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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers


Reference the piece in Grass Box No.112 'Successful Mower'

I have recently been discussing with a few colleagues the numbering on Gamages Champion range of mowers which were sold over at least a 30 year period, each having a Model No.

I was intrigued to see Thomas Gunn's Success No.3 & with a bit of digging can now ad a bit more.

In 1921 they advertised the 'Success' No. 2 with a similar style to the 1927 ad shown in the article, but also mentioned their 'Success' No.1 with larger driving wheels, the No2 available in 8in to 16in & the No.1 8in to 14in.

By 1933 they had reached No.33, but assume they have simply linked their numbering system to the year rather than having produced 30 other models in the intervening period! 



Messorestore Sat, 07/11/2020

Hi Clive, given the information you have supplied do you think that they simply followed the Millard method of numbering given the fact that they had almost identical copy mowers ? 

Clive1997 Sat, 07/11/2020

Not sure, but feel the retailers simply added their own numbers, as they did with names, supply does appear to come from more than one manufacturer.

Messorestore Sat, 07/11/2020

Wow, that must have caused a right headache in the back office, trying to marry up invoices and stock reconciliation, when creating your own numbers from multiple external suppliers - remembering  that manual ledgers would have been used since computers weren't around then.Tracing and warranty issues must surely have ensued.  

wristpin Sat, 07/11/2020

remembering  that manual ledgers would have been used since computers weren't around then.Tracing and warranty issues must surely have ensued. 

Actually we did quite well and the Kardex system didn’t crash!

wristpin Sun, 08/11/2020

Well, not unless someone pulled a drawer out and dropped it.

Ah, you had a someone as well ! The pre digital equivalent of the cup of coffee over the keyboard.

hdtrust Sun, 08/11/2020

Hi everyone.

Up to now I've sat back and listened now for my input.

Clive I can see what you are doing and making slow progress,which is about right when looking at any type of catalogue machine,the main problem you will find is trying to get a complete run of year advertisements where you can see the changes,the other is most companies who produced this type of item also tended to use the same adverts year after year.The hardest part is to find out which manufacturer actually made them,which is all great on paper,until someone comes up with a machine that is different and does not match the paperwork!

As for the Milliards Champion please do not try and mix it up,as there were over 5 different retailers of that machine and it was actually sold in a different way,but still a catalogue machine

Lesson No1

I learnt this the hard way - before computers!

When I started out in 1978 researching the history of lawn mowers (before allot of you were born!) The history was coming in thick and fast and for a while not knowing any better,I was collating evidence very quickly,then one day I had a thought, this was too easy! Looking around I actually found that what I had done,inadvertently was to have Ransomes version of their history,which is OK to appoint,but not what I wanted.That's where the hard work started and is still going on today.

The subject is very complex and probably covers the same vast areas as the history of the Motor Car,which most certainly cannot be put into one book.

For me catalogues from Companies would be a last resort,as Clive is probably discovering as there is no safe ground to cross reference.Even for us who happen to hold the old Kardex system for Ransomes and Greens,as well as Automower,there are errors just like with computers because people make mistakes.

I do happen to have a system here that does throw up questions but answers as well and is its self 40 years old!

Lesson 2

Pillars and Foundation stones to allow cross referencing.

We run 4 histories running side by side,but separate

1,We have every single patent copy to include plans,also abridgements for UK and Scotland,in hard copy.(This also includes imports via their Agents)

2,We have copies from over 70 different periodicals of write ups,adverts and features,this covers every single year from 1825 through to 1960, in year endings to cover obscure books like The Cottage gardener which only ran for 15 years and ended in 1897.Also the Iron monger,and the Engineer.A full run of CGA year books

3,Company histories,ledgers,and kardex systems.

4,Retailers, and wholesalers  catalogues

Complex to say the least,and was very expensive to collate,but as they say while sat writing this,if I stretch out,I'll have it all at my finger tips!

Don't forget to wear a mask in the library!

Kind regards