In many respects the Suffolk Punch was the first 'modern' motor lawn mower.
When the Suffolk Punch was introduced in 1954 it represented more of an evolution than a revolution in mower design. Many of the design features were adopted by other manufacturers in later years and most domestic cylinder mowers still have a similar layout and appearance.
The major components were made from pressed steel and light weight alloys when most of the machines from rival manufacturers were still being built to pre-World War Two designs with materials such as cast iron and heavy gauge sheet steel. The Punch was also one of the first popular mowers be fitted with a compact but powerful four stroke petrol engine. This was manufactured by the company to its own design, unusual in an era when most mowers had either Villiers or JAP engines.
The mower was made by Suffolk Iron Foundries of Stowmarket which had a long history of making agricultural and horticultural machinery. The company made its first hand operated mowers some years before but the Punch was its first motorised model.
The Punch was named after the well known breed of 'Shire' horse and the company continued the equestrian theme with models introduced later in the 1950s and 1960s with names such as the Colt and Pony.
The Suffolk Punch was a very popular machine and many thousands were sold in the UK and overseas. The Suffolk models were among the most reliable domestic motor mowers ever produced in the UK and many examples continue in use to the present day. Although not universally popular with collectors they do nevertheless have a small but growing band of loyal and dedicated devotees.
Suffolk eventually became part of the Atco Qualcast group of companies and the name passed into obscurity for a number of years. However, the company's original base in Stowmarket remains a site of lawn mower production and is currently the headquarters of the Atco Qualcast group which is now owned by Bosch. The Suffolk Punch name was recently revived for the company's range of mid market cylinder mowers.