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#112861 20/09/21 10:04 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
Likes: 279
Forum Historian
Hello ODK history lovers
The Hornet Lawnmower Manufacturing Company of
175 King Street, Mascot, Sydney, ‘made’ reel and
rotary mowers in the 1950s and maybe early 1960s.

I say ‘made’ because Hornet never appears to have had much
manufacturing capacity. Instead, they engaged in, originally,
powering second-hand reel mowers; later powering new side-
wheel and roller mowers not of their manufacture [but sold
under their brand names].

Maybe they followed a similar approach with the rotaries
but I don’t feel they did. The Hornet rotaries present as
original designs.

Hornet deserves credit and being remembered!

This record is for their 18” rotary, the Rota Chief.
It has a cast alloy, shallow skirted ‘toe-cutter’ base that
I date to about 1956. I first became aware of Hornet
mowers through old spark plug guides and a 1960s
Trade-In price listing …

TO BE CONTINUED …

Attached Images
1960s_champion_01.jpg (37.38 KB, 31 downloads)
1960s_lodge_p17.jpg (94.46 KB, 31 downloads)
trade-in_price_list_1960s_Page_41.jpg (44.29 KB, 31 downloads)
Portal Box 6
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
Likes: 279
Forum Historian
PART TWO – Advertising
The Rota-Chief was made by a small mower maker
and any advertising for it is as rare as the mower
itself is today.

Note that the trade-in price [from the Trade-in Booklet
extract in PART 1] lists the Rota-Chief as the mower
with the lowest re-sale value. Maybe that helps explain
why the mower is so rare today …

In any case, so far, only a handful of advertisements
have come to light, and none show illustrated Rota-Chiefs.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

Attached Images
1956_08_biz_08august_p7.jpg (67.52 KB, 23 downloads)
1956_09_smh_01september_p05.jpg (222.33 KB, 23 downloads)
1957_01_smh_19january_p25.jpg (176.21 KB, 23 downloads)
1960_03_smh_26march_p31.jpg (42.91 KB, 23 downloads)
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
Likes: 279
Forum Historian
PART THEE - Gallery
A sincere thank you to member Kye T for sending
me the image below.

This was the same mower I had seen on the Vintage Mowers
website many years’ ago. It’s an un-restored Rota-Chief in
poor condition. But it’s mostly there!

Note the cast alloy base. It makes no sense to me
why the name casting would face the operator …?

This appears to be a rear-discharge shallow-
skirted mower. The front wheels could be placed outrigged
or inboard rigged.

Attached Images
rota_chief_vm.jpg (158.92 KB, 21 downloads)
rota_chief_kye_2021.jpeg (45.19 KB, 21 downloads)
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
Likes: 279
Forum Historian


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