flymo

by alan

Machines in the North East – 1988

June 14, 2018 in Articles, Machinery

Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35S and the cheapest price in the North East

This month our search for machinery takes us to the north-east of the UK, to be more precise it’s to a now defunct chain of home improvement stores by the name of Dickens. By all accounts Dickens was a fantastic place to shop. They said that they had ‘…the biggest, the cheapest and the widest range of mowers in the world…’. They also had tillers, rotavators, lawn rakes etc and there’s a very short video clip at the bottom of this article – can you name any of the machines?

It can sometimes be a mystery as to who sold which machine, take any vintage machine and if really lucky a search of the chassis or tin-work may perhaps result in finding a dealership sticker, generally it may be a local mower shop or an agricultural supplier. These details are helpful in determining where a machine originated from or at least the point where the transaction was logged. We are aware that there’s garden equipment and machines from the 1970’s and 80’s finding their way into collectors hands, yet these machines may not have originated from that trusty local lawn mower dealer or from an agricultural supplier, these 1970’s and 80’s machines may simply have been picked up from the local DIY store or catalogue company, think B&Q, Argos, Woolworths and even Green Shield Stamps.

This takes us onto Dickens home improvement stores, they were like an independent B&Q and actually were eventually bought out by B&Q. Dickens advert shown below from April 1988 at the start of the mowing season to attract the spending public shows a vast range of electric and petrol mowers and strimmers too. Who knew there were so many different models on sale at this time? A transcript of this model list and prices will be at the bottom of this article for perusal. Or click this link to see a larger image of the advert.

Dickens Home Improvement Hypermarket Advert 1988


Briefly, there is a huge range of electric mowers. What’s the difference between the Qualcast Concorde RE25X and the RE30X apart from £10.00 ? Or the Flymo Sprinter E25 and E30 ? A brochure would be mighty helpful!

Of note is the advert showing there is a petrol Flymo Strimmer Weedeater 1400 and also a 1700 model – potentially a rare machine now as many may have expired through the last 30 years. The price then was £114.99 which is equivalent to some £308.00 today so a hefty investment for a homeowner.

Mountfield have some mowers and all with the 3.5hp Tecumseh engine. Mountfield were mentioned in a previous article where some machines were made until 1982 in a factory in Luxembourg (article here) but where these would have been made is unknown. Business-wise there is a connection between Mountfield and Norlett of Belgium; then Qualcast bought Norlett, and further Qualcast/Flymo at the time had a production plant at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham not far from Dickens. It’s all very complicated and tenuous – but with Dickens saying they had ”…the biggest, the cheapest and the widest range of mowers in the world…’ it makes one wonder if they were mostly sourced from the nearest factories at a bargain price perhaps? 

There isn’t a Mountfield electric mower in the bottom right corner of Dickens advert, they may not have been manufacturing them at the time, but their petrol mowers show that the price nearly doubles between the Mountfield Emblem 15″ and the 16″ self propelled with electric start, both with a 3.5hp Tecumseh engine – would that be a premium product at the time? 



There also happens to be a brilliant Youtube video for a 1976 Dickens television advert. This advert briefly shows machines on display in their garden centre with a tiller, rotavator and mowers at about 50 seconds. https://youtu.be/E3xiHJwIaQ8

Can anyone name the machines being shown in the video below?

Is that a Norlett Beaver Powaspade in gold and white? (see above comment re:Norlett/Flymo/Qualcast) 




The machines in the printed 1988 advert with prices:

Black & Decker RM45  £169.99
Black & Decker RM41  £149.99
Black & Decker RM40  £129.99
Black & Decker RM37  £114.99
Black & Decker RM33  £109.99
Black & Decker RM2  £64.99
Black & Decker C35  £64.99
Black & Decker HX3  £49.99
Black & Decker T1C  £54.99
Black & Decker HS1C  £44.99
Black & Decker RS1C  £29.99
Black & Decker C30P  £59.99

Qualcast Panther 30  £29.99
Qualcast Rotamo E30  £33.99
Qualcast Panther 30S  £49.99
Qualcast Concorde E30  £64.99
Qualcast Concorde RE25X  £74.99
Qualcast Concorde RE30X  £84.99
Qualcast Concorde XR35  £99.99
Qualcast Hoversafe 25  £39.99
Qualcast Hoversafe 30  £49.99
Qualcast Rotamo 300R  £59.99
Qualcast Punch EP30  £159.99
Qualcast Punch EP35  £179.99
Qualcast Suffolk Punch 30S  £209.99
Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35S  £228.99
Qualcast Suffolk Punch 43S  £249.99
Qualcast Turbo SR40  £234.99
Qualcast Turbo SR46  £259.99

