, leaf collectors etc which were often made/offered by lawn mower manufacturers.  Perhaps we could consider some additional forum headings to avoid our main topics on 'old mowers' being distracted by say a pair of shears, wheelbarrow or sprinkler?

That said several many members feel the committee should perhaps re-visit what type of 'Old Lawnmowers' we wish the club to be focused on, there has been a tendency recently for posts to appear relating to mowers from after 2000, this being a subject which I know annoys many.

Our welcoming page states 'Membership is open to anyone with an interest in old lawn mowers', so we need to firstly look at the definition of 'Old'. When referring to inanimate objects the definition is 'Belonging to the past, Former' , obviously when applied to living beings it would be 'The average member of OLMC', sorry that's a joke to lighten things up a bit!

Back to the plot, I know many would like our activities limited to say pre WW2 mowers, although I must admit since I have been collecting the 1950's/60's are full of fascinating changes to the mower design. 

In a recent zoom meeting with fellow museum curators we did touch on a similar subject, for example the curator from a major motor museum said that the vast majority of visitors were more interested in the car their Father/Grandad owned or the one their neighbour took them to school in, rather that a De-Dion Bouton from the 1890's. There may well be a tendency with a new generation of mower collectors to relate to a lawn mower that their father had, so even for a 40yr old this could well be a 1980's Hayter! I'm in my 60's & mowers from the 1960's do appeal, so is it not right that someone in their 40's has the same feelings for mowers from the 1980's?

It is perhaps a bit of 'an old chestnut' at our meetings & discussions, no doubt one that will be re-visited in the future.

Should we stipulate a before date in our club welcome?



Messorestore Thu, 18/02/2021

But Clive , one of my strimmers dates from 1999 !  That makes it pre- millennial.

hortimech Thu, 18/02/2021

Are you aware that 'strimmer' is a Black & Decker brand name ? I think you mean 'line' or 'string' trimmer.

Also 1999 is pretty late, I have an early 1980s pro37 line trimmer and a late 1980s Lawnflite line trimmer.


Messorestore Thu, 18/02/2021

You've clearly missed my irony. We shouldn't even be talking about strimmers - that's my point. I've got a Bosch tumble dryer I would like to talk about where the filter light keeps coming on and stopping the machine when the filters clear  but obviously  that's a totally inappropriate discussion for this club or forum. 
With regards to the copyright on the strimmer name perhaps someone could talk to Tool Store who are calling the Stihl FS40 a strimmer. String Trimmer as it was originally known was first marketed by Loblaws in Canada.

hortimech Thu, 18/02/2021

They could (if Black & Decker wanted to) get jumped on from a great height, 'strimmer' is a registered trade name owned by B&D.

You obviously have never seen the first string trimmers, which came from a company called Weed Eater (American), they were like a normal line trimmer on steriods (i.e. BIG) and were fitted with a Tecumseh 2 stroke engine, very similar to a Flymo engine of the time.

I know this is the 'old' lawnmower club, but where do you draw the line ? Lets not forget that quite a few who post here are old (I just got my covid jab today, so that shows you how old I am) and unless our knowledge is saved somewhere, it will be lost forever.


Messorestore Thu, 18/02/2021

I totally agree with you that the knowledge us oldies have would be lost. 
Please correct me if I'm wrong but weren't Weed Eater subject to a lawsuit for using the name ' string  trimmer ' which  belonged to a brand of these machines made originally and exclusively for the Loblaws chain ?

hortimech Thu, 18/02/2021

If Weed Eater was subject to a lawsuit, I would be very surprised, the guy who designed the first line trimmer started Weed Eater.

Messorestore Thu, 18/02/2021

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Line trimmer vs string trimmer. What's in a name eh ? To be honest they're all strimmers to me.           I'm probably on a final warning now ! Lol

DJD Fri, 19/02/2021

I'll take that as a no then...!

Yes, maybe an idea of just how young a machine would be to disqualify for the title of "old" but in decades to come, the 2000 stuff will eventually be old too.

