MOWING GRASS ' LANDS BYMOTOR.
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A New Motor-driven Machine for Use on Golf Courses, Private Estates, Parks and Other Open Spaces.
THE IDEA of applying motor power X to a lawn mower is not new, and many examples of this type of machine driven by internal-combustion engines are in use on golf courses, bowling greens, private estates, parks, and other open spaces. Some of these machines, however, are, on the score of initial cost, outside the range of the average man possessing an area of land not larger than a couple of tennis courts, whilst others are of a size which is totally unsuitable for employment on a plot of ground limited in extent.
The machine which we are about to describe, however, possesses the dual advantage of low cost and general handi ness, and is thus brought within the reach of the man. whose requirements are commensurate with his means.
A glance at the illustrations which we reproduce herewith will reveal the fact that the Atco machine, for such is its appellation, is not merely a lawn mower with an engine added as an afterthought, hut a clover and ingeniously designed machine possessing many new and interesting features_ The driving power is supplied by an air-cooled, two-stroke engine of 2i h.p., which really provides much more power than is actually needed, and, consequently, runs light.
The engine is rigidly mounted in its frame above the main rollers, the small and neat five-pint capacity petrol tank being carried overhead on vertical supports. Bowden controls for the engine are fixed at the operator's right hand, and at his left is the lever controlling the clutch, which, by the way, is of an interesting design, and consists of a hardened steel band housed in a drum, and expanded through the medium of a cam after the manner of an ordinary internal-expanding brake on a commercial vehicle chassis. Brake adjustment is effected by means of a patented device, and it is interesting to note that no fewer than 12 different features which are protected by patent are incorporated in the Atco machine.
The main roller of the mower is well worth attention. It is divided into three parts. The shaft carrying the drums or rollers is driven direct through roller chains from the countershaft, and carries a ratchet wheel which engages with pawls attached to the inside of the centre roller, thus allowing for a freewheel action in a forward direction when the clutch is out of engagement. The centre -roller is driven, whilst the two outside rollers work free on the shaft, with the result that, when turning either to the left or to the right, they act as differentials and entirely eliminate the manceuvring which is necessary with a push lawn mower of any size.
Self-aligning ball bearings are fitted to the main roller shaft, the countershaft, and the shaft carrying the circular cutters, and, in each case, the bearings are protected by sheet-metal caps, which also act as lubricant retainers and exclude all foreign matter. The circular cutters, which are 22 in. in length and nine in number, are carried in circular plates which are fixed to a hexagon shaft.
The method of fixing the blades inithe circular plates is particularly interesting. Nine slots are cut at regular intervals in each plate, the blades being of slightly tapered section (i.e., narrower at the cutting edge than at the back), and a shallow groove running the full length is cut in the side of the blade, which is then inserted in the slot of the circular plates. A powerful machine is employed to lock the blades in position by a process of clinching, the clinch taking effect on the side of each slot forces the metal into the groove and thereby effecting a permanent lock.
The drive to the circular cutters is through roller chains from the main roller shaft. The cutters are made of high-grade steel-faced material suitably hardened and tempered. Geared to the main roller shaft, they revolve at a very high speed, and are adjustable with micrometer accuracy to the stationary bottom plate. Although the Atco mower is a strong machine, it is light in construction, and, as will be seen from the illustrations, it is graceful in appearance. The manufacturers, who are Chas. H. Pugh, Ltd., of Whitworth Welts, Tilton Road, Rirmingham, state that the machine possesses a remarkable capacity for work, and that it is capable of mowing about 1,000 to 1,200 square yards in 20 minutes at a cost of less than 2d. for fuel and oil.
An interesting demonstration with the machine was recently carried out on a bowling green, the grass of which had not been cut for more than 12 months and, in consequence, was somewhat long. The Atco machine completed the mowing inside an hour, to the utmost satisfaction of the bowling green committee, who, working out the time and cost for mowing by an ordinary push machine, estimated that the work would have occupied two men for two days at a cost of about 30s., whereas the cost with the Atco worked out at about 6d., exclusive of the man's time.
The price of the Atco mower, complete with 3 large, detachable and substantially made grass box is £75, and the equipment includes a well-fitted toolbox which is rendered waterproof. Although the price is very low, there is nothing cheap about the construction of the machine. The best materials are employed in its manufacture, and all those parts
subjected to shock and stress are of malleable iron, and not cast iron, as is usually employed in the construction of lawn mowers, and wherever it is necessary or advantageous hardened steel is employed. The roller chains used for driving purposes, which are adjustable, are made by Messrs. The Alfred Appleby
Chain Co., who, as cycle chain makers, have, a worthy reputation. As many of our readers are probably aware, C. H. Pugh, Ltd., have an established reputation as manufacturers of the Senspray carburetter, and, of course, an accessory of this make is employed for carburation. The well-organized resources behind the manufacture of this accessory are alone responsible for the ability of the company to produce the Atco mower in large numbers and at a remarkably Div price. An inspection of the Atco reveals evidence of considerable thought and engineering skill in its design and construction. Its control is so simple that even a boy or a girl can operate it with the greatest of ease and efficiency. A decompressor is fitted which renders starting of the engine an easy matter. The manufacturers have a large number of Atco mowers ready for delivery ex stock, and they invite applications from the trade for local agencies all over the United Kingdom.