Flymo Minimo S  £44.99
Flymo Sprinter E25  £49.99
Flymo Sprinter E30  £54.99
Flymo Sprinter E38  £79.99
Flymo Minimo Plus XE25  £74.99
Flymo Sprintmaster XE30  £89.99
Flymo Sprintmaster XE38  £114.99
Flymo Chevron 300T  £79.99
Flymo Chevron 350S  £109.99
Flymo Strimmer Minitrim  £24.99
Flymo Strimmer Multitrim £33.99
Flymo Strimmer weedeater 1400  £94.99
Flymo Strimmer weedeater 1700 £114.99

Mountfield Emblem 15″ Tecumseh 3.5hp 4 stroke engine £199.00
Mountfield Empress 16″ Tecumseh 3.5hp 4 stroke engine £249.00
Mountfield Empress 16″ Self Propelled, Tecumseh 3.5hp 4 stroke engine £299.00
Mountfield Empress 16″ Self Propelled, Key Start, Tecumseh 3.5hp 4 stroke engine £369.00









by alan

Norlett’s changing logo

May 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

Norlett 8hp Tractor

Norlett 8hp Tractor

I’m sure that most machinery enthusiasts are familiar with Norlett the well known brand of machinery sold in the UK. Perhaps mostly associated with the gold painted, re-badged Wheel Horse garden tractors of the 1970’s, the Norlett name is also connected to a range of tillers, lawnmowers, snowblowers and potentially other machines which are yet to surface. Do you have any other Norlett badged machinery in the shed? 

Norlett was a busy company being associated with various importers for a range of petrol and electric powered garden machines. They either had a very good marketing division, or the logo changed as the company moved premises (there’s two or more different addresses for them) or they altered the logo for a new machine or new business deal (Flymo etc) or there was more than one part to Norlett is unknown. Let us know if you can enlighten us any further!

However at least someone was kept very busy in a back room developing a Norlett logo which appears in many different forms over a few short years – more than any other manufacturer I have come across. This isn’t a difinitive guide more of an observation really on a well known name that we all associate with one company and as for the date order perhaps someone may have an answer! It’s surprising how many manufacturers have altered or tweaked their logos through the decades and we, the consumers, never noticed. 

So out of curiosity here are the Norlett logos on file displayed all in one place.

There does seem to be quite a few old Norlett badged lawnmowers lurking about, working, rusty or otherwise and the logo seems to have a blade symbol above the name which is pretty self-explanatory for a lawnmower logo.

Norlett Lawnmower Logo

Norlett Lawnmower Logo


Moving on in production, tillers and other machines sported a similar logo but without the blade symbol. Some of these logos appeared with white text on a blue or black or transparent background. Some having black text on a white background too. 

Norlett Tiller Logo

Norlett Tiller Logo with blue background


Norlett Logo with White text on a black background

Norlett Logo with white text on a black background


However, Norlett’s logo for the professional range of commercial lawnmowers featured the image without the blade symbol. Have a better look at their full professional advert. The triangular Professional Range logo also appears on the machines too so wasn’t just for advert purposes.

Norlett Professional Range Advert

Norlett Professional range advert

Somewhere along the line Norlett decided to have a re-think of the logo, opting for a more modern simple font with a now capital letter N yet still keeping the two letter T’s joined together as in the early logos. These logos are mostly printed on a clear background with white text. 

Norlett's modern logo

Norlett’s modern logo


There’s a slight deviation when the logo-designer treated the logo to a curved effect for the petrol powered Beaver Powaspade.

Norlett Powaspade logo

Norlett Powaspade curved logo


And again with the Electric Beaver Powaspade logo.

Norlett Electric Beaver Powaspade logo

Norlett Electric Beaver Powaspade logo


Some of the Norlett tractors (re-badged Wheel Horses) had the logo in all capital letters. White text on black, red or gold to suit the individual tractor.

Norlett tractor logo

Norlett tractor logo

The tillers also had a more modern logo in the end with all capital letters.

Norlett tiller logo

Norlett tiller logo

Let us know if you can add further to this or can correct anything.