Although the lawn mower was invented in England plenty of manufacturers were soon established in other parts of the world. In the Victorian and Edward eras, for example, there were any number of manufacturers elsewhere in Europe and in the USA. Later as the number of UK manufacturers declined, names that are now familiar (and some less so) grew in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. We’re celebrating this diversity at this year’s annual rally with a theme of “foreign” mowers by asking members and enthusiasts to bring their overseas machines to put on show.
Many of these foreign companies also made machines for sale in the UK badged in retailers’ and wholesalers’ names. Often these – usually hand mowers – were sold as “own brand” by the particular reseller in their department stores and through their catalogues. In mower-collecting circles these are often known as “catalogue” machines. While many of these were made by UK-based companies – including some of the larger manufacturers – a significant number were made overseas, especially the USA and Germany. Usually the only clue to a catalogue mower’s origin is its similarity to a standard model from a particular manufacturer. Sometimes the mower would be labelled as “Made in USA” etc but this is not universal. Indeed, during the 1920s and 30s, in particular, machines made by German companies such as Brill were typically labelled simply as “Foreign”, perhaps reflecting attitudes in the UK at that time towards a recent (and soon-to-be) wartime enemy. All of these machines are welcome at the rally this year.
Incidentally, following the result of the Scottish referendum last year, machines made by Shanks don’t qualify as foreign. Following the results of the general election this might well change!