The Victa lawn mower was invented in 1952, in the backyard of Mervyn Victor Richardson in Concord, Australia.
In 1951, Mervyn's son Garry mowed lawns to earn money in university holidays. Garry borrowed Mervyn's cylinder-based power mower which was heavy to transport and to operate. Mervyn wanted to design a new mower for his son's business. Mervyn had seen Lawrence Hall's 'Mowhall' rotary lawn mower demonstrated in 1948. The heavy Mowhall was not a very successful invention because it required two people to use it, one to push and one to pull.
Although Richardson had developed rotating reel mowers for his son's business, in August 1952 he decided to make a rotary lawn mower similar to the Mowhall, using a Villiers two-stroke engine mounted on its side but utilising a lighter base plate, allowing use by a single operator. He wanted it to be cheaper, lighter and more powerful. It was called the "Peach-Tin Prototype", so named because it was made out of scrap metal with a peach tin used as a fuel tank.
By 1953, demand for the rotary mowers was so strong that Richardson gave up his job and became full-time manager of Victa Mowers Pty Ltd. In 1958, the companyhad moved to a new factory at Milperra, New South Wales, and its 3,000 employees were building 143,000 mowers a year for export to 28 countries.
Since 1952, Victa has sold over 8 million lawn mowers in 30 countries. In later years, the company was owned by GUD Holdings Limited, who sold the Victa Lawn Care business to American-based Briggs & Stratton for A$23 million in 2008.
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