Or you could have different age sections? (Old, Older, Ancient?)

Trying to make helpful suggestions here, but I don't knowingly own anything pre 1950, but some are still seventy years old....? Which is not young! My age almost.

stonethemows Fri, 19/02/2021

I'm rather reluctant to add to, and prolong, this ' old chestnut ' but as some of you will know it's a subject that rather winds me up. My view is that it is not only how many years old a machine is but also the materials, design and construction involved. In other words we are talking historic or traditional if you like; plastic, nylon, pop rivets or self-tapping screws etc do not count. For me 1970 ish is about the cut off point. If I live to 2050 ( which will make me only 96 ) a mower manufactured in 1990 will still not be an old lawnmower. It will merely be one that is sixty years old.

It's probably the same with cars, I do not regard a Triumph 2000 or a Ford Escort mk.1 as an ' old car '.


Lee Smallwood Fri, 19/02/2021

I had not known about, or been interested in old mowers and the like until 2017, when my first mower, a 1959 Suffolk colt, I purchased for something to mess around with, it's not old, not particularly rare, and not that interesting in the world of old mowers, saying that it was the mower that started my interest on the subject which has now become an obsession.

The subject covers a whole range of machines, from cutting grass, to cultivating through to the care and maintenence of lawns and grassy areas, so rollers, edgers, trimmers, strimmers and mowers should certainly be included, I feel that the age of machines shouldn't be a discouraged factor as the lawnmower has gone through so many changes throughout nearly 200 years of history, manufacturing, materials and styling are still playing a part in the history of the original budding formula. You can still buy a brand new cylinder roller mower, yes it's completely different to a budding original, but the concept hasn't changed. I'm drawn to more of the style of mower, quirky designs attract me, not necessarily the age, or if it cuts, trims, squashes, mulches, or clips,

I've learnt a lot from the club and its members since joining, from the birth of the mower, the subject is fascinating, I'm no mechanic so get a bit lost on the subject of crank shafts and valve clearances, but I will still read a thread on the subject as I'm impressed by the knowledge club members have and the effort being made to preserve these machines machanically and visually, committee members and club founders should be proud of what you've achieved, disregarding any age of mower, or type of machine would be a great shame and in my view, a mistake. 




Messorestore Fri, 19/02/2021

That's absolutely brilliant ! I've been admiring a Flymo Speedi Mo 360C in Wickes. I'll go and buy it tomorrow and stick it on the showcase forum on Sunday.

DJD Sat, 20/02/2021

I'm sorry if I've stirred up a hornet's nest of contention here.

It seems there are stalwarts on one side who own and maintain, maybe show their treasured machines, some of which go back a hundred years and often much more.

On the other hand there are those who want to see machines they remember from their childhoods/growing up years, first ever owned machines etc.

But, the majority of folk interested in garden mowers generally, have no hopes of ever owning such wonderfully old and  ancient things, so what

can the club do to interest younger people into the hobby? Tell a fifteen year old boy that something made fifty years before he was born that

'it's not old enough to be interesting'? Can anyone tell that fifteen year old where he can buy an 1880's machine with his pocket money?

I hate using the word 'dinosaur' but a few ever dwindling in numbers owners in their own little clique need to adapt and move on with the times

and welcome in new enthusiasts, not make fun of them, or the club will be seen as unwelcoming.

We all have our memories that evoke special times in our pasts, even for relatively 'modern' machines, making fun of or devaluing those points

of view can only be detrimental to the hobby of keeping old garden machines in general.

All clubs need fresh 'blood' coming in or can fail due to a feeling of trying to enter a 'closed shop' in effect. A tree that doesn't bend with the

wind will break!

Forty years spent repairing any and every machine that came my way so that I could support my family meant having to take on electrics as well, but I regret nothing in doing so, I enjoyed my work and loved serving the public and my many hundreds of satisfied customers in doing so, it seems I was wrong in trying to share some of my, I though, interesting or intriguing moments in that time, I can take a (very heavy) hint.

gtc Sat, 20/02/2021

"Old" is what my dad had when I was a kid.

