Hi Jack, I'm interested to know how you can use the original coil, I have always just cut the coil wire to the points off, leave the points/condensor inside and fit the later coil and job done. If you used the original coil wouldn't that require fitting an electronic ignition module?
MASON & PORTER’S FIRST LAWNMOWER – THE MASPORT RAPID
Mason and Porter commenced as a family owned manufacturing company in 1910 in Auckland, New Zealand. An iron foundry was introduced in 1911 and started manufacturing a variety of equipment including dairy vacuum pumps and stationary engines.
By early 1929 it was decided that the company needed a product which could be made in quantity as long as they could use cast iron to keep their foundry going. A market survey in engineering, hardware and allied trades was commissioned (a bold move considering the Great Depression was just making it impact felt) A report was presented in April which dealt with lawnmowers. The report stated that 15,000 mowers per year were sold locally and that American brands were dominate in spite of an import tax of 40 %. Some of these brands especially the Paragon and the British Qualcast range were of poor quality. Even though it would be difficult to match the prices of the imported brands the Masport product would be of better quality. It was decided to go ahead and produce a prototype 14-inch mower. A factory was set up in the old wooden boarding house on the property next door. The work was carried out in the utmost secrecy (fearing that other lawnmower agents would rush and close them out) Interestingly, a sack full of bits was presented for the Directors inspection. (The split pins in the bale handles of the display model had not been anchored, the mower became completely detached and broke on the Cleveland Road surface.) In spite of this initial setback the RAPID was built and taken to market in 1930, it was a 14 inch side wheel hand mower with five blades. The wheels were fitted with S7 Hoffman and SKF Journal Bearings, the wholesale price was set a 47/6 per unit with mower being sold in dozen lots. The retails price was 79/6. The price was to remain stable for several years.
At first the Company experienced difficulty in getting the dealers to accept this new product, mainly because it was more expensive that its overseas competitors. Once it had been established that there was a good market for the mower and that the Company could produce a good lawnmower, the rate of production increased to twelve mowers a week. The mowers were manufactured on a production line basis with the machines making the different components separately from the assembly, some machinery was developed specifically for this project. The paint shop was also separate, the mowers were put into a chemical bath to degrease them before being spray painted.
In April 1932 four more models were placed on the market in 14 and 16 inch sizes, they included a bronze bearing model and a lady’s lightweight model using aluminium casting. The lady’s model proved to be too light and was later discontinued.
In 1934 a complete range of lawnmowers was being manufactured including 12, 14 and 16 inch domestic machines; heavy duty 16 and 18 inch for Parks, Reserves and Recreation Grounds etc; while a Fairway 30 inch machine was offered for golf courses and other purposes. The Rapid was available with either bronze or ball bearings, all with five blades and painted either red and gold, green and gold or blue and silver depending on the model. A 10 page brochure was produced explaining to the trade how well received Masport lawnmowers were, and that prices had been held in spite of tariff increases. The product was New Zealand made (imported parts representing only 10% of the selling price), of high quality, supported by service backup and guaranteed, and that by purchasing Masport stock the trade is helping keep New Zealanders in work in the midst of the Great Depression.
Every Masport lawnmower manufactured and sold gives employment in New Zealand itself to Foundrymen, Engineers, Saw Millers, Wood Workers, Box Makers, Cellulose Enamel Makers, Spray Painters, Printers and Executive Staff.
The importation figures prior to the introduction of the Masport showed that approximately £30,000 worth of lawnmowers was brought into the country each year, more that 50% coming from foreign sources (non-British Empire ?) The recent figures show that Masport sales have exceeded those of all combined imported from overseas.
In 1937 both the SERVICE and the CLEVELAND were also being produced. (The Cleveland is probably New Zealand’s most common hand mower and was named after their Cleveland Road, Parnell Works.)
By 1940 the RAPID had dropped its original S7 Journal Fixed bearings for the Cup and Cone type and was renamed the NEW RAPID.
Information for this article was taken from the very informative book “Masport – 100 YEARS IN THE MAKING 1910-2010” written by Jim Allnatt, with kind permission from Masport Ltd.
[quote=Mowerfreak]Nice metal bonnet, yet modern looking. That machine well worth saving. There are some die hard Greenfield ride on enthusiasts here who would be impressed at that "ride".
Does it have headlights? [/quote]
No headlights, but I might look at that when its going. Big job to retrofit?
I have seen this on Kohler engines and other engines too. Just let the engine breathe a minute or two with the dipstick out and the oil level should read correctly. It is cause by crankcase pressure and vacuum due to temperature differences and how well the manufacture are sealing the systems today to meet EPA guidelines (rules). BTW Kohler uses a reed valve in their crankcase venting system which is also playing a role in this which close unless crankcase pressure is high enough open the reed which could be slightly stuck closed by oil. Oil like any liquid will take the path of least resistance.
Thank you for the explanation. Yes that all makes sense and I will follow your suggestions.
Without a car industry anymore, we are nothing. Hold onto your Aussie made items, because, believe me, they will be worth their weight in gold from frenzied people utterly desperate to get their parasitic claws in anything manufactured in Australia down the line. It's already happening with formerly common old bombs like Holden Kingswood and Toranas fetching ludicrous sums. The hunger for Australiana from the 70s and 80s and even later will be insatiable in coming years. You won't need a Victa Twin for your mower to be sought after. More and more people are after old mowers to do up and it isn't restricted to 18s anymore. I am not interested in getting instant money for my mowers. I just want to be able to have them!
For me, the most interesting of these must be the Rotamo 300 - a hilarious dinky-toy for Australian conditions. That Victa would re-brand it here as a Victa Rotamo really was a dis-service to their own history. Disappointing.
Or, maybe, someone had a sense of humour at Victa ... with a play on the names Rotomo and Rotamo. Who knows!
I guess it was a harbinger of the battery-electric toys that double as 'lawnmowers' nowadays. Many domestic lawnmowers could have easily segwayed into the hit movie Toy Story.
I have recorded two electric Rotamo's offered at auction - in 2016 and 2018. I feel these should be considered collectible; because they capture a specific time in Victa's history. Alas, no one seems to care for these odd Victa-Qualcasts.
Hi John, I've come across some incredibly dirty snorkels. Some can be as much as two-thirds coated with fine dirt on the inside. This can happen even if the filter is maintained, if people are mowing in extremely dry and dusty conditions. Just like the old Colgate ad once claimed "It gets in". Very fine dust eventually penetrates even the best air filter. If there are clay molecules in the soil these can solidify over time in the folds of the snorkel. Over many years they can form a solid mass. And as you suggest, many snorkels develop small cracks and leaks and start sucking air directly from the outside, which is very bad for the engine. Larger grit particles like sand can get sucked straight into the engine. Several months ago I restored an old Southern Cross engine that must have been used in very sandy conditions on the coast. The sand was in everything, right through the carby and into the sump. So it is important to inspect snorkels every so often. Your advice is spot on.