The coming year marks the centenaries of two of the biggest and best-known names in the history of the lawn mower: Atco and JP. We'll be celebrating these two significant landmarks during the year online and, hopefully, at our rallies and events.
With its original Atco Motor Mower, which we collectors call the "Standard", Charles H Pugh manufactured the world's first mass-produced motor mower. Less than a thousand of the original 22-inch-cut "Oval Frame" model were made in 1921. But improvements to the design from 1922 and introduction of additional sizes using a standardised range of components meant that prices were much lower than similar models from other manufacturers. Production increased rapidly and by the mid-1920s the company was making many thousand each year, all supported by a network of service depots and mobile agents. Many of our members have examples of these early Atco machines in their collections. New designs in the 1930s and more innovations in the years that followed kept Atco at the forefront of the industry and there are plenty of different models, sizes, and configurations for collectors to discover. The company has been through manay changes in the past 100 years but its current incarnation continues.
Jerram & Pearson took a different approach by targeting the higher end of the market with mowers known for the quality and precision of the engineering. The company had links with other high-precision manufacturers, including in the aircraft industry, and its machines became known as "the Rolls-Royce of lawn mowers". Its original JP Super hand mower was quickly followed by motor mowers, all using high precision components made from materials such as aluminium which were innovative at the time. None of these machines were cheap but the quality of manufacture means that a relatively high proportion of them have survived and we know from correspondence that there are people who still use very old examples to mower their lawns today. JP mowers are also popular with collectors because of the stylish and innovative designs that make them good to look at and "interesting" to preserve or restore. Sadly the company went out of business in the 1970s but remnants of its designs can still be found in mowers produced since then by Dennis which took over some of the patents.
We'll be featuring news about Atco and JP during 2021 and we hope to feature them both at our Annual Rally in May, should circumstances allow. In the meantime, best wishes for 2021 to all of our club members as well as the enthusiasts and passers-by who visit our website.