"Vintage" is what my grandfathers had at that time.

Messorestore Sat, 20/02/2021

The inference that someone who has 'Old' lawnmowers is a dinosaur quite frankly is a slight. I was very lucky enough to retire early from this profession and am in my early fifties ( yes that's probably ancient to some) I hear and accept what everyone is saying about machines that they enjoyed seeing their fathers use or indeed used themselves growing up. I suggest the name of the Club be changed to ' The Lawnmower Club'  How can a machine made last year ( such as my lovely Honda HRH 536)  be classed as 'Old' ? I will continue to collect 'Old' machines. To indicate that young people could not afford to buy an old mower is quite frankly wrong. I came across a curved handled ( yes curved ) Silens Messor a couple of months ago for £35 !  You could not buy even the flimsiest new modern mower for anywhere near that ! 
I will leave the subject there and crawl away back to my cave in 'Bedrock'.


Messorestore Sat, 20/02/2021

Postscript: If DJD would like to message me through the club I would be happy to donate to him FOC a Greens Silens Messor ( lovely machine in nice condition except the previous owner put plastic rollers on it, so these would need replacing) I'll also throw in a really good Ransomes Light. This will get you up and running with old machines. Kind regards Sean.

gtc Sat, 20/02/2021

Car aficionados (and those who register and insure their vehicles) have a similar problem with their Antique, Classic, Vintage and Veteran classifications. Who decides what years define which classification, and on what basis?

According to this forum's home page: "The Old Lawnmower Club was formed in 1990 to promote the collection, preservation and display of lawn mowers made from 1830 onwards." By that definition, a mower made in any year since 1830 and considered "old" by its owner would qualify.

One of the classic car forums that I'm a member of sections the forum into eras. Those who are not interested in [whatever] era/s need not visit it/them. There's a General section for posts common to any era. However, with such a scheme the problem arises when a poster doesn't know the date of his mower -- a pretty common question on this site. Moderators have to move posts to the "correct" eras.

DJD Sat, 20/02/2021

I didn't mean to offend anyone, but I maybe pushed my points a little too strongly I admit and withdraw the D word, or would if I could, without making the stream of posts not make sense.

The offer of a free machine by Messorestore can only be interpreted as a very kind gesture by someone probably as confused as I am about the difficulty (or impossibility) of classifying each and every machine into a suitable age category. Putting say, a Budding's patents machine for instance into the same paragraph even with an Atco Balmoral even by the tyro can be clearly seen as 'wrong' somehow.

Many of the very old machines really deserve to be in museums dare I say, in my opinion, I doubt anyone uses the push 10 inch cut specimens that weight about fifty pounds on a regular basis every year, whilst Bill Blogs down the road loves the sound of his Marquis or likes to see the stripes left by his Colt or Punch which many of are still in use every single cutting season. When they go wrong, here seems to be the very place to advise him of some simple ideas to get him out of trouble. It would be a great pity to see the club run just for shows etc. that are not even happening right now.

I will endeavour to limit my comments about 'younger' machinery, unless asked about and no one else volunteers.

In closing, I am at least gratified by the amount of new topics and comments by a very wide age group about many different makes, types and ages of machines since we began to comment recently, this can only be good for the club, that way it is fulfilling its true purpose, attracting new members and interest, surely?

Messorestore Sat, 20/02/2021

My offer of a couple of old mowers still stands.

In conclusion I am not confused at all. A mower I can buy tomorrow from Wickes (other proprietors are available) is not an old mower. In understanding some of my previous comments Hemingway once said 'Irony is lost on those with a single belief'.  

DJD Sat, 20/02/2021

I do not consider a brand new plastic and electric hover as an 'old mower' and probably never will! Maybe you're pertaining to the Qualcast Concorde I mentioned a week or two ago?

