Reel Size Really Isn't Everything

Not surprisingly perhaps, our last survey showed that most collectors have average sized mowers in their collections. The majority of people taking part said the largest machine they have is between 13" and 24" wide, which is the range where most walk-behind motor mowers sit. Only the brave (or perhaps those with wider gates) can usually add machines over 36" wide to their collections.

Collectors Start Young

Our most recent visitor survey suggests that the most popular time to start collecting is while still at school. Of the 198 collectors who voted, 50 started while at school but only eight obtained their first old lawn mower when nearing or during retirement. Of course the figures may be slightly skewed because this is a relatively new hobby and many collectors would have left school years before it became popular. 

Horse Mowers Spotted In Essex

Thurrock Council in Essex came up with a novel solution to cutting the grass at one of its sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) recently. The council called in local heavy horse experts Hawthorn Heavy Horses who used a specially adapted Dennis gang mower.

 Holly the Suffolk Punch at work with the Dennis mower.

The mower is fitted with a set of jockey wheels to make it easier to control and steer. According to Liz Wood, trees officer at Thurrock, Holly the Suffolk Punch (that's another lawn mower name, by the way) will be helping cut the grass throughout 2010. Collectors and enthusiasts will be familiar with the old fashioned pony and horse drawn lawn mowers from period up to World War Two but it's very unusual to see horses with modern mowers. What a great way to manage grassland in a natural setting without disturbing wildlife.

The mower has a special bogey at the front to make it easier to control.

Enthusiasts Prefer Unrestored Mowers

The results of our latest visitor survey suggest that a minority of enthusiasts prefer to collect (or see at exhibitions) mowers that have been restored. Of the 177 site visitors who voted just 25 per cent preferred restored mowers whereas 36 per cent (almost half as many more) said they preferred unrestored machines. The remaining 38 expressed no clear preference.

To restore or not always makes for heated discussion when collectors and enthusiasts get together. The arguments vary but generally fall into two broad camps. On the one hand is the point that by restoring a mower to something like original condition the collector is preserving it for the future and making a nicer exhibit for the events they attend. On the other hand the collectors who do not restore argue that machines in original condition are more authentic and by leaving alone they are not destroying (or covering up) ancient paintwork and other evidence of old production and engineering techniques that might be of value to future generations. It's a debate that's likely to continue for some time. In the meantime the results of the poll are presented below.


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