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  • Kate Angel

Museum Objects of the Week 2022

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

This year we are featuring an object from our museum collection on our social media channels each week. All our 52 posts will also be posted here in order once featured...

Enjoy : )


Object Week 1: Bird Scarer In the 17/1800s young children were employed from dawn till dusk to scare birds off crops for a penny a day. They often used a ‘Rattle’ or ‘Clacker’, also used by the Police and later football fans.

Object Week 2: Budding Spanner Edwin Budding invented the spanner screw adjustment, design registered in 1843. Previously spanners were adjusted with a metal wedge. Two examples, c1840s & c1860s.

Object Week 3: Weed Eradicator A tool to inject weedkiller by piercing the crown of the weed with a sharp hollow needle Patented in 1895. Our example sold by Army & Navy Co-op Society, others sold as The Wikeham.

Object Week 4: New Excelsior Lawn mower A rare 12in mower, made by Chadborn & Coldwell, USA in original condition Produced from 1869, to early 1900s Amazing the ornate wooden sided box has survived.

Object Week 5: Peening Anvil & Sharpening Stone Holder 18/19c. Lawns were originally cut by using hand scythes. The Peening Anvil & Whetstone tool kept the scythes sharp and was held in a cow horn holder.

Object Week 6: Singer Motor Mower 1920’s Rarest mower in our collection by Singer & Co. Coventry, the only one known to exist, possible prototype, at the Singer owners club rally in 2018.

Object Week 7: Webb Children’s mower 1957 By manufacturer H C Webb & Co. Birmingham, a child size working lawn mower, a couple in our collection unused in original packaging Modelled by Molly aged 9 months.

Object Week 8: Ransomes Edge Cutter 1885 Quite rare, only produced from 1885-1900 & just 10 examples are known to exist. Tilting on the unusual conical roller adjusted the depth when trimming lawn edges.

Object Week 9: Suffolk Iron Foundries Lawn Edge Cutter 1 of our rarest exhibits patented 1939, possibly discontinued WWII, the only e.g. found to date. Advertised Suffolk’s 1939 catalogue we hold copy of the patent.

Object Week 10: Follows & Bate Chain Tennis Lawn Mower The best original example known, introduced in 1898, Grass box with walnut sides This exhibit will be preserved as is for the future.

Object Week 11: Boot or Shoe Protector Designed to protect footwear when digging with a spade or fork, this is a very early e.g. from the early 19c made from wrought iron with original straps.

Object Week 12: Mole Trap This design dates late 1800s available into 1940s. The brutal action would have damaged the mole’s velvet pelt, valued in the 18th/19th Cs. Used for pest control rather than the fur trade.

Object Week 13: Britain's Miniature Gardening In 1890 William Britain pioneered hollow-casting lead toy soldiers. In 1930 Britain’s Miniature Gardening range expanded yearly until 1960 when Floral Range introduced, now plastic.

Object Week 14: Churchill's Lawn Mower We are pleased that Winston Churchills Atco lawn mower from 1923 is now on display in our museum. Full provenance displayed including photo in use in at Chartwell 1929.

Object Week 15: Britain's Floral Range (Plastic) Following on from Britain's 1930’s Lead Miniature Gardening, in 1960 the Floral Range was launched made from plastic.

Object Week 16: Man Trap Gun Very rare e.g blacksmith spring gun man-trap used against poachers & trespassers illegal UK 1827. Unique e.g. mimics double barrelled shotgun when triggered 2nd shot followed. Deactivated took 16 bore cartridges.

Object Week 17: Lego Gardening Lego mini figures were launched in 1978 followed by their extensive gardening range, we are pleased to provide a display to entertain our younger visitors.

Object Week 18: Copped Hall Grape Storage Bottle Invented e20thC Arthur Bullock, head gardener Copped Hall, Essex. Bottles on wooden racks in a cool room where grapes stored for winter table. Manufactured William Wood & Son patent unapproved.

Object Week 19: Anchor Butter Mower Extraordinary mower created 90s built for ‘The Singing Cows’ Anchor butter TV adverts. A modified Citroen 2CV engine operated by radio control hydraulics…

Object Week 20: Printing Blocks Paper printing with carved wooden block images was evident from 7thC. Our museum exhibit of gardening related metal faced blocks date e.1870s. Early mower catalogues contain images matching some displayed blocks.