That was bought in 1982, almost forty years old, still not a 'proper' mower in my eyes to be honest, but they fulfilled a purpose for millions of those who needed and wanted a small cheap machine for 'handkerchief' sized lawns, one day who knows (?), they may even be prized and eagerly sought after, we have no way of knowing or somehow influencing what the public at large decide is right or wrong, in the mower world, at least! Some open minded folk enjoy reading about any and every type of machine, most posts take only minutes to read and have no effect upon those not interested enough to read them?

I sincerely thank you for your kind offer of machines, but I doubt I could do them justice, I do not show at all, I collect machines and engines that I remember from my own childhood and youth, only they stir me sufficiently to slightly hoard and think about one day using a powered cylinder type to mow my lawns again.

We are all different and need or want slightly different things from a club, why don't we simply agree to disagree on some things and leave it at that, I do admire and respect the work you've put in on the lovely machines you've shown on here, we are very similar in some of our views, but I don't think you realise it yet.

Regards, David.

Messorestore Sun, 21/02/2021

Hi David, many thanks for your very measured reply. Yes let's agree to disagree. If you're ever down in Kent just message me and I would be very pleased to show you my collection. I do have mowers from your youth but I just don't discuss in the club. I attach an example of one which perhaps you will enjoy ( I am aware that the pull start needs replacing with the correct metal one) and also an ultra modern one. These do not form part of my collection. Kind regards Sean.

Lee Smallwood Sun, 21/02/2021

As club members, we all would like the best out of this wonderful group of individuals that like old lawnmowers, some like Pre war machines, some like certain manufacturers, but we're in this club for a reason, lawnmowers. Most of us would jump up and down with excitement at an early machine being uncovered, I would, but I would also read an article on the history of flymo, or say a new development in mower design. I cannot as an individual, decide on what's best for the club, but we as a group can make it the best club it can be, and that means including every club members views, questions, queries, and issues with positivity and unbiased support, not with sarcasm. Rant over, lovely offer of the free mowers BTW. 

Messorestore Sun, 21/02/2021

Thanks for that Lee. Infact I would love to come and see your collection if allowed, once we are able to move around.  The photos you've posted up so far of it are impressive !

Mower1 Sun, 21/02/2021

The Greens Silens Messor that I purchased having come across it just by chance when visiting a reclamation yard a couple of years ago cost me £20.00. I was lucky to find it as I didn’t notice it the first time I walked around the yard but saw it when walking back the other way. I soon dragged it out from where it had been residing for a number of years. The owner of the yard couldn’t remember where he had got it from. It dates back to 1908 and still works. It needs a bit more adjustment and happy to have it in my small collection. I went looking for wall capping stones and came home with a lawnmower :-)

Lee Smallwood Sun, 21/02/2021

Happy to email a short vid of my small eclectic mix of machines. I showed it to a friend of mine, his response was "that's two minutes of my life I'll never get back" made me chuckle as this hobby isn't for everyone. 



Messorestore Sun, 21/02/2021

That's very interesting. I was only having this discussion with another member last week. Reclamation yards are indeed a good place to find things sometimes. Garden rollers seem to be the prevalence at those places. The Silens Messor was a serendipitous find, they are a lovely machine. I've showcased a 6 inch version and late production model on the new forum if you want to compare. Did yours come with a box ?

Messorestore Sun, 21/02/2021

Ah yes Lee he may say that now. However you've sown that small seed. I bet later on when he's out and about he'll say look at that old mower when he comes across one. He could well end up being a bigger collector of mowers than us lol.

DJD Sun, 21/02/2021

Messorestore, you got me with that lovely Suffolk Super Punch, that to me is the epitome of a British mower design and workmanship and at a price that many soon found affordable, my first bought one was secondhand many years later, but I can still remember the first one I saw, with the contrasting red and green colours and the tell tale exhaust note.

The very first battery self control or 'robot' type Husqvarna I remembered seeing working at a local parts suppliers, about twenty years ago, two pic spaces were blank?