by alan

Around The Country With Atco

August 23, 2020 in Club News

An Atco mower at the Hereford Bowling Club in 1929. The bowling green still exists.

Successful advertising can make all the difference to a brand. Displaying a product to the public can aspire them to owning one as well as convincing them they deserve something better than bog standard. Just think how cunning  the newspapers, magazines, TV or internet adverts are at convincing us to upgrade our ideas and our spending power, too.  Joe Bloggs may only have a patch of grass big enough for a 12″ push mower but advertising will do it’s hardest to convince him that a 14″ model would make more sense, no, perhaps a 16″, or even 18″ would be better and have (unneeded) added features too, how about petrol instead of electric, and self propelled would be an advantage. Eventually that £49.99 purchase becomes £349.99 and the newly acquired mower spends several weeks being hidden in the shed, hiding from the family, like the guilty secret it is. 

The better the advert then potentially the better the merchandise will be presented to the public. That’s the theory, anyway. Paying an advertising company to create convincing sales material to sell ones horticultural machinery should be a wise move. A good advert is easy to spot, advertising boffins have obviously spent time, considered how a range of adverts look and been compiled and the resulting consistency makes the public feel reassured. 

A new fleet of Atco liveried Morris vans outside the Morris premises at Foundry Lane, Soho, Birmingham, in 1932.

As an example, in 1967 Mountfield hired the services of Robinson, Scotland and Partners to create consistent adverts for their Mountfield and Wheel Horse machinery. Additionally, manufacturers did provide copy (text), images, incentives and assist franchised dealerships with advertising. I even have a set of Flymo printing plates for dealerships to use. 

Atco was another manufacturer who, from the following adverts, hired professionals to carefully craft adverts. From around the country they used photographs of well known landmarks, pristine properties and testimonials to create the ambiance that their mowers were far superior to any other make. Have a look at the six adverts below from the likes of The Crystal Palace and the Italian garden of Lord Birkenhead and see if the adverts convince you that their machines are the very best. 

1930 Atco advert. Trent Bridge, Nottingham, scene of the first test match beginning June 13th. Also the Oval, Brisbane, Australia. Both maintained by Atco lawnmowers.

Atco lawnmower used at the Crystal Palace, London, since 1924. As shown in this 1930 advert.

Battle Abbey, Sussex, had been using Atco lawnmowers since 1922.  Advert from 1930.

An Atco lawnmower was used by Sir Algernon Guiness at his home in Henfield. The property still exists but the pristine lawn does not.

Atco mowers were used at Hawarden Castle, Flint since 1926.

Lord Birkenhead used (or rather his gardener did) an Atco mower at the Italian gardens of his residence at Charlton, Banbury.

by alan

Window Shopping – Last Century

June 27, 2017 in Articles

Many of us know where our machines or collectables originated from, we may have a brochure with the dealers stamp on it or perhaps a decal or sticker proudly displaying the suppliers details and the address where the machine or tool came from.  Leap back many decades and retailers, many trading as ironmongers originally, would display tools, mowers and gardening paraphenalia in their shop windows on any ordinary high street. This was the time before motor cars and so with high streets being a hive of activity every week day with constant passing trade it was a great place to display products for sale. 

Recently we came across adverts for Gibbs & Dandy LTD who retailed from the Luton area and early adverts indicate they were ironmongers originally. Into the 1950’s their adverts also show gardening equipment, lawn mowers and tools. But Gibbs & Dandy also did some great window displays and with the help of some newspaper research and Mr Google we find a little bit of history, although just as Woolworths and Pick ‘n’ mix expired so did Gibbs and Dandy shops and their displays which must have been enticing at the time.

Gibbs & Dandy had a shop at 7, High Street South, Dunstable and certainly another at 14, Chapel Street, Luton. The Dunstable shop is shown below with a gardening display in the left window.

A close up of that shop window (large image below) shows an array of items for sale. It appears to show shelves laden with potions and chemicals on the shelves to the left,  the more one looks then the more interesting the image appears. The mower to the left is probably a Qualcast E1 (approx. £3/11/2 at the time) and the mower in the centre possibly a Qualcast Panther, the mower to the right a JP or perhaps a Greens – but it’s open to interpretation. Also visible are spades, rakes and hoes and to the back of the shop appears to be even more tools and items for the dedicated gardener. Don’t forget that the tools would have been bright with new steel and polished wooden handles and the mowers with bright blue or green paintwork, the ‘Surecrop’ seed advert hanging in the window was probably bright yellow and it would all have been a display to draw customers in. We are sure that many people would have stopped for a few minutes and looked at all the sparkling new tools and shiny machines, studying the price labels wondering if they could afford what they wished for. 

