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ATCO was the brand used by the Atco (Atlas Chain Company) Limited is a British mower company which operated as "Atco Ltd" from 1981 to 1990, the company made lawn mowers and garden tools. They had a wide range of high quality lawn mowers including lawn and garden tractors.
Atco Ltd was formerly known as Charles H Pugh Ltd pre 1981 and re-named in 1981 as Atco Ltd. Charles H Pugh Ltd got re-named due to a incident in the early hours of November 5th a fire destroyed the old Charles H Pugh site and stock, resulting in its complete closure and move to East Anglia as Atco Ltd.
In 1991 Atco Ltd became Atco-Qualcast Ltd. In 1995 Atco-Qualcast Ltd was acquired by Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany and ran as Atco-Qualcast Ltd till 2011, when Bosch sold the drawings, plant, equipment and tooling for the entire existing mower range to the Allett Mowers division of Turfmech Machinery Limited. Allett commenced manufacturing the previous range of Atco mowers with Allett branding instead of Atco, and with new model names. Also in 2011 Bosch licensed the Atco brand name to Global Garden Products Italy S.p.A. who launched a new Atco branded range of lawnmowers.
The First Motor Mower Edit
In the 1920s Atco as brand name of Charles H Pugh Ltd. was one of the most successful companies to emerge during the period. The Atco motor mower, launched in 1921 was an immediate success. Just 900 of the 22in cut machines were made in 1921, each costing £75.(a huge sum of money in those days) Within five years, annual production had accelerated to tens of thousands. Prices were cut and a range of sizes was available, making the Standard the first truly mass produced motor mower.
Historic mower modelsEdit
Lawn & Garden TractorsEdit
All the below products from (1980–1992) are now obsolete, parts are also obsolete for these products.
Made In U.S.A (1980-85)Edit
Atco first started marketing lawn and garden tractors in 1980, these lawn tractors where not made in the U.K but where manufactured in the U.S.A by MTD Lawnflite. MTD made these machines to Atco's designs and spec with Atco's name on them, another example of badge engineering.
The American built Atco lawn and garden tractors model numbers are: The "E" at the end of model number on these tractors stands for electric start, the 7/32 never had electric start but did have pull start.
- 7/32 - 3 Speed with Reverse, 7 h.p Engine, 32" Cutter Deck
- 8/32E - 3 Speed with Reverse, 8 h.p Engine, 32" Cutter Deck
- 8/36E - 3 Speed with Reverse, 8 h.p Engine, 36" Cutter Deck
- 11/36E - 3 Speed with Reverse, 11 h.p Engine, 36" Cutter Deck
- 16/42E - 4 Speed with Reverse, 16 h.p Engine, 42" Cutter Deck
Made In Britain (1986-92)Edit
In 1986 Atco stopped production for the American built lawn and garden tractors and started producing their own at Stowmarket in the United Kingdom. The first new model introduced in 1986 was the 11/36, the 11/36 was so advanced it won the "Best Grass Cutting Machine of The Year" in 1986. Since the introduction in 1986, the stylish range of Atco Lawn Tractors set the new standards of performance, reliability, comfort and ease of handling for ride on mowers.
The full model range of British Atco lawn and garden tractors are:
- 6/30 - 3 Speed with Reverse, 6 h.p Engine, 30" Cutter Deck
- 8/30 - 3 Speed with Reverse, 8 h.p Engine, 30" Cutter Deck
- 8/36 - 5 Speed with Reverse, 8 h.p Engine, 36" Cutter Deck
- 11/36 - 5 Speed with Reverse, 11 h.p Engine, 36" Cutter Deck
- 12/36 - 5 Speed with Reverse, 12 h.p Engine, 36" Cutter Deck
The following lawn tractors were sold with a optional powered grass collector: 8/30, 8/36. The Atco 12/36 lawn tractor was only sold with a powered grass collector.
Atco Lawn Tractors where ideal for cutting rough areas of longer grass such as orchards and paddocks as well as large domestic lawns.
Atco also offered a trailer to fit all models and had a tipping feature to empty it. The Atco trailer was robustly constructed from galvanised steel; the paint is powder-coated then baked on for long term durability. The full 10 cu. ft. hopper with a tipping action made it ideal for moving logs compost or any other material from one part of a grounds to another with more speed and less effort.
- Cutting efficiency
There was a choice of 30" or 36" cutting widths, both decks having the extra cutting power of twin blades. The unique 'V' channelling in the deck ensures that grass cut by one blade is not thrown in the path of the other blade. This reduced the work-load on the blades and their bearings leading to a longer life. Grass is ejected not from the side as with many other tractors but from he rear. This means that the non-collecting models can be hitched to a towed sweeper to collect grass cuttings, leaves and other debris.