Object Week 21: Bent Cutter Unusual rare mower introduced 1906 for cutting ‘Bents’ tough erect grass traditional mowers flatten. Used golf greens, cricket squares, cutting width of 24inc. Our eg. remarkable original condition only 1/2 known.

Object Week 22: Wisden Line Marker Tennis court line marker retailed by John Wisden & Co who produced sports equipment from 1850 & famous Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Note the instructions to use the liquid as thick as cream!

Object Week 23: Thomas Greens Lawn Edger A unique exhibit, the only known survivor, produced 1883 to 1894, very expensive at the time so we assume few were sold & that most used hand shears to edge their lawns.

Object Week 24: Cucumber Straightener Since 1830s glass tubes have been used to ensure cucumbers grow straight, our curator Clive Gravett has researched their history, dismissing fact that George Stephenson was inventor:

Object Week 25: Thomas Green Line Markers Two examples of Thomas Green & Sons line markers for marking out sports pitches, Green's unique design patented 1882 continuing until the 1930s.

Object Week 26: Ransomes Patent Gear 18in Lawn Mower A two person mower this model was introduced 1897 & continued until 1930s. This machine in excellent original condition, note wooden baton/rope for the 2nd person to pull on.

Object Week 27: Live bees We are very pleased to have the bees back at the museum, they create a buzz and are a great favourite with children and adults alike!

Object Week 28: Meccano Mower Unique very well built working 60s Meccano

lawn mower 65cm l, 30 h, 16 w. Built from scratch by serious Meccano enthusiast as no published project design Meccano invented 1898 by Frank Hornby.

Object Week 29: Sussex Trugs Revamped museum display highlights manufacturing process of renowned Royal Sussex trug. Sussex based Thomas Smith reinvented heavy Anglo-Saxon 'trog' 1829 making it more lightweight

Object Week 30: Spong Hedge Trimmer An unusual hedge trimmer recommended for Privet, Yew, Box & could be used for grass. Manufactured Spong & Co e.1930s Spong famous for mechanical domestic gadgets mainly mincers 1870-1980s.

Object Week 31: Myticuttah Patented in 1888, made by The Standard Manufacturing Co. Prior to this, pruning would be carried out with a knife requiring the branch to be held with the other hand. The Myticuttah enabled both hands to be kept at a safe distance from the cutting blade.

Object Week 32: Dennis Z Type 24in Lawn Mower Manufactured by Dennis Bros of Guildford, supplied new in 1951 to Robert H Andrews, supplier of horticultural machinery. Dennis Mowers are often seen mowing cricket fields & football pitches and are still produced today.

Object Week 33: Leek Planter An unusual tool said to be for planting Leeks, removing a core of soil so Leeks can be dropped in holes. The advantage of this over a dibber tool is that the soil around it is not compressed. Anyone with further information on this item, please do contact us.

Object Week 34: Senspray Carburettor Spares Box Charles H Pugh Ltd manufactured and patented the Senspray Carburettor in 1911, fitted to the engines on Rudge motorcycles and others. In 1921 they made the first Atco Lawn Mower Motor Mower also fitted with the carburettor. This spares box is a rare item and will be displayed in the museum soon.

Object Week 35: Le Butt & Boby Hand Seed Drills Josiah Le-Butt of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk invented and manufactured one of the first hand seed drills in 1867, a similar style was later produced by Robert Boby also of Bury St Edmunds.

Object Week 36: Horse, Pony & Donkey Boots In 1841 the first mower requiring equine power to pull was introduced, here we have examples of some lawn boots held in our collection. These were designed to avoid hoof prints on the lawn or sports pitch. A pair of large horse boots 20cm diameter, a pair of Coles Patent open shoes 12cmd & a set of four donkey boots 10cmd; note they are marked Fore & Hind! Advertisements in the late 1800’s supplied made to measure boots and suggested standing the animal on a sheet of paper drawing round the hoof to make a template.

Object Week 37: Dinky Toy Grass Cutters This boxed set of Dinky toy mowers dates from 1948-1955. It is interesting that they used the word Grass Cutter as the first mowers sold in the 1830’s were referred to as ‘Grass Cutters’, the term ‘Lawn Mower’ being more evident from the mid 1850’s. Whilst their scale is not stated, each mower measures 7cm long by 4cm wide.