In 1953 an advert (reproduced lower below) invites the customer to ‘See the special Window Display of Gardening Equipment at 14 Chapel Street, Luton (image below) and also at our Dunstable Branch, 7 High St. South (image above)’ 

The Chapel Street Branch, above, also proudly displayed a sign indicating they had a garden showroom on the first floor. Although the image is not detailed but in the window can be seen spade and fork handles, we wonder what interesting items all pristine and in their boxes were waiting in that showroom, the sales people completely oblivious to the fact that one day the items may be collectable and be discussed on some new-fangled internet thing. 

Sadly though time moves on and the shops are no longer in operation, the Luton shop with decorative brickwork has been replaced by a modern glass building of little interest. The Dunstable shop is now a chemists, the passing customers no longer stopping to admire a great window display.  But for a moment we can pause and with rose-tinted glasses firmly attached one can imagine how fascinating these establishments would be for us to visit now, rather than the plain shops of today. 

Image of the Gibbs & Dandy shop as it is now as a chemists on the left, long forgotten are the window displays of Gibbs & Dandy as in 1953 on the right.

Below are two of the adverts from Gibbs & Dandy showing the garden items they sold. 

A variety of 1953 equipment including a JP Maxees mower (£13/12/6) Qualcast E1 (£3/11/2) and a JP Simplex 14″ (£59/10/0). Also a Samson roller.

An advert for spring showing some of the items available.

by alan

Wrigley Truck – Ice Cream or Milk anyone?

October 8, 2016 in Articles

Wrigley Motor Truck 1949

Wrigley Motor Truck 1949

Recently there have been a couple of vintage adverts that have made us look more than once. Some things have been quite an eye-opener, we’ve doubted the adverts and then wondered if the machines are still in existence. This of course is true of many makes as there are some odd-ball machines out there.

We are all used to seeing the Wrigley Motor Truck as in the advert on the right, but a couple of different adverts just stood out as being rather interesting and worthy of mention, and of interest to anyone in the VHGMC who collects Wrigley.

The adverts in question refer to a couple of Wrigley machines from the 1950’s advertising a ‘New Wrigley 10-cwt 3 Wheel Milk Delivery Truck‘ at Leamington Automobile Co. Ltd in 1951 and also a ‘Wrigley Ice-Cream Van, immediate delivery, beautifully finished, small running costs, reasonable price‘ at Appleyards car dealers in Leeds in 1950.

An Ice Cream Van and a Milk Delivery Truck? Do they still exist? Can anyone shed any light on these machines? We are sure that the ice cream van would have been pretty impressive in it’s day. It’s worth noting that the ice cream van was advertised from October 1950 to April 1952 with no buyer so maybe it was made into something else, or perhaps it was only a modified dairy/milk delivery truck anyway? 

Here are the adverts in question.

Wrigley Ice Cream Van Advert 1950

Wrigley Ice Cream Van Advert 1950

Wrigley Milk Delivery Truck 1951

Wrigley Milk Delivery Truck 1951

More Wrigley images as below can be found in the VHGMC Wrigley gallery.

Wrigley trucks

Wrigley trucks

We know from advertising that some distributors and dealers for Wrigley Motor Trucks included: Appleyard of Leeds, Hough & Whitmore of Gloucester, Newland Motors of Northampton, Dolans Garage in Grimsby, Leamington Automobile Co. in Leamington Spa, Stobcross Motor Co in Glasgow, and Motorsales (Hull) Ltd in Hull and the East Riding. 

An advertisement for Wrigley agents appeared in Scottish newspapers in 1950:

Request for Wrigley Truck agents in Scotland 1950

Request for Wrigley Truck agents in Scotland 1950

Finally, an advert for Wrigley Trucks and their suitability for farmers, agriculturalists, dairymen, factories and general deliveries. No specific mention of ice cream vans apart from dairies, suppose we could have had a choc-ice if that Wrigley ice cream van was still about, wonder if it played the Greensleeves jingle? 

Wrigley Advert 1950

Wrigley Advert 1950