- Performance and power
The Atco Lawn Tractors where powered by either 8 h.p., 11 h.p., or 12 h.p. engines, synchro-balanced to keep vibrations to a minimum. The 7.25 pint fuel tank provides approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes of continuous mowing. Two notable features are sturdy front axles which stand up to the roughest treatment and wide pneumatic tyres to give all round stability without damaging the lawn surface.
Atco also was the first ride-on lawn tractor to have a powered grass sweeper, it had power take off (PTO) which powered a belt driven sweeper at the rear of the machine.[citation (source) needed] The Atco PTO worked independently of the blades, so you can cut the lawn without collecting the clippings or vice-versa. The complete system was easy to operate. The collector unit could be quickly fitted and removed without the need for tools. Furthermore, you could adjust the height of the sweeper brush and empty the grass collection completely without having to leave the tractor seat.
Atco stopped making lawn tractors in 1992 and has only made mowers since.
Commodore - Domestic Petrol Cylinder Mower (1986-92)Edit
Available in four different size cuts: 12", 14", 17", 20" so there is a model for every size of domestic lawn.
Models Numbers for the Atco Commodore are:
- Commodore B12 - Recoil Start
- Commodore B14 - Recoil Start
- Commodore B17 - Recoil Start
- Commodore B20 - Recoil Start
- Electric Start Models - Available from April 1988
- Commodore B14 - Electric Start
- Commodore B17 - Electric Start
- Commodore B20 - Electric Start
Ensign - Domestic Petrol Cylinder Mower (1990-92)Edit
The Ensign had many of the advanced features demanded for high performance and effortless operation:
A comfortable, cushion grip handlebar that can be easily adjusted to suit your height; an adjustable comb which lifts flattened stems which might not otherwise be cut. Polished beechwood front rollers which allow mowing right up to the lawn edge and which can be replaced quickly with sidewheels for cutting long or wet grass. The Ensign is the ideal choice for the owner of average-sized lawns who is looking for the ease and power of a self-propelled cylinder mower and who also appreciates economy.
The Ensign cominded the traditional Atco virtues of precision cutting and reliability whilst also providing outstanding value. Fitted with the strong and robust Atco 144cc engine, the Ensign was available in a choice of three cutting widths - 12", 14" and 17" - to suit most domestic lawns.
For added convenience key start was available on the 14" and 17" models. Simply turn the key and the high performance Atco 114cc engine purrs quickly and quietly into action.
Imperial - Domestic Petrol Cylinder Mower (1990-92)Edit
Take the Atco Commodore and improve the specifications still further and you have a top class cylinder mower with all the specialist features of a professional machine. Every inch of the magnificent 17" Imperial displayed its pre-eminence. It's cutting performance was astonishing. The precision-ground cutting cylinder had not six, but 10 blades delivering a remarkable 128 cuts per yard. Both front and rear rollers could be individually levelled to maintain a perfect alignment between the mower and the lawn. This means that every blade of grass is evenly cut across the full width of the mower. As well as a comb for raising flattened grass, the Imperial even had a scraper which prevented the build up of grass on the steel front roller. As a finishing touch, the high performance Mitsubishi key start start engine was fitted as standard.
Royale - Heavy Duty Petrol Cylinder Mower (1964-2011)Edit
Top of Atco's cylinder mower range, the Royale is designed for large areas of fine lawn. It embodies the highest qualities in the design and manufacture of cylinder mowers. The traditional 6-bladed steel cutting cylinder gives 70 cuts per yard. The large capacity grassbox collects the cuttings. At the same time, the heavy duty rollers help to produce a perfect striped finish for lawns of immaculate appearance.
Early models of the Royale featured a Tecumseh built horizontal shaft engine with recoil start, however as the time went by the engines in the subsequent models were Briggs and Statton made, with an electric start option introduced during the 1980s. Since it was introduced Atco have added small features and fine tuned this mower over the years, the Recommended Retail Price of the machine just before it was discontinued in 2011 was way over £2000, making it by far the most expensive mower in the Atco range.
Every aspect of the range is was precision-engineered. All 3 models - 20", 24" and 30" - where largely hand-built by a small team of skilled craftsmen.
- ATCO 16/42E - lawn tractor
Details required of more models
- ATCO Tractor - a walk behind garden tractor / cultivator
Preservation & collectionsEdit
The mowers are collected by both collectors of garden machinery and Lawn mower collectors. Some of the Steamfairs and other Country fairs and vintage vehicle rallies have sections for collectors of machinery or Horticultural related exhibits.
- Garden Tractors
- Lawn mowers
- Shows and Meets
- Stationary Engines
- Agricultural Machinery
References / sources Edit