Object week 38: Two men went to mow Here's an object in the museum you can purchase to take home and enjoy, our curator Clive Gravett's excellent and acclaimed book giving an interesting insight into the lawn mower's creation and its impact on social history. Follow Clive's search for the first man that went to mow, and his own story of founding a charity and opening a museum. Purchasing direct from the museum, our website or our Ebay listing ensures all proceeds go to the charity. or

Object Week 39: Aero Seed Fiddle Hand seed sowing machines originated in the USA in the late 1800’s. A popular style made in the UK in the 1920’s onwards became known as the ‘Seed Fiddle’, with the operation of the mechanism being similar to playing a violin. Manufactured and retailed in the UK by D Louder & Co. Kilmarnock.

Object Week 40: Wolf Terrex Automatic Spade/Fork Invented by Wolf Geraete Gmbh, now known as Wolf Tools. Patented in the UK in 1953 with the quoted aim: "to reduce to a substantial extent the expenditure in human labour involved in digging".

Object Week 41: Whitman & Barnes “Diamond” Double Wheel Cultivator Manufactured by Whitman Barnes, USA, patented in 1898, featuring the adjuster to enable the width of operation to be easily changed. Seen here fitted with Weed Cutters, other attachments included are ploughs, rakes & leaf guards.

Object Week 42: Pluviette Garden Sprinkler Patented in the UK 1912 by John Post Lawrence, Finsbury, London. Available in two sizes, this being the smaller model. Our exhibit was featured working on BBC Gardeners World at end of this video:

Object Week 43: Bryant Greenhouse Heater Produced in the 1950s/60s by P J Bryant, Fishponds, Bristol. Paraffin heater, approximately 1.5m wide and hot air was distributed via the copper tubes.

Object Week 44: The Webb Witch Lawnmower Happy Halloween! One of the earliest records of a witch is in the Bible in the book of 1 Samuel, thought be written around 930 BC. The Webb Witch lawnmower was introduced in the 1930s and was still being produced well into the 1980s. Our exhibit is fitted with carrier wheels to allow the mower to be easily moved across gravel/stone paths without damaging the rollers.

Object Week 45: Tri-ang Minic Toy Atco Lawnmowers Lorry Tri-ang's range of MINIC-branded metal model road vehicles appeared in June 1935 and continued to sell throughout the 1940s and 1950s. This is one of the many Lawn Mower related toys we hold in our collection. Measures 140mm in length, 60mm high.

Object Week 46: Toro Flymo A rare exhibit from the USA, Toro being the first company there to produce the Flymo in 1965, the idea having been invented by Karl Dahlman in Sweden in 1964, being based on Sir Christopher Cockerell’s hovercraft.

Object Week 47: Rare Follows & Bates Poster A remarkable lawn mower poster from 1876, found in the envelope it was posted in. Colours are perfect, large size approx. 1200 x 800mm.

Object Week 48: Bill & Ben These fantastic string puppets from the 1952 BBC TV series 'Flower Pot Men' featured in 'Watch with Mother' and repeated regularly for more than twenty years. Our toy exhibits Bill, Ben and 'Little Weed' will return to the museum next year and are a great favourite of our curator Clive Gravett who watched them as a five-year-old, potentially inspiring his enthusiasm for gardening!

Object Week 49: Flymo Mower This small scale Flymo was for demonstration on shop counters in the 1970s/80s operating on 12 volts and showing how the mower hovered. Our intention is to set up several of these in the museum for children to operate.

Object Week 50: Condiment Lawn Mower A salt & pepper lawn mower for the dinner table, sold in the USA in the 1960s. Our example is brand new with its original box.

Object Week 51: Lawn Mower Sharpener Rare 1930s UK blades sharpener by Manchester Co Scientist Ed Goodrich Acheson Pennsylvania 1891 made Carborundum with electricity, aluminium oxide & carbon. Crystals (silicon carbide) can cut glass.

Object Week 52: Curator Clive Gravett Our final object of the year is perhaps the most valuable asset we have, our curator Clive Gravett, seen here with our extremely rare Johnsons hand mower from 1870. With his other hat on he has just spent five weeks dressed as an Elf heading up our team of volunteers operating our charity Santa grottos for The Budding Foundation, for young people in need. Clive works tirelessly for both projects despite turning 70 next year! Thanks all for support